West Indies v Australia, 2nd Test, Port-of-Spain, 4th day April 18, 2012

Roach honours Marshall by harrying Australia

Kemar Roach has been the stand-out quick bowler in Port-of-Spain and he was full of pride on a significant day

Within the space of eight months in 1988 and 1989, Malcolm Marshall turned in two of the most outstanding displays of fast bowling ever delivered on spinner's pitches: 7 for 22 from 15.4 overs against England at Old Trafford, and 5 for 29 from 31 overs against Australia at the SCG. In each match, a spinner took the new ball for the opposition, and in Sydney Marshall had to overcome the scepticism of his captain Viv Richards, who gave him only seven of the first 94 overs.

In Port-of-Spain in 2012, Kemar Roach has done his best to emulate Marshall, harrying Australia's second innings in the second Test at Queen's Park Oval. Roach has an awful long way to go before he gets anywhere near Marshall's level of mastery, but he has studied his forebear's ways, and could not hide his sense of warmth at performing well on a slow, spinning surface on what would have been Marshall's 54th birthday.

"I've watched a lot of clips of him and he was just such a great great, great bowler, he was the best bowler in the world at the time [he was playing]," Roach said of Marshall after rain curtailed the fourth day of the second Test. "I'm just glad, I can't really explain it, it's a good feeling to know that I got some wickets on his birthday today and it makes me feel warm as a West Indian to know I can go out here and perform for the West Indies like he did."

Like Roach, Marshall was not a tall man, but used his lower release point to advantage by skidding the ball down towards the batsmen while moving it both ways. Roach made a fair attempt at imitating these methods against the Australians, swerving the ball a little each way in the air, while also using his fingers and the seam to cut it off the pitch.

It was one such cutter that deceived Ed Cowan and found him lbw from around the wicket, while David Warner was confounded by a delivery that zipped away from him and touched the outside edge on the way to the slips cordon. The most spectacular moment of all, though, was reserved for Shane Watson, who left enough of a gap between bat and pad to allow a fast, seaming delivery to slide through low and send the off stump cartwheeling.

"It was a good sight. I really enjoyed that one obviously. Shane Watson's also a great batsman as well, I rate him a lot and to get him, on that wicket, is a good achievement," Roach said. "The lower the wicket is you obviously want to challenge the stumps a bit more. Keep your pace up and be as accurate as possible. That's what got my wickets today and I'm proud of myself for that."

Roach's career has had some peaks and troughs already in its brief journey, and he reflected on the fact that in 2011 he had found himself out of the West Indies Test XI while his senior fast bowling partner Fidel Edwards enjoyed a stronger year. However Roach has a certain knack of bowling well against Australia, having made his name down under in 2009. He is building his reputation again in 2012, and now has 13 wickets at 19.15 for the series, by a distance the most on either side.

"I don't think I'm doing anything better [than Edwards]," Roach said. "I still think Fidel's a great bowler, he's just a bit unlucky this game, and I know that if he plays the next Test match he will obviously perform. I know he's a guy who likes to be in the middle of everything. He's okay right now."

Roach's success against Cowan and Warner has challenged the capabilities of Australia's nascent opening combination, and he said he had schemed effectively with the coach Ottis Gibson to Test Warner in particular outside off stump.

"I will say that's one of our plans, to challenge the batsmen's techniques, and obviously bowl according to how the wicket is playing," Roach said. "There was always a plan to get him out early playing forward, and that has happened in every game.

"[Gibson] really is a good bowling coach, I enjoy working with him a lot. I've been working hard with him and I want to thank him for the success I've been getting so far and I'm going to keep working with him in the rest of my career hopefully."

With a third wicket for the innings, Roach took his match tally to eight, and he is now within two of not only honouring the departed Marshall but becoming the first West Indies bowler to claim 10 for the match against Australia since Curtly Ambrose did it in the Adelaide Test match won by a solitary run in 1993. At 23, Roach is still learning his trade, but Marshall would have approved of how he went about his work this day.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on April 20, 2012, 12:15 GMT

    @ Aussasinator - well actually, the Ozzy batsmen are by & large are a lot better than in the 1980s as a whole. For most of Marshall's career he came up against Border & not much else, Jones had his days, Boonie was still learning his trade too, the Oz greats of the 70s were just retiring & the Oz side of the 90s was embryonic! Punter v Marshall with bost at their peak would of been a spectacle, although I suspect Marshall would fancy his chances early. IF Punter got in, I think he would smote Marshall!

  • Andrew on April 20, 2012, 0:59 GMT

    @Derryk J B Fraser - whilst Sammy has a lot of deficiencies, the first name you listed in your preffered squad as captain would INSTANTLY undo all the good work that the Sammy/Gibson comb has done. Gayle is dynamite as a batsmen, very underrated offie too, but he is a lousy captain. Sammy has his faults, but atm the side lifts under him & are playing the best cricket that the WIndies have produced since the last days of Ambrose! @Kaze - "In Port-of-Spain in 2012, Kemar Roach has done his best to emulate Marshall," - the MOST important info that sentence is the words "done his best", if you are unable to comprehend the meaning of that, you really shouldn't make comments on subjective content. Stick to actual facts or something, btw, I am as Ozzy as they come, but McGrath WOULD NOT of bowled this line up out for 30 on this pitch, at the WACA a sub 100 maybe, but not in Port of Spain! @AdrianVanDenStael/mr hamilton - well said!

  • Varnendra on April 19, 2012, 18:43 GMT

    Marshal couldn't take wickets in his first or second overs like Lillee did for a long time. Lillee is the greatest. Viv Richards is the greatest because he wouldn't make us wait for a cracking boundary delivered in style. Of course it is not just about delivering quick but it is so important.

  • Subba on April 19, 2012, 18:21 GMT

    No comparison with marshall but wait a minute, the batsmen he's getting out are not half as good as the Aussie batsmen of the marshall era are they?

  • Michael on April 19, 2012, 16:39 GMT

    In fairness I don't either Roach or the author of this article is suggesting that Roach is anything like as good as Marshall. (All Mr Brettig says is that Roach has 'done his best to emulate Marshall'.) Roach describes Marshall as 'the best bowler in the world at the time'. For me, he could even arguably remove the clause 'at the time' from that statement. Marshall consistently took wickets all around the world (which others sometimes mentioned as the greatest bowler - Trueman, Lillee, Warne and S F Barnes - did not or did not have the opportunity to do) in all conditions at an amazing average of just over 20. The amazing thing about the 1989 Sydney test mentioned is that the only person who matched Marshall's bowling that game was Allan Border: Border took 11 for 96 in 44.4 overs in the match, whereas all the other spinners who bowled (Hohns, Taylor, Harper, Hooper, Richards) managed only 9 wickets for 536 in 185 overs between them! see espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63499.html

  • anthony on April 19, 2012, 16:09 GMT

    I agree Andrei Slipszenko it should not be forgotton by all those baying for dwayne bravo, gayle, sarwan and taylor that under those guys the windies rarely played as a team or to really win. Despite his annoying habit of dropping crucial elementary catches SAMMY is a trier and plays with pride along with coach GIBSON they are a TEAM. I like Sammy think he is underrated but the bare stats say he isnt good enough to make it in the team as a batsmen but he is the windies best seam bowler on stats. So what he should be doing is playing himself either as a no 6 all rounder or 1 of 4 main bowlers which is the riskier option but one he has opted for. Lets see if he stands or fails.On stats Dwayne bravo blows sammy away but like i say sammy brings a competitive team effort and leadership. I do agree we never see the absolute best windies 11 for so long. My team would be Gayle, Barath, Edwards, Darren Bravo, Chanderpaul, Sammy , Baugh, Rampaul,Roach ,Bishoo, Edwards.

  • Dummy4 on April 19, 2012, 14:22 GMT

    Fidel is struggling that's why luck is not going his way, you have to be in song to be lucky. Looking at him bowl in the 1st and now this present test he is struggling with his pace and line to the left right combination and to add to that Sammy don't know when to use him. A good captain bring out the best is a bowler like Fidel. Fidel is not a thinking bowler that's where the captain has to show his class. In my opinion Rampaul is a more thinking bowler and he should play in the last test.

  • ramu on April 19, 2012, 14:20 GMT

    RAMPHALl is still de best fast bowler in wi..Edwards bowling a bunch of garbage.. him finishl..Ramphal denied to play on him own home ground..what a SHAME! I hope WI lose dis test and series.

  • Kaze on April 19, 2012, 13:37 GMT

    @rahulcricket007 You should be preparing to be whitewashed by England on your home grounds.

    @Fadil Ahmad McGrath averaged 9 runs per wicket at PoS so please don't mix up Antigua with Trinidad.

    @Meety "In Port-of-Spain in 2012, Kemar Roach has done his best to emulate Marshall, harrying Australia's second innings in the second Test at Queen's Park Oval. Roach has an awful long way to go before he gets anywhere near Marshall's level of mastery,"

  • Dummy4 on April 19, 2012, 13:02 GMT

    @dragline/andrei slipszenko. I quite agree with you guys. For one reason or another we never field our best possible side. My side would be (test matches): Gayle (cap.), Barath, Kirk Edwards, Darren Bravo, Sarwan, Chanderpaul, Ramdin, Taylor, Rampaul, Roach, and Narine. Reserves: Baugh, Brathwaite, Deonarine, Powell, Bishoo, Shillingford, Dwayne Bravo and Fidel Edwards. Of course we would swop a batsman for Dwayne Bravo for a pacy pitch, or play an extra spinner instead of Rampaul or Taylor on a wicket taking spin. And keep Sammy for 20/20 and ODI. But, as we know, fat chance of getting such a team together. Ha, ha!

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