Tuesday, 3 June 2008

West Indies win a draw

It is a sign of Australia’s dominance that it is noteworthy that they did not win the 2nd Test against West Indies today. West Indies have battled hard in this series, much harder than recent history would suggest they were capable of. Their bowling attack has shown discipline and some venom whilst the batting has at times been solid. Having to bat out today to force a draw, Sarwan and Chanderpaul batted with great assurance and in the end made the task look easier than it was. For Australia, Brett Lee was again very impressive, showing commitment with the ball and in the field.

Stuart MacGill bowled some pretty awful leg-spin earlier in the match. He sent down quite a few long-hops and full-tosses and his own frustration probably led to his snap mid-test decision to retire from International cricket at the end of the game. He is a much better bowler than this series has shown – he has 200 Test wickets and had it not been for Shane Warne keeping him out of the side he would surely have a lot more. So Australia is now spinnerless and their ‘reserve’, Brad Hogg, has also retired. All of a sudden the Australian spin-cupboard looks bare. There is talk of new spinners but at the moment it is just that – talk. Ricky Ponting must be concerned that he may now lack the firepower at his command to dismiss sides on flat wickets, something that Warne could do with regularity.

This series has something which I think is remarkable: Xaviar Marshall. Not that the West Indies opening batsman has done anything remarkable in the series. The remarkable thing is that he is opening the batting for the West Indies and his highest first-class score is 82. Yes, you read that right, Xavier Marshall has not scored a first-class century. His first class average is an understated 25.25. It seems bizarre that a side that has just managed to draw with Australia would have to pick a player who has made less than 800 first class runs. How can they expect him to bat all day and make a big score when he has never got close to that before? Can anyone think of an opening Test batsman with as poor a record?

8 comments:

Ottayan said...

The old firm of Sarawan and Chanderpaul saved the day.

As for openers with poor records, you do not have to look beyond the Kiwi openers.

Robert said...

They do not have good records but they are miles more experienced:
How has 8 (first class) centuries and Redmond 6.

Naked Cricket said...

it's a selection coup! in gayle's absence, they don't want anybody to look better than him.

Brian Carpenter said...

Well spotted, Rob; that had passed me by and exemplifies the West Indies' problems and the decline of Caribbean cricket. One near-great (or am I underselling him?) (Chanderpaul) and one very good player (Sarwan) continue to keep their heads above water but what are they going to do when Shiv, in particular, goes?

I haven't got time to do the research but I'd be very surprised if any other country (with the possible exceptions of Zimbabwe and Bangladesh) have ever selected a specialist Test opener without a first-class century, certainly in the last fifty years or so.

Sad.

Jrod said...

Dude, blogroll me already.

Rob said...

doh.

UTP said...

heheh...Xavier Marshall...is he linked to the late great Malcolm by any chance?

Rob said...

Malcolm Marshall was from Barbados and Xaviar is Jamaican ... so I guess they are not related.