Bowling Shane! Shillingford gives Windies the edge
ROSEAU, Dominica – For 15 odds years, a leg-spinner with the christian
name Shane terrorised batsmen around the World, bowling Australia to memorable Test victory after memorable Test victory.
On Monday, an off-spinner with the same christian name gave the Australians a bit of come uppance and a taste of the misery that the World’s leading batsmen encountered over the years, only to hear the well-worn refrain from behind the stumps, “Bowling Shane!”
Off-spinner Shane Shillingford made a memorable start to his first Test on home soil, putting West Indies on top early in the third and final Digicel Test against the Aussies.
Shillingford grabbed four wickets for 77 runs from 34 overs, as Australia, choosing to bat, reached 212 for seven in their first innings at the close on the opening day at Windsor Park in the Dominica capital of Roseau.
Shillingford, the sixth Dominica-born player to appear in Tests, a list that includes former England fast-medium bowler Philip Defreitas, led the home team onto the field at the start of play and was loudly cheered every step of the way before he helped West Indies gain an early edge.
He gained appreciable bounce and sharp turn from a pitch that he knows extremely well, breaking the backs of the Australia batting with the scalps of David Warner, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey for modest scores, after the visitors cruised to 84 for one in the first hour after lunch.
Shillingford grabbed one of the two wickets before tea that kept West Indies in the hunt, as Australia reached 136 for three at tea.
The hosts ran into a roadblock either side of lunch, when Warner and Shane Watson put on 83 for the second wicket. Kraigg Brathwaite missed a sharp chance at forward short leg to separate them in the first half hour after lunch, when Watson, on 35, tried to turn a delivery from Shillingford into the leg-side and the ball flew from the batsman’s glove.
But Sammy made the breakthrough, when Watson top-edged a hook at a short, rising ball from the West Indies captain and was caught at deep square leg for 41 about 40 minutes after the lunch.
West Indies continued to bowl with discipline and Warner started to grow restless at the crease. He reached an even 50 from 133 balls, when he drove Kemar Roach through cover for a single before he mistimed a cut and was caught at cover for the same score.
For close to an hour before the break, West Indies created some anxious moments for Ponting, the former Aussie captain, and Clarke, his successor.
After the break, Shillingford had Ponting caught at short square leg for 23, when he played defensively forward to a delivery that bounced awkwardly, flew off the glove, and Sammy skipped to his left to collect in the third over after tea. Shillingford added Clarke caught at forward short leg for 24, also playing defensively forward to a delivery that turned and bounced sharply.
West Indies kept runs at a premium and Hussey failed to get Australia out of jail this time before he too, played defensively forward, edged and was spectacularly caught at slip for 10, when Sammy flew to his left to clutch a one-handed catch that brought the crowd that half-filled the stadium to its feet.
Roach, the bowling hero in the previous Test in Trinidad, made sure Ryan Harris, returning to the Aussie line-up, did not perform any heroics with the bat, serving up a bouncer, which the batsman top-edged and was caught behind down the leg-side for four, leaving the Aussies 169 for seven.
West Indies failed however, to dismiss the visitors inside the remaining, near 15 overs, as Mitchell Starc, not out on 24, joined Matthew Wade, not out on 22, to add 43 – unbroken – for the eighth wicket inside the last hour. Before lunch, Ravi Rampaul made an immediate impact on his return, but West Indies had failed to make early inroads into Australia’s batting.
Rampaul removed Ed Cowan in the second over of the morning, but Warner and Watson carried Australia to 69 for one at lunch.
West Indies might have taken a firmer grip early had Sammy not spilled a catch at third slip off Rampaul, when Warner, on five, edged a loose drive at a delivery outside the off-stump.
Rampaul gave West Indies an early breakthrough, when Cowan offered no stroke to a delivery that straightened and the left-handed opener was adjudged lbw for one in the second over.
West Indies made one change to their side – Rampaul came in to play his first match of the series, replacing fellow fast bowler Fidel Edwards, whose stiff back put him on the sidelines.
Australia made two changes with Harris and left-arm fast bowler Starc replacing left-arm spinner Michael Beer and fast bowler James Pattinson, who has returned home to seek medical treatment on a stiff back.
West Indies trail 0-1 in the series, following a three-wicket defeat in the first Digicel Test at Kensington Oval in Barbados, and a draw in the second Digicel Test at Queen’s Park Oval, which meant that Australia would retain the Frank Worrell Trophy, symbol of supremacy between the two sides.
West Indies are still in the hunt for their first Test win over the Aussies in nine years.
Scores: AUSTRALIA 212 for seven (David Warner 50, Shane Watson 41, Mitchell Starc 24 not out, Michael Clarke 24, Ricky Ponting 23, Matthew Wade 22 not out; Shane Shillingford 4-77) vs WEST INDIES.