West Indies v Australia, 1st Test, Jamaica, 2nd day May 23, 2008

Edwards thrives on being the main man

Cricinfo staff


Fidel Edwards celebrates his collection of 5 for 104 © DigicelCricket.com/Brooks La Touche Photography
 

Fidel Edwards says the late withdrawal of Jerome Taylor with a back injury sparked him into action in Kingston, where he collected his sixth five-wicket haul in Tests to trouble Australia's batsmen on the second day. Edwards finished with 5 for 104 and bowled with impressive speed and swing, often tailing the ball into the right-handers late and getting the ball to rise sharply on an unpredictable pitch.

It was that extra bounce that did for Brad Hodge, who was caught behind trying to cut, and Edwards was also unlucky not to have Andrew Symonds lbw to an inswinger before the batsman launched a late push for runs. Without Taylor, the team's leading wicket taker in the recent Tests against Sri Lanka, Edwards was clearly the most dangerous bowler as Daren Powell struggled to worry the Australians.

"Taylor was a big miss," Edwards said. "Going in without him I thought I really had to put in a big effort not for myself but for the team. The Australians have a lot of good batters and I had to put in the extra effort to get the guys out. The skipper wants you to do the job and you always find yourself giving a bigger effort as the main strike bowler in the team."

Sabina Park has been a happy venue for Edwards, who now has 16 wickets at 20.75 at the ground, compared to a career average of 42.12. Edwards said he had stuck to the coach John Dyson's team plan of consistently hitting the right areas. "I try to focus on my rhythm a lot, if my rhythm is off I bowl the ball all over the place," Edwards said. "I tried to work on my rhythm during the last series and it worked for me."

Edwards completed his five-wicket bag when he splayed Stuart MacGill's stumps to finish Australia's innings at an imposing 431. Although West Indies stumbled in their reply, Edwards believed they were still in a reasonable position at the close. "We had the better of today, the way we bowled out Australia," he said. "We have 115 for 3 so hopefully we can build on that tomorrow."

Stuart Clark did the damage with 3 for 18 in a brutal eight-over spell that showed his preparation had paid off. "I thought about these wickets and I looked at quite a bit of footage of what Glenn McGrath did," Clark told AAP. "He was really patient and bowled very close to the stumps ... that's what worked for him and he had a good record over here, so I am doing similar sort of things. I don't think that will change too much."

Clark said he found it flattering to be talked about like his former Australia team-mate. "You want to be your own man, but when you think about Glenn and what he's achieved in the game, it's not a bad person to be compared to," he said. "I don't think I'll ever be as good as Glenn, because I think Glenn is one of the greatest bowlers of all time. But if you can emulate him in some sort of way and be 80% as good as he was, then you'll have a fairly good Test career."