Woeful Windies walloped
Date: December 12, 2015 / Posted by Glenn Mitchell
Six weeks ago the game’s greatest all-rounder was asked at a media conference in Sri Lanka about the plight of West Indian cricket.
The man who played 93 Tests, scored 8032 runs and captured 235 wickets found it tough putting his thoughts into words.
Tears welled in his eyes as he reflected on the West Indies of today.
“I have always played for the West Indian teams, and it was such a pleasure and joy to be able to do what I did. Records meant nothing, the team was important.
“I don’t think we have that kind of person today … I don’t think we have that kind of person in the West Indies anymore who is quite prepared to play and to give it everything for their country.
“And that hurts and until we can get people who are willing to play for West Indies in the right way, I think that we’re going to be struggling for a long time.”
Alas for Sir Gary the opening day of the first Test at Bellerive Oval simply echoed his sentiments.
Yes, the Caribbean tourists entered the match as $15 outsiders and had they played to their collective best they still may not have won the day.
However, what they threw up was simply sad when you consider those who preceded them in the maroon cap.
Throughout the day they were as flat as week old lemonade as runs freely multiplied like the biblical loaves and fish.
The collective lethargy in the field was something you seldom see at international level.
It is one thing to be a distinct underdog; it is another to play as if you care little about your performance.
The body language was horrid throughout the day.
Some of the fieldsmen gave the impression they wished the ball would not head in their direction.
Balls struck into the deep were often chased with little intent.
At times the game plan seemed as formless as a snow storm.
There was a degree of funereal solemnity about the way the tourists went about their work.
Seldom was seen a fieldsman clapping his hands in an endeavour to urge his teammates on.
Wicket-keeper Denesh Ramdin was largely mute behind the stumps.
The over rate was deplorable.
It moved with the rapidity of molasses down a sand hill.
As the players left the field for tea a totally unacceptable 50 overs had been sent down – ten under the required rate – despite the spinners having already been called upon regularly.
Inexplicably when the new ball was due at 80 overs and the score sat at 3-416, skipper Jason Holder opted not to take it.
Surely there was an opportunity to remove either Adam Voges or Shaun Marsh and get an out of form, and no doubt, nervous Mitch Marsh to the crease late in the day.
Holder continued to bowl over the wicket and wide to Marsh with seven men on the off-side – three of them on the rope.
At the other end, part-time offie Jermaine Blackwood rolled out innocuous dibbly-dobblies.
With an old ball that was doing nothing the West Indian attack had as much bite as a mouse with faulty dentures.
Rather than pursue a late wicket it was simply a measure of trying to limit the damage in the run column.
The Windies were put on the back foot from the get go with David Warner and Joe Burns feasting on wayward bowling as the total raced to 0-70 after ten overs in which 15 boundaries were struck.
From then on Holder dispersed his fieldsmen to the rope like he was casting chaff to the wind.
It certainly did not work as there were singles galore available for to the batsmen.
When Burns (33) fell with the score on 75 there was a distinct lack of pressure with respect to the field positions presented to Steve Smith.
In the 20 minutes leading into lunch, spinner Jomel Warrican had Smith (10) nick a straight one to slip and Warner (64) strangle one down the leg side.
That modicum of success ended up being a false dawn as the rest of the day saw Voges (174no) and Marsh (139no) make merry, adding 317 runs at a rate of 4.85 per over.
Despite 41 overs of spin, and half an hour’s overtime, the Windies still fell an over short of their allotted 90 with Australia rollicking to a stumps score of 3-438.
It was lyricist Johnny Mercer who stressed the need to ‘Accentuate the Positive’.
As far as the West Indies were concerned the only positive coming from the opening day of the series was the fact they had their shirts tucked in.
It was generally regarded pre-series that the tourists’ strength was its bowling.
That being said, day one at Bellerive would have sent a tremor running up the back of every Windies supporter.
First posted on The Roar – theroar.com.au – on 11 December 2015, soliciting 20 comments