Port of Spain: West Indies seamer Kemar Roach dedicated his eight wickets in the second Test against Australia to the legendary fast bowler Malcolm Marshall, who would have been 54 on Wednesday. Roach has been the standout bowler for the home side in the match which appears destined for a draw after torrential rain restricted action on the fourth day at the Queen's Park Oval to just 30.4 overs.
Australia finished the day on 73 for 3 in their second innings, a lead of 127 runs after Roach had taken all the wickets to fall to add to his five-wicket haul in the first innings. "Today would have been Malcolm Marshall's 54th birthday; it's a special day. I looked up to him as a bowler," Roach said of his fellow Barbados quick who died from cancer in 1999.
"I've watched a lot of clips of him and he was just such a great, great bowler. He was the best in the world at the time. I can't really explain it; it's a good feeling to know that I got some wickets on his birthday and it makes me feel warm as a West Indian to know I can go out there and perform for the West Indies like he did."
Roach sent back openers David Warner and Ed Cowan before clean-bowling Shane Watson for nought as West Indies saw a chance to keep the Australian lead in check. But that was before the rain made a draw the likely result, an outcome which would allow Australia, who won the first Test of the three-match series, to maintain their two-decade grip on the Frank Worrell Trophy.
"I had my plans; it's a matter of executing," the 23-year-old Roach, playing in his 15th Test, said. "I know where I have a better chance of getting them out now, so I'll be working hard in the nets to keep being accurate and consistent. Hopefully I'll keep blasting through the top order."
Roach also said he enjoyed seeing Watson's off-stump cartwheel down the pitch. "It was a good sight," he added. "I really enjoyed that one. Shane Watson is a great batsman; I rate him a lot and to get him on that wicket is a good achievement."
Roach, who has 3 for 27 in the second innings, has had to work for his wickets on a Trinidad pitch which is so low that both the teams have opted to throw the new ball to a spinner. In the West Indies' case, Roach was first change on Wednesday once off-spinner Shane Shillingford had been given an early opportunity.
"The lower the bounce in the pitch, you obviously want to challenge the stumps a bit more, keep your pace up, be as accurate as possible and challenge the batsmen's technique. That's what got me wickets," he said.
Roach is now in line to become the first West Indies bowler to take 10 wickets in a match against Australia since Curtly Ambrose performed the feat back in 1993. "It would be great to get 10 wickets in this match and help the team to a winning position," he said. "I am in the hunt for it and when we come back [on Thursday], I will adopt the same approach - bowling straight and attacking the stumps and look for more wickets."