West Indies batsman Chris Gayle leaves the field. AP Photo/Matt Dunham
Last week, the West Indies were, in a word, disappointing. The question is whether it will get any worse this weekend in Adelaide?
For the First Test to end in three days does not give much hope for a competitive series.
The West Indies managed to keep their head above water after day one. After that, it was just a matter of time before the Australians wore them down.
Ricky Ponting smelt blood in the water lunchtime on Saturday, which is why he enforced the follow on. Victory was just a matter of time.
Can the West Indies improve?
There are many who are hoping they do, not the least Cricket Australia. The last thing that they need is another three day Test match, and the results coming from New Zealand would not fill them with much confidence for a bumper summer financially.
As a cricket loving public, we are a fickle bunch.
We want our team to win, so long as it is in a close, competitive contest. We are satisfied with nothing else – as recent summers have shown.
We bleated when we won back the Ashes 5-0 and many nearly jumped off the gap when we lost against South Africa last summer. If early signs are an indication, many cricket lovers will be left disappointed yet again.
There were a few encouraging signs from the West Indies in Brisbane. Barath, Ramdin and Dowlin all showed some ticker with the bat. Roach and Bravo toiled hard with the ball and were the pick of the bunch.
If they continue playing with the youthful passion that they displayed last week, and it doesn’t get corrupted by the prospect of earning the IPL dollars on offer, then it could be the nucleus of a side that could drag the West Indies out of the cellar of world cricket.
And surely, Gayle and Chanderpaul cannot have another shocker, as they did in Brisbane.
Along with the returning Sarwan, they have all demonstrated in the past that they are made of stronger stuff. It is time that they step up and lead from the front, as the likes of Worrell, Sobers, Lloyd and Richards have done in the past.
We have all talked about the Caribbean greats of the past and the reason is simple – their talent was matched by their heart, which is all we can ask of anyone.
The same cannot be said by some members of this touring party.
Australia will want to put the foot on the throat; the prospect of which will not be lessened by Doug Bollinger replacing the injured Hilfenhaus. Dougie was in fine fettle in Perth last weekend and will only be better for wearing the Baggy Green.
The top six held their own, but make no mistake, eyes will still be focused on Shane Watson’s ability to be an opener and Michael Hussey continuing to show he is still worthy of his position in the team.
And rightly so.
The chance to win the series and complete the first step on the road to Ashes redemption should ensure that they stay focused for this Test match.
Complacency should only become an issue come the Perth Test.
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