West Indies’ first Test after deciding to look beyond Shivnarine Chanderpaul was a disaster. Of course that doesn’t the Windies would have done any better if the veteran had been in the team. On the contrary, West Indies missed a great opportunity to prove that they can be a force even without the 40-year-old southpaw. West Indies had their moments in the match, but a loss inside three days paints a very poor picture of West Indies cricket. In spite of their obvious weaknesses, they clearly are a much better side than their performance at Dominica.
It was West Indies’ batting, more than anything else, that let them down at Roseau. They managed only 148 in their first innings, which pretty much put paid to their hopes of winning the Test. Agreed, the pitch was a tough one, but the fact was that West Indies did not apply themselves, and paid the price for the same. They batted less than 54 overs on the opening day, with none of their batsmen getting even into the 40s. As many as six of their batsmen crossed double figures, but not one of them made 50.
In the second innings, West Indies’ batting was again the disappointing factor. Marlon Samuels and Shane Dowrich played with command during their partnership. But, before and after them, West Indies offered little or no resistance. The Windies need more consistency from the likes of Shai Hope and Kraigg Brathwaite, their openers. The lower order too failed in both the innings, which hurt the hosts in a big way. Skipper Denesh Ramdin may have been disappointed with the manner of Samuels’ dismissal, but he needs to look at his own game first.
In contrast, Australia fought back from a tough position, discovering a new hero in Adam Voges. The 35-year-old, who got his chance after a long delay, demonstrated how hungry he was even at this age. What makes Voges’ innings special is not only the fact that he got a hundred om debut, but the circumstances under which he registered it. Australia had been crumbling to Devendra Bishoo’s spin, who was brilliant on the second day. Voges had only the tail for company, but he batted in such a commanding manner that West Indies couldn’t get past his defence. Australia’s tail also showed great resistance.
Australia’s bowling was also top class in both innings. Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood picked up five wickets in the match, always looking dangerous. Mitchell Starc claimed six in the game, including four in the second innings to engineer Windies’ collapse. Nathan Lyon chipped in with three wickets, keeping things tight. For West Indies, Bishoo claimed 6 for 80 in one innings, but Australia’s team effort trumped his individual brilliance.
-- By A Cricket Analyst