West Indies v Pakistan, 2nd ODI, Gros Islet, St Lucia

Struggling hosts hope for series leveller

The Preview by Liam Brickhill

April 24, 2011

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Match Facts

April 25, Gros Islet, St Lucia
Start time 0930am (1330 GMT)


Saeed Ajmal bowls during Pakistan's net session, Abu Dhabi, November 18, 2010
Saeed Ajmal was a constant threat to West Indies' batsmen in the first match, and is sure to be a handful in conditions that will continue to suit the spinners © AFP
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The Big Picture

West Indies' joy after their win in the opening Twenty20 of Pakistan's tour was short-lived as they crashed to an eight-wicket drubbing in the opening one-day international at Gros Islet. After the buzz and energy of their performance in the Twenty20, the hosts looked badly behind the pace for much of the game on Saturday and a fatal misreading of the pitch backfired when the seamers were carted for 162 runs in 29.3 wicketless overs, allowing Pakistan's batsmen to canter to victory on a spin-friendly wicket.

Monday's game, played at the same venue, will give West Indies a chance to rectify some of their mistakes. The question of team balance is a delicate one for them, however, and the inclusion of both captain Darren Sammy and Dwayne Bravo when it might be argued that only one of the two similar allrounders should slot in at No. 7 in a balanced XI throws the team's ballast off centre. West Indies looked a batsman light on Saturday, but it's likely that legspinner Anthony Martin will be brought in for the second ODI - probably at the expense of allrounder Andre Russell - meaning that there will be even less batting firepower, heaping more pressure on a top order shorn of its most experienced members.

The lack of bite in the seam attack on docile pitches also doesn't bode well for the Test series that follows the one-dayers, and for the sake of success in both formats West Indies are going to have to find a way to take more wickets. The one area of concern for Pakistan - and it's a relatively minor one for a team that has moved seamlessly on from defeat in the tour opener with a commanding performance by both the batsmen and an impressive trio of spinners - can also be found in the seam department. Wahab Riaz gave away 11 wides and three no-balls on Saturday, while Junaid Khan also sent down six wides, and without the help of extras West Indies would not have passed 200.

Such inconsistency is unforgivable on a pitch that offered minimal movement for the quicks either through the air or off the pitch, but so masterful was the performance from Pakistan's slow bowlers - in particular Saeed Ajmal, whose variations proved impossible to pick - and so composed were their batsmen, three of whom scored half-centuries, that ultimately it barely mattered. West Indies will be motivated to regain some pride and level the five-match series, but it is Pakistan who start as firm favourites. .

Form guide

(most recent first)

West Indies LLLLW Pakistan WLWWW

Watch out for...

Darren Bravo has only played 21 ODIs, but due to circumstance and and his own undeniable talent (not to mention a resemblance to a certain former West Indies great) he has already become a vital cog in West Indies' middle order. His half-century in the first game held things together, and he looked set to take a heavy toll on the bowling at the death before he was cut down by an amateurish run-out.

Pakistan have a bowler perfectly capable of dealing with the Bravo threat, however. Saeed Ajmal beat the outside edge of Bravo Jr.'s bat no less than five times in his first over on Saturday, and deserved more than just one wicket as he weaved webs of doubt in the minds of all the batsmen with his doosra.

Team news

West Indies are almost certain to hand a debut to Martin, an Antiguan legspinner, but it's not clear who he might replace in the XI. Andre Russell seems the most likely candidate, as he conceded 36 runs in five wayward overs in the first match. That leaves the batting even lighter, but West Indies only have five specialist batsmen in their squad and all of them played in the first match.

West Indies (possible): 1 Devon Smith, 2 Lendl Simmons, 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Marlon Samuels, 5 Kirk Edwards, 6 Dwayne Bravo, 7 Carlton Baugh (wk), 8 Darren Sammy (capt), 9 Devendra Bishoo, 10 Kemar Roach, 11 Anthony Martin

Pakistan's successful start to the ODI series means their side doesn't really need any tinkering, and it's unlikely they'll risk disturbing their equilibrium. Young allrounder Hammad Azam was not called upon with either bat or ball on Saturday, but it would be very harsh if he was not given another chance to prove himself in the second match.

Pakistan (possible): 1 Ahmed Shehzad, 2 Mohammad Hafeez, 3 Asad Shafiq, 4 Misbah-ul-Haq, 5 Umar Akmal, 6 Hammad Azam, 7 Mohammad Salman (wk), 8 Shahid Afridi (capt), 9 Wahab Riaz, 10 Junaid Khan, 11 Saeed Ajmal.

Pitch and conditions

The St Lucia surface lost pace noticeably over the course of the Twenty20 match that opened the tour, but appeared to flatten out when Pakistan were chasing down their runs with ease on Saturday afternoon. It remains a welcoming track for spinners, however. Another warm day is expected, and while the rain stayed away in the previous games there remains a slight risk that it could intrude upon proceedings later on.

Stats and trivia

  • One man who could solve multiple problems for West Indies in both the batting and spin-bowling departments has taken more wickets and scored more runs in ODIs at this ground than anyone. Chris Gayle has scored 444 runs and taken 11 wickets, but unfortunately it's unlikely he'll be back any time soon.

  • The two men behind him on that run-scoring list are none other than Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

  • West Indies have played three ODI's against Pakistan in St Lucia and lost all of them, Pakistan winning by 40 and 22 runs during the 2005 series won 3-0 by the visitors and by eight wickets on Saturday.

  • Pakistan's top-scorer in the first match, Misbah-ul-Haq, has scored the most runs without hitting a century in ODIs among current Pakistan players. Out of all current players, only Elton Chigumbura, Stuart Matsikenyeri and Daniel Vettori have more ODI runs without a ton.

Quotes

"The Pakistan spinners bowled some good balls, but to be a great player you have to find a way to score off the good balls not just the bad balls."
Darren Bravo clearly has his eye on the ball as he seeks to improve on his performance in the second ODI.

"I was very happy when West Indies won the toss and chose to bat because I thought the pitch would help our spinners. I think our spinners have been doing a great job for us in the last few months, and they again set things up for us."
No prizes for guessing what Shahid Afridi will decide to do if he wins the toss on Monday

Liam Brickhill is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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