Windies claim day one honours
Three more sessions of attritional cricket greeted fans in the Caribbean on Sunday, when the West Indies and Australia resumed their seesaw battle on day one of the second Test at Queen's Park Oval in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
Three more sessions of attritional cricket greeted fans in the Caribbean on Sunday, when the West Indies and Australia resumed their seesaw battle on day one of the second Test at Queen's Park Oval in Port of Spain.
The ebbs and flows of the opening Test, which the tourists won by three wickets late on day five, suggested the competitive nature of a series expected to be largely one-sided would continue in Trinidad. It did.
Sporting a stop-start 208 for five at the close of play, the Australians were made to work hard for their runs after opting to bat first.
Triumphant at the flip of the coin, captain Michael Clarke would have wanted more, but was thwarted by a Windies unit eager to upstage an opposition three places higher than them in the ICC Test rankings.
The decision to play Shane Shillingford ahead of fellow slow bowler Devendra Bishoo paid off. The off-spinner, back in the fold for the first time since 2010 after undergoing remedial work on his bowling action, delivered more than a third of Sunday's 90 overs.
For his marathon effort, the 29 year-old snared the scalps of David Warner and Shane Watson and will be buoyed by the conditions, which are already offering plenty of turn.
Kemar Roach, meanwhile, stepped up in the absence of a largely absent Fidel Edwards, who didn't enjoy his usual venom and gusto. Roach was responsible for the vital dismissal of Ricky Ponting shortly after the lunch break and earlier removed Ed Cowan, who was again scratchy at the crease.
Darren Sammy, true to form and as miserly as ever, provided a solid holding role with his nagging right-arm seam. Showing the selectors that he is as good a bet as a second specialist spinner, Narsingh Deonarine landed the most telling blow of the day, with Michael Clarke again out to the part-time off-spinner.
Clarke and Watson seemed set to take their side through to the close of play without further loss. Deonarine, though, had the Australian captain caught at backward square-leg off a rank long-hop.
The delivery was entirely shoddy. Clarke could have spanked it anywhere on the on-side, but succeeded only in finding the fielder on the fence to perish for 45.
Seven overs later, half-centurion Watson defended unsuccessfully and watched in dismay as Adrian Barath held a sharp catch at short-leg. The 84-run alliance between skipper and vice-captain was laid to waste by some indifferent shot selection.
Similar to proceedings in the series opener, Michael Hussey and Matthew Wade were left to steady ship. The veteran and wicketkeeper-batsman did so manfully. Their unbroken 30-run alliance will require a lot more come Monday.
Australia's tail is a lot longer in the absence of Ryan Harris, dropped to accommodate spinner Michael Beer, and Peter Siddle, injured.
The day had started in peculiar fashion. Edwards appeared to have David Warner out in the first over. Given out caught behind, the left-hander enjoyed a lifeline as Windies skipper Sammy withdrew the appeal after seeing the ball fall short of wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh.
Television replays soon revealed that not only had failed to carry, but there was no bat involved either. The line of the delivery, though, looked a good bet for an lbw decision.
The oversight didn't prove to costly for the home side, however, with Warner out in the 16th over to give Shillingford his first Test scalp since 2010. A tame nudge to first slip was enough to send the opener on his way for 29.
The iffy Decision Review System also endured its fair share of debate. Clarke would not have made it as far as 45 had a review not saved him. Struck outside the line, it didn't seem to matter.
The trajectory near promised to be hitting middle- and off-stump. Earlier, the Windies opted for a referral, all too late. The umpires wouldn't allow it, claiming more than the allowed 15 seconds had passed prior the the bowling side's request.
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