West Indies v Australia, 3rd Test, Roseau, 1st day April 23, 2012

Shillingford puts West Indies on top

Australia 212 for 7 (Warner 50, Shillingford 4-77) v West Indies
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Get the sign-writer ready. If Shane Shillingford's first day of Test cricket in his home nation was an audition to have a stand named after him at Windsor Park, it couldn't have gone much better. Shillingford finished the day with four wickets and put West Indies in a strong position as the Australian batsmen struggled to handle his bounce and turn, and at the close of play West Indies had given themselves a chance of the victory they needed to draw the series.

Of course, with four days still to play, there was plenty of time for the Australians to fight back. But 212 for 7 was far from the score the captain Michael Clarke was anticipating when he won the toss and chose to bat. David Warner made 50 and Shane Watson scored 41 but neither they nor their colleagues looked truly comfortable, initially against the swing of Ravi Rampaul and then against Shillingford's spin.

At stumps, Matthew Wade was on 22 and had fought hard to survive 72 balls, while the recalled Mitchell Starc was on 24, having struck a six late in the day. But West Indies had taken the second new ball and it was curving in the air enough to challenge the two left-handers, and the morning session on the second day promised to be a tough one for Australia's lower order. Not that it was pace that caused the most problems on day one.

Shillingford, playing in his home country of Dominica, used his height to great effect, troubling the batsmen with bounce and bite off the pitch. He ended the day with 4 for 77 but created far more chances besides those that brought wickets. Ricky Ponting and Clarke had both been especially hampered by Shillingford and he eventually had the reward of removing them both.

Shortly after he passed Rahul Dravid to become the second-highest run scorer in Test cricket, Ponting departed for 23 when he gloved a ball that turned and bounced more than he expected, and Darren Sammy ran around from leg slip to take the catch square of the wicket. A few overs later, Clarke (24) was also done by the bounce and gloved the ball to short leg.

Shillingford's fourth arrived when Michael Hussey, on 10, edged another fine delivery and was brilliantly taken at slip by Sammy, whose reflexes were quick enough that he could run to his left and grab the ball with his arm outstretched. It was a just reward for Shillingford, who had been a threat all day, initially without luck.

Kemar Roach chipped in later in the day with a well-directed bouncer that caught the glove of Ryan Harris on the way through to the wicketkeeper, before Wade and Starc came together. Their partnership had grown to 43 by stumps and the close perhaps came at the right time for the hosts, who can start afresh on Tuesday.

They had started about as well as they could have hoped on Monday. Rampaul, included for his first match of the series after Fidel Edwards was ruled out due to injury, curved his second ball in beautifully and surprised Ed Cowan, who offered no shot and was lbw. The only aspect of the dismissal that did not represent a misjudgement by Cowan was his decision not to ask for a review.

Rampaul was impressive with the new ball, swinging it and troubling the batsmen, and he didn't concede a run until his 17th delivery. He should have had a second wicket when Warner, on 5, edged to third slip but the captain Sammy spilled a simple chance and to add to the frustration for West Indies, Sammy introduced himself in the next over and was duly driven for four by Warner.

Warner and Watson steadied Australia and both men were able to survive, despite looking scratchy early. On the rare occasions that the bowlers overpitched or dropped short, they drove or pulled well, but never did they appear truly settled. Their 83-run stand came to a close when Watson, on 41 from 120 balls, top-edged an attempted pull off Sammy and was caught at deep square leg.

Soon afterwards, Warner, on 50, cut uppishly and was caught at cover point, delivering Shillingford his first wicket, and the Roseau crowd their first moment of home-town pride for the day. There were plenty more to come.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments