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April 21, 2012
Entering the third Test in Dominica, Shane Shillingford is in a novel position. Apart from trying to help win a Test match for the West Indies over Australia, Shillingford is playing for the right to have his name inscribed on a grandstand.
Roseau's picturesque cricket ground and the newest Test match venue in the Caribbean, Windsor Park has major stands adorned with the names of two of Shillingford's relatives, Grayson and Irvine Shillingford, alongside Norbert Phillip and Adam Sanford. They were the only Test cricketers to have emerged from Dominica before Shillingford's debut, leaving the island's one international umpire Billy Doctrove to have his name emblazoned on the players' and officials' pavilion.
One stand remains unnamed on the far side of the ground, open to Shillingford to earn his place over five days from Monday. "I'm looking forward to get a chance to play at home, being the first one to play a Test from Dominica [at home]," Shillingford said. "I'm pretty much looking forward to that. I know the Dominican people will be coming out in big numbers to support.
"I'm definitely confident coming on from the game in Trinidad, even more so knowing my family, my fans are coming out to support, so I really want to do well and we come out with a victory to level the series.
"Most of the players have played here a number of times already and seeing for the Australians this is their first time, the environment, first time being here, playing here, so I think it's a bit of an edge for us. But we do have to do the basics to come out with a win."
Shillingford made a fine impression on a helpful surface in Trinidad, spinning the ball while maintaining a very sturdy line and length. In the second innings he also showed plenty of variation, befuddling Ricky Ponting with a top spinner and keeping his end quiet while Kemar Roach charged in at the other. Speaking about his repertoire, Shillingford said he had deliberately held the top spinner back from initial viewing, but used it more as his confidence grew.
"Yeah definitely. It was a case where you didn't want the batsman to know all about you right there and then," he said. "And coming in the second innings we needed to get wickets and stuff. Most of the time I try to bowl and build pressure and then try it, but in the second innings I did bring it in earlier. We were trying to get early wickets to give ourselves a chance to win the game."
There is added incentive for Shillingford and all the West Indies players ahead of an England tour that follows closely on the heels of the Australia series. The squad is likely to be named towards the end of the Test, the players then having two days off before flying across the Atlantic.
"Well it definitely is something I'm looking forward to," Shillingford said. "I've always wanted to play … I've played club cricket in England so the experience is there. I'm really looking forward to going there and playing Test cricket."
On past evidence, Windsor Park's pitch will offer some spin, but there is also grass on the surface two days out from the match, offering hope of a little more pace than the surfaces used in Barbados and Trinidad. Shillingford reckoned his home track would provide some incentive for all bowlers, and batsmen.
"I've not had a good look at the pitch but I know playing here in a first-class game there's been a good deal of spin," he said. "I'm not sure what preparation has been done to the wicket. All I know is that it's an allround pitch where the batsman has to put in and the bowler has to put in."
Should he put in adequately across this match, the Shane Shillingford Stand may soon be unveiled.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Daniel Brettig
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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