Will the real West Indies please stand up?

Posted: December 13, 2015 in Ranting
Tags: , , ,

Was there was a mix up at the airport and we ended up with the Trinidad Croquet Club by mistake instead of the West Indies cricket team?

When the West Indies cricket team come Down Under, you expect exciting cricket. Even during that period when a visit from the WIndies meant our team was going to be hammered by that terrifying fast bowling lineup, we still to got to see class cricket.

As I write this piece, it is the scheduled Day Four of the 2015-16 First Test, Australia v West Indies. Except it was all over yesterday. Mid-way through the second session. And even then the passage of actual time was extended by a couple of short rain breaks.

A Test match over in considerably less than three days!

The West Indian performance was frankly very ordinary.

During the first session on Day One, there was some attack by the WIndies, sending the Australians into lunch at 3-121. And that was the last we saw of anything like attacking cricket. Losing quick Shannon Gabriel to injury on Day One certainly didn’t help but even so, it was as if after having their meat pies and sauce for lunch on that first day, the WIndies decided to pack up. After lunch, Adam Voges (269 n.o.) and Shaun March (182) simply took over in a multi-record breaking partnership.

Both Voges and Marsh unquestionably batteed well. But it has to be said that post-lunch the WIndies were pedestrian at best. Any idea of attack had been thrown out with the Four-And-Twenty wrappers, replaced by a frankly half-arsed attempt to stop the runs.

For decades just the mention of the West Indies immediately brought images to mind of a FAST hostile bowling attack, hammering batters. Who would have thought we would now see that replaced by batter-pleasing gentle line and length, supported by even more friendly off spin. What makes this change even more startling is the fact that the bowling coach is none other than the scourge of Australian batters back in the day, Curtley Ambrose. The Big Cat’s charges trundling line and length? What is this? An episode of Twilight Zone??

Voges and Marsh were given early Christmas presents and made the most of them, doing pretty much whatever the hell they wanted to. And that was just Day One. Things only went further downhill after that.

Once the WIndies took to batting, they weren’t even up to a reasonable club cricket standard. The sole exception was Darren Bravo with 108 out of 223. With the follow-on, they were even worse with this time the exception being opener, Kraigg Brathwaite who went within a whisker of carrying his bat for the entire innings, falling for 94, six short of a deserved century.

All the Australian bowlers bowled well. Even Peter Siddle who ended up with the least wickets, still bowled well. Nathan Lyon threw the WIndies first innings into turmoil with three early wickets and they never recovered. Come the second innings and James Pattinson celebrated his return to the Test arena by tearing the Windies apart with 5/27 driving the WIndies to their knees with only 148. After allowing for Brathwaite and extras, the rest of the lineup only made 49!

Just as Australia has been going through a rebuilding period, the West Indies are as well. But that alone does not explain this very poor performance. It was almost as if they didn’t want to be out there. At times we even saw fielders casually ambling after the ball, not bothering to put in at all.

On second thoughts, perhaps they may be better served by sending over that croquet team after all.


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