West Indies v Australia, 3rd Test, Roseau, 4th day April 26, 2012

Shillingford is West Indies' bright spot

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the fourth day of the third Test in Dominica

Drought-breaker of the day

When Ben Hilfenhaus popped a close-in catch to Kraigg Brathwaite, Shane Shillingford became the first West Indies spin bowler to claim 10 wickets in a match since Lance Gibbs against England at Old Trafford in 1966. The haul of 10 for 219 was a just reward for Shillingford's persistence, albeit in conditions ideally suited to his art. Since being recalled for the second Test in Trinidad, Shillingford has bowled with consistency, skill and patience, foxing plenty of batsmen with his top spinner though dismissing far more with his offbreak. As a sponsor's ambassador, Gibbs has been watching it all unfold from the stands.

Snare of the day

Commonly posted at short leg, Ed Cowan's fall-back position is often at square leg, alongside the umpire. He was posted there for Ben Hilfenhaus at the start of the West Indies second innings, and when Adrian Barath flicked a full length ball to the legside with plenty of timing, Cowan swooped to grasp a low, diving catch. It was a particularly good take given that Cowan has been nursing a sore wrist since the second day, when he was struck flush by a screeching stroke when fielding close-in. Barath certainly could not believe his fate, as he waited momentarily at the crease before trudging off.

Referral of the day

Brathwaite had made three consecutive ducks entering this innings, but was making a decent start at Windsor Park before Michael Clarke introduced himself to the attack. Though Clarke gained some turn, it was a delivery that whirred through straight that undid Brathwaite, beating his rushed attempt to pull and striking him just in front of off stump. The Australians all went up and so did the umpire Tony Hill, leaving Brathwaite to call for a referral. In keeping with the West Indies' ill-fortune across the series, replays had the ball striking him just in line with the stumps, while Hawk-Eye indicated the ball would have just grazed the top of the bails. There was some dismay evident in the hosts' viewing area as Brathwaite returned to the pavilion.

Direct hit of the day

As a partnership developed between Darren Bravo and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, David Warner's leg spin was brought on in an effort to buy a wicket. Cowan was brought into short leg, though he had spoken on the third evening about the trepidation he felt at times given Warner's occasional lapses in line and length. Sure enough, Warner served up a delivery to Bravo that was short enough to be on its way back down by the time it reached the batsman, who pulled convulsively and struck Cowan a percussive blow to the helmet. Cowan reeled away momentarily before gathering his composure, but he quickly retreated to deeper on the legside for the next delivery. Bravo offered some apologies for hitting him, but it was Warner who shall owe his opening partner a drink of some description.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on April 29, 2012, 6:14 GMT

    @landl47 - 4.5 wickets per test is surpassed by very few spinners, EVER! I will not bag a bloke who is on the verge of greatness like Swann is. I have made some comments where I have compared Lyon favourably to Swann merely as a defence of Lyon & to show that statistically he is quite good. Swann's achievements are over a longer period & deservedly have more respect & weighting.

  • John on April 27, 2012, 13:37 GMT

    Incidentally, I agree with what Meety says and it shows what a remarkable bowler Swann is. In 41 tests he's taken 182 wickets, almost 4.5 wickets a test, at an average of 27.97 and a strike rate of 56.6. Those would be great figures by any standards, but when you remember that he's played comparatively little cricket in the sub-continent (only 9 of his tests have been on sub-continental wickets), they become truly outstanding. For a guy who bowls off-spin with a straight arm (no 'congenital deformity') they compare with the very best; Gibbs, for example, took 309 wickets in 79 tests at an average of 29.09 and a strike rate of 87.7.

  • John on April 27, 2012, 13:10 GMT

    I think Lyon has done pretty well, given how little first-class cricket he had played before he was picked for the test side. His figures might flatter him a little (they are skewed by the New Zealand series, where he took 10 wickets in two games but only one was a top 7 batsman), but he's generally bowled good lines and got a bit out of the pitch. Against good batting sides in Australia and England he's not going to get great returns, but his job there will be to keep the game tight and pick up the odd wicket rather than win games on his own. On the tracks where spinners are favored he hasn't looked out of place. He'd do well to listen to advice from Lance Gibbs, who was a great bowler with a beautiful high action and took over 300 wickets in an era when seamers dominated. All in all, a good start to Lyon's career.

  • Richie on April 27, 2012, 11:50 GMT

    Various comments below comparing Lyon and Swann, and indeed Warne. In comparing you need to look beyond the bare statistics and actually look at the conditions, the quality of opposition etc. One interesting stat though is that while 62% of Swann's test wickets were batting in positions 1-6 in the order only 36% of Lyon's have been. This suggests that Swann is getting quality wickets and perhaps highlights what has been previously discussed around Clarke's use of Lyon and his giving him confidence by allowing him to bowl at the tail. In any event, neither is, nor will be, a patch on Warne.

  • Andrew on April 27, 2012, 10:41 GMT

    @Chris Sun - I don't think Clarke under bowls him, as Lyon has played in about 3 tests where a spinner was really surplus to requirement. I think his figures are more about his job, which is usually to either clean up the tale or keep pressure o while the pacers rest. Atm - he has world class statistics, in days gone by, the offies role was to really tie up an end at 2 rpo overs or less & they ended up with S/Rates between 70 & 90 (some all time great spinners) & averages around the mid 30s. Singhs stats have dropped off, he seems to be the opposite of the usual spinner who gets better with age, he seems to have diminished. I think that is a result of too much short form cricket, I think he lost his loop. Anyways -as @matty_aus_82 says, its early in his career & I think he is in for the long haul!

  • Dummy4 on April 27, 2012, 7:01 GMT

    Looking at Lyons stats, I think Clarke has underused Lyon, he only has 39 wickets from 13 matches @28 and a strike rate of 60, but he's only bowled less than 400 overs. Compare that to Hilfenhaus: 92 wickets from 24 matches @27 and a strike rate of 58 and bowling almost 900 overs! So if Lyon was to bowl more often, he would have a lot more wickets and his average and strike rate would come down. However given the fact that other bowlers are doing most of the job, Lyon is not needed to bowl much. The ultimate test would be when he bowls on a bowlers graveyard or a batsmen's paradise which is hard for both fast bowlers and spinners. At the moment he is good but Harbhajan's average later ballooned out to over 30 and strike rate over 68. So still early days for him.

  • P Subramani on April 27, 2012, 4:19 GMT

    I saw Lance Gibbs bowl At Chepauk in 1967 to the likes of Engineer,Wadekar,Pataudi and Borde. And I saw what a genius he was as he held in doubt everyone of that fine Indian batting lineup with his high bowling action and no little guile. Shillingford looks a bit similar even if his arm is not as straight as Gibbs' used to be. But the bounce is very impressive. I think he will do well after the confidence he would take from his bowling to the Australians on this tour.In fact I look forward to him bowling in Australia and maybe in England if the weather is not what it was last year.To me Shillingford is a regular off spin bowler like we saw in the olden days. Not like the Ajmals and the Ashwins of today. This West Indies team is getting better by the day and should be very competitive soon enough. England will do well to avoid their complacence of recent times if they have to keep surprises away come Summer of 2012.

  • Chris on April 26, 2012, 23:44 GMT

    The Windies barely took Shillingford off. You almost think he should get half the wickets since he bowled almost half the overs. In the second innings he bowled 39 out of 85 overs, which is 39 out of a maximum possible 43 at one end and 42 at the other. So he bowled all but 3-4 overs at one end in that innings.

    Good performance though, even as a spinner that's still a lot of overs to bowl!

  • Chris on April 26, 2012, 23:38 GMT

    Re: Front-Foot-Lunge I wouldn't be surprised if doing a direct comparison between Lyon and Warne at the same point in their careers that Lyon may actually have the better record. It took Warne around 18 months in the Australian team before things finally clicked, he had a good summer at home, went to England, bowled Mike Gatting and the rest is history.

    I'm not saying that Lyon is better than Warne, or even remotely in the same class, but simply that we need to give these guys a bit more of a break.

    It's actually only a small handful of top spinners around the world who take bag-fulls of wickets and average under 30 in test cricket. Most try to keep it tight and hold up an end in fast bowling conditions and pick up a wicket here and there and then when conditions are in their favour occasionally take a bag of wickets.

  • matty_aus_82 on April 26, 2012, 23:35 GMT

    @frontfootlunge...are you kidding yourself mate? Lyon has been excellent this series, and since coming into the side really. There will never be another SK Warne, not in our lifetime anyway, so I dont know why people continuasly compare. Have you watched any of these test matches? I have been, and he gets good drift and turn and is very accurate. I think he's in for the long haul.

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