Shillingford keeps Aussies in check
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Shane Shillingford bowled impressively in his first Test in nearly two years to help West Indies put the brakes on Australia in the second Digicel Test on Sunday.
The West Indies off-spinner finished the opening day with two wickets for 56 runs from a marathon 32 overs, as Australia, choosing to batting, closed on 208 for five in their first innings on a typically difficult Queen’s Park Oval pitch.
Kemar Roach supported with two for 77 from 18 overs, but Australia vice-captain Shane Watson hit the top score of 56 and their captain Michael Clarke made 45 to give their side a bit of momentum on a day of attrition.
When Shillingford claimed Watson as his second victim in the last session, West Indies were on top, but the resilient Mike Hussey and rookie wicketkeeper/batsman Matthew Wade survived chances and battled through the last hour, putting on 30 unbroken for the sixth wicket to consolidate Australia’s position.
Wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh Jr put Hussey down on five off Shillingford and Kraigg Brathwaite failed to grab a sharp chance at silly mid-on from the bowling of Narsingh Deonarine, when Wade was two.
West Indies had grabbed two wickets in the morning session, as Australia reached 74 for two at lunch.
The West Indies new-ball attack of Fidel Edwards and Kemar Roach failed to make a breakthrough, as left-handed openers Ed Cowan and David Warner survived a testing opening burst to put on 53 for the first wicket.
On a pitch offering precious little assistance to the faster bowlers, Roach and Edwards bowled impressively to beat the bat on several occasions.
West Indies turned down an appeal, when Warner appeared to be caught behind for four off the sixth ball of the innings from Edwards and Sammy indicated the ball had not carried to Baugh.
TV replays showed however, that the ball had brushed the pad – and not the bat – on the way through and there was a strong case for an lbw verdict.
Shillingford got the breakthrough with the fifth ball of his first over, when he had Warner caught at slip for 29, driving at a delivery that turned fractionally.
Roach followed up, when Cowan’s played across a delivery from Roach that straightened and was adjudged lbw for 28 about 14 minutes before the interval.
After lunch, West Indies toiled with limited success, as Watson and Clarke undertook a repair job, carrying Australia to 132 for three at tea.
Roach scalped Ricky Ponting for the only West Indies success before the break, as they hosts met resistance from the duo of Watson and Clarke.
Roach squared Ponting up with a superb out-swinger and the batsman edged to wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh Jr, who muffed the catch, only for alert West Indies captain Darren Sammy to pouch the rebound at first slip. The former Australia captain made seven.
In the face of tight West Indies bowling, Watson and Clarke played positively, collecting runs on both sides of the wicket, as they relieved the pressure on a lifeless pitch.
After tea, West Indies continued the good fight, but Watson and Clarke threatened to take the game away from them in a fourth-wicket partnership of 84.
A few loose deliveries from Roach and Shillingford were crisply dispatched for boundaries, but Clarke was fortunate, when he successfully reviewed a decision from South African umpire Marais Erasmus.
Shillingford appeared to have him trapped lbw on 41, but Hawkeye analysis suggested he was struck outside the line.
West Indies did not have to wait long for his scalp though, when he failed to capitalise on his good fortune, smashing a rank long hop from Deonarine fittingly to Shillingford at deep mid-wicket. He struck eight fours from 99 balls.
More success followed, when Shillingford had Watson caught at forward short leg, playing defensively forward. The broad-shouldered all-rounder struck seven fours from 172 balls in close to five hours of batting and his departure left Australia 178 for five.
But West Indies failed to make further inroads, as Hussey and Wade put up a roadblock.
Both sides made two changes.
For the Windies, Kieran Powell and Shillingford replaced new vice-captain Kirk Edwards, who has been sidelined with an injury to the back of his knee, and leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo.
For Australia, James Pattinson and Michael Beer have been brought in for Peter Siddle and Ryan Harris.
The hosts trail 0-1 in the three-match series, following a three-wicket defeat in the first Digicel Test, which ended last Wednesday at Kensington Oval in Barbados.
West Indies are seeking their first Test win over the Aussies in nine years, and first series victory in close to two decades.
AUSTRALIA 1st Innings
D. Warner c *Sammy b Shillingford 29
E. Cowan lbw b Roach 28
S. Watson c Barath b Shillingford 56
R. Ponting c *Sammy b Roach
*M. Clarke c Shillingford b Deonarine 45
M. Hussey not out 26
M. Wade not out 11
Extras (lb3, nb3) 6
TOTAL (5 wkts) 208
J. Pattinson, B. Hilfenhaus, N. Lyon, M. Beer to bat
Fall of wickets: 1-53 (Warner), 2-65 (Cowan), 3-85 (Ponting), 4-167 (*Clarke), 5-178 (Watson)
Bowling: F. Edwards 13-7-28-0 (nb1); Roach 18-4-77-2 (nb1); *Sammy 12-4-16-0; Shillingford 32-11-56-2 (nb1); Deonarine 15-3-28-1
WEST INDIES: A. Barath, K. Brathwaite, K. Powell, D.M. Bravo, S. Chanderpaul, N. Deonarine, +C. Baugh Jr, *D. Sammy (captain), S. Shillingford, K. Roach, F. Edwards
Umpires: M. Erasmus (South Africa), I. Gould (England)
TV umpire: A. Hill (New Zealand)
Match referee: J. Crowe (New Zealand)
Reserve umpire: J. Wilson (Trinidad & Tobago/West Indies)