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The Preview by Liam Brickhill
April 24, 2011
Match FactsApril 25, Gros Islet, St Lucia
The Big PictureWest 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
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.
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 conditionsThe 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
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."
"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 ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Liam Brickhill
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Stats highlights from the first day of the second Test between Australia and India in Brisbane
It's just to say that while India don't stand a chance on normal bouncy pitches, the seaming tracks give their bowlers a chance to take 20 wickets