Port of Spain: After letting the first Test slip through their fingers in fading light on the last day, West Indies will look to rebound when they take on Australia in the second Test, starting on Sunday.
Captain Darren Sammy is convinced that West Indies will learn from Wednesday's three-wicket loss to Australia in the opening Test and bounce back strongly in Trinidad.
West Indies crashed to defeat on the final day of the Test at the Kensington Oval after controlling more than three days of the contest with disciplined batting and bowling. "We just lost two hours to Australia in the whole Test match and we've got to come back strong and in Trinidad where the wicket should offer some more spin. We have to just go out there and believe we can beat Australia and play five good days of cricket," Sammy told reporters.
The West Indies batted well in their first innings to pile up 449 for 9 declared but let Australia off the hook at 285 for 8, and the visitors went on to make 406 for 9 declared. West Indies then faltered in their second innings, managing only 148 and setting Australia a victory target of 192, which they reached late in the evening. Sammy said his team had experienced similar situations in recent months, especially on the tour of India last year, and now needed to take the next step in capitalising on their strong positions in games.
"In the past year, we've learnt a lot of lessons. I remember Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, basically a similar thing keeps happening, we keep getting close but we need to find a way to get over the last hurdle. We've just got to come back strong," Sammy reiterated. "I think the bowlers stuck to the plan most of the times, the way the batsmen batted in the first innings leaving along a lot of balls was good. Shiv [Shivnarine Chanderpaul] again showed his experience. We did some good stuff, we just lost it in the second innings."
Leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo proved a massive disappointment in the game, sending down 53 overs for 169 runs and taking just one wicket. On the crucial last day on a deteriorating track, he was ineffective and bowled eight overs for 44 runs. It was left to part-time offspinner Narsingh Deonarine, who grabbed 4 for 53, to lead the West Indies attack. "The guys fought hard and Narsingh played a crucial role for us. On a fifth day pitch, our champion spinner [Bishoo], who bowled so well for us last year, didn't have the best of games. These things happen," Sammy said. The second Test will be played at Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad on Sunday.
Both the teams may ring in a few changes for the Test. While Australia are planning to employ two specialist spinners, West Indies have recalled offspinner Shane Shillingford into their squad after a gap of 18 months.
Nathan Lyon, who played in the first-Test victory in Barbados, could be partnered by left-arm spinner Michael Beer. "Over the last two seasons, it's been relatively low-scoring but also very, very spin-friendly. The temptation to play two spinners could be there," Australia's coach Mickey Arthur said.
Shillingford, 29, played the last of his five Tests in November 2010 after his bowling action was deemed illegal on the tour of Sri Lanka. But he has since undergone remedial work and took 38 wickets in five matches during the recent domestic Caribbean season. He may replace Deonarine as a specialist offspinner.
West Indies: 1 Adrian Barath, 2 Kraigg Brathwaite, 3 Kirk Edwards, 4 Darren Bravo, 5 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 6 Narsingh Deonarine/Shane Shillingford, 7 Carlton Baugh (wk), 8 Darren Sammy (capt), 9 Kemar Roach, 10 Fidel Edwards/ Ravi Rampaul, 11 Devendra Bishoo
Australia: 1 Ed Cowan, 2 David Warner, 3 Shane Watson, 4 Ricky Ponting, 5 Michael Clarke (capt), 6 Mike Hussey, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 Ryan Harris, 9 Ben Hilfenhaus, 10 Peter Siddle/ Michael Beer, 11 Nathan Lyon