All the luck to Symonds
Rod Stewart would have had something entirely different in mind when writing the lyrics to one of his several hits but they are equally applicable to cricket, especially in the present series. The chorus line went:
"Some guys have all the luckFrom the second day of the first Test at Sabina Park to the first day of the third at Kensington Oval yesterday, Andrew Symonds has been the guy with all the luck, the West Indies bowlers those with all the pain. The dreadlocked Australian has got all the breaks and, although they haven't, West Indies have every right to complain. Three times, the umpires have been involved. Occasionally, fielders have given him the chance. And so it was again yesterday. Symonds has always been good enough to take advantage and to change the course of an innings that was in danger of imploding.
Some guys have all the pain
Some guys get all the breaks
Some guys do nothing but complain".
In the first innings at Sabina, Australia had slid from the first-day security of 301 for 4 to 372 for 7 at lunch. First ball on resumption, Fidel Edwards bent a late inswinger into Symonds' pads and only umpire Russell Tiffin could not detect that the ball was zeroing in on middle and leg stumps. Symonds was on 18 at the time. He proceeded to carry Australia to 431, unbeaten on 70 when the last wicket fell.
In the second innings in Antigua, unconvinced umpire Mark Benson ruled him not out on his leg-side catch off the glove to Denesh Ramdin off Dwayne Bravo when still in single figures. He finished unbeaten on 43.
On Thursday, Chris Gayle's catch off Simon Katich's swirling top-edged hook off Edwards left Australia lurching at 111 for 5 in the fifth over after lunch. As Symonds entered the arena, arms swinging in preparation for battle, West Indies might have had troubling memories of recent escapes. Their fears were quickly realised.
He was on seven when he cut fiercely at Bravo. The bounce from a sprightlier surface than Sabina and the graveyard in Antigua sent the ball flying off the top edge and through the right hand of the flying Xavier Marshall at second slip.
From the start, West Indies had identified Symonds' weakness as an uncontrolled glide off his hip. To exploit it, Chris Gayle posted a fielder at leg-slip. Bravo soon sprung the trap, inducing a deflection from the glove, just as he had done in Antigua. The outcome was the same, Benson again failing to be convinced of the claim for Denesh Ramdin's catch. Symonds was on 14, Australia 133 for 5.
One reprieve was as crucial as the other. On previous evidence, West Indies would have known what would follow. Symonds, undeterred by the booing of the few West Indians scattered among the hundreds of touring Australian supporters, took control in a partnership of 87 with Brad Haddin that shifted the direction of the innings.
Eventually, Symonds drove loosely at the persevering Bravo and Sewnarine Chattergoon pouched the catch at extra cover. The damage was not as major as it might have been but it made the difference between the end of play total and an all-out 170 or so. Yes, some guys have all the luck and others have all the pain.