Second Test preview: Windies v Australia


Australia completed the expected result in the first Test although not in the most convincing fashion. The introduction of a spin-friendly wicket in Trinidad makes the second Test even more intriguing.

An Australian victory in the first Test was a result that most would have predicted; having disposed of India so convincingly at home and up against an inexperienced West Indies outfit, the bookies' favourite did the business but not in the expected fashion.

It took a momentous effort from the tail-enders and one particularly poor session with the bat from the hosts for Michael Clarke's men to seal the result.

The game left both teams with plenty to ponder heading into the second Test but many of the questions will in the end revolve around the pitch on offer in Trinidad.

Spin is expected to play a big role, particularly in the closing days, and this could lead to a few changes in personnel.

For the home side, part-timer Narsingh Deonarine ended up being their primary spinner despite the presence of Devendra Bishoo in the line-up. This could prove costly for Bishoo.

While the inclination may be to add an extra spinner, it's hard to know who would drop out as a result. The batting isn't strong enough to do away with one of the top six, and a pace attack of two seamers – one of which would be Darren Sammy – doesn't inspire too much confidence.

As such, there may just be a change of spinner rather than the addition of one.

Bishoo has taken just eight wickets in his last four Tests and a return of that nature certainly doesn't inspire confidence. If Bishoo does get the chop, Shane Shillingford will be the man to come into the team and it will be the off-spinner's first Test since having remedial work done on his action.

It may not only be in the spin department that changes of made, with paceman Ravi Rampaul in line to replace Fidel Edwards after sitting out the first Test.

The Australians have made no secret of the fact that they are seriously considering playing two spinners, something they haven't done since facing India in Nagpur in 2008 when Jason Krejza and Cameron White played in tandem in a 172-run defeat.

Part of the visitors' problem is that they don't have a quality part-timer. Michael Clarke's ability to get through a glut of overs remains in doubt and while David Warner picked up a few wickets last time out, he's hardly a quality bowler.

The left-arm spin of Michael Beer provides an interesting option, but whoever he replaces will be desperately unlucky.

The three-pronged pace attack of Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus and Ryan Harris did their job in the first Test (the later pair with bat and ball) and all offer something different.

Siddle was the least successful in Barbados in terms of taking wickets, but he is in essence the leader of the attack and his hard grind would be missed. Hilfenhaus was deadly in the second innings but is often not that effective first up. Harris was on the bubble in terms of selection for the first Test but a man of the match showing may have pushed him up the pecking order.

Whatever decision is made, Clarke acknowledges will be a tough one.

"We probably have to work out are we better with three fast bowlers to maximise the up and down bounce or is spin going to play a bigger part and do we go with two quicks and two spinners?" pondered the Australian skipper.

"It's a tough one – they've all bowled well right through the summer. Even James Pattinson, for him to miss the first Test was a really tough call.

"We've got to sum up conditions. Sum up where they're at individually and then pick our best attack.

"It's not necessarily the best three, four, five individual bowlers, in my opinion – especially in conditions like this – you've got to pick your best attack to win the Test match.

At the top of the knock, Ed Cowan will certainly be feeling the pressure, but with only Peter Forrest a potential replacement he may get another chance.

<b>Last Five Head-To-Head Results</b><BR> June 2008: Third Test: Australia won by 87 runs in Bridgetown<br>November 2009: First Test: Australia won by an innings and 65 runs in Brisbane<br>December 2009: Second Test: Match drawn in Adelaide<br>December 2009: Third Test: Australia won by 35 runs in Perth<br> First Test: Australia won by three wickets in Barbados.

<b>Prediction</b><BR>The West Indies really surprised many and perhaps even the Australians with their play in the first Test. The visitors will be more wary second time around. This isn't the best Australian side to play in the Caribbean but it is good enough to claim a second Test win – weather permitting.

<b>Probable Teams</b><br><i>West Indies:</i> Darren Sammy (captain), Adrian Barath, Kraigg Brathwaite, Kirk Edwards (vice-captain), Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Carlton Baugh (wicketkeeper), Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Shane Shillingford

<i>Australia:</i> Michael Clarke (captain), David Warner, Ed Cowan, Shane Watson (vice-captain), Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey, Matthew Wade (wicketkeeper), Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus, Michael Beer.

<b>Dates:</b> 15-19 April <br><b>Morning session:</b> 10:00 – 12:00 (14:00 – 16:00 GMT)<br><b>Afternoon session:</b> 12:40- 14:40 (16:40 – 18:40 GMT)<br><b>Evening session:</b> 15:00 – 17:00 (20:00 – 22:00 GMT)

<b>On-field umpires:</b> Marais Erasmus and Tony Hill<br><b>Third umpire:</b> Ian Gould<br><b>Match referee:</b> Jeff Crowe