Undaunted WI seek series levelling win
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – West Indies captain Darren Sammy was confident his side would vigourously pursue a series-levelling victory over Australia in the second Digicel Test, which opens on Sunday at the Queen’s Park Oval here.
The Windies dominated the Australians for most of the first Digicel Test, only to lose control on the last two days and plunge to a disheartening, three-wicket defeat late on the fifth day on Wednesday at Kensington Oval in Barbados.
Knowing the visitors could wrap up the three-Test series with a victory in this match, the hosts are sharply focussed on turning the tables and grabbing a positive result.
Sammy was convinced his side was well prepared for the challenge over the next five days.
“We’ve got to play cricket over a five-day period or however long the Test match lasts,” he said. “We’ve got to look to be more focussed and look to win the key moments of the game.
“There’s been motivation from the start of the One-day series. We believed as a team we were growing and we have that never-say-die attitude to go out there and fight and we’ve demonstrated that throughout the Digicel 2012 Series.
“We’re going into [this match] with that same mentality and we’re going in with a positive mindset that we can beat Australia.”
West Indies paid the price for one wretched period in Bridgetown, where they lost three wickets for four runs at the top of their second innings, 25 minutes before tea on the fourth day.
They never recovered and were bowled out for 148, after they had amassed an impressive 448 for nine declared in their first innings.
Sammy said the Windies had learnt from the experience and would be looking to address those deficiencies.
“The boys are keeping their heads up,” he said. “We know it was more or less two hours or one session that Australia took the game away from us and dominated the game, and if we could eliminate this in this Test match we can be victorious.
“We spoke about it as a batting group and we just need to be mentally prepared to bat in two innings of a Test match. The guys are aware, so we just have to go out there and execute properly.”
He added: “The major factor for us was in the second innings where we didn’t put a score on the board. We need to score runs in both innings and bat well in both innings.
“Also, the Australian lower order put up good runs which were crucial in the last Test, so we must look to finish them off once we get to No.7 and look to wrap up the tail very quickly.”
Speculation has been rife over the place of leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo, who failed to make an impact in the last match, sending down 53 overs for 169 runs and taking just one wicket.
More crucially, he was largely ineffective on a wearing last-day pitch and West Indies were forced to turn to part-time off-spinner Narsingh Deonarine.
Off-spinner Shane Shillingford was added to the squad, but Sammy said no decision had been made about the composition of the final 11.
“We’ve included Shillingford in the line up, so everybody in the 14-member squad is eligible for selection,” he said. “This afternoon we’ll meet and decide on the best combination to help us win this Test match.
“Bishoo has done well for us – he was the ICC Emerging Player-of-the-Year last year – [but] sometimes you get a dip in form. Bishoo is a guy who is still the future for us and I won’t count him out after one not-so-good performance. He is still an integral part of this team.”
West Indies will hope for a repeat of their first innings performance in the last Test, when veteran left-hander Shiv Chanderpaul got a century and vice-captain Kirk Edwards, Darren Bravo and teenaged opener Kraigg Brathwaite hit half-centuries.
Their seam attack is not expected to change, although Ravi Rampaul will be hoping for only his second Test before his home crowd.
Australia captain Michael Clarke was buoyed by his side’s dramatic come-from-behind win in the first Test, but he said the visitors would need an even greater effort in order to win again.
“The batters are going to have to work their backside off to score runs,” he said. “Like I said before the first Test, West Indies conditions – and we'll probably see it [here] – you have to bat for a long period of time to make your runs and you’re going to have to find a way.
“If the ball is spinning, you’re going to have to find a way to stay out there and not give [your] wicket away. If it’s staying up and down, you’ve got to find a way to spend time at the crease.
“That’s the tough part of international cricket, whether you’re a batter or a bowler, you’ve got to be able to find a way to adjust.”
WEST INDIES (from): Darren Sammy (captain), Kirk Edwards (vice-captain), Adrian Barath, Carlton Baugh, Devendra Bishoo, Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Fidel Edwards, Kieran Powell, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Shane Shillingford.
AUSTRALIA (from): Michael Clarke (captain), Shane Watson (vice-captain), Ed Cowan, Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus, Mike Hussey, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson, Ricky Ponting, Peter Siddle, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Michael Beer, Peter Forrest, Mitchell Starc.
UMPIRES: Marais Erasmus, Ian Gould
TV UMPIRE: Tony Hill
MATCH REFEREE: Jeff Crowe
RESERVE UMPIRE: Joel Wilson