Port of Spain: West Indian offspinner Shane Shillingford wasted no time in making his impact felt on his return to Test cricket, capturing three key wickets in the first innings of the second Test against Australia. Shillingford's fledgling Test career was cut short in 2010 when he was reported for a suspect bowling action after a tour to Sri Lanka.
Shillingford was ordered to undergo remedial work to remodel his action but was unable to get back into the Test side, although he was selected for the 2011 tour of Bangladesh. It was only this week that the West Indies' selectors gave him the nod to come back, primarily because they wanted to play two spinners in the second Test at the Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad, which traditionally suits the slower bowlers.
The 29-year-old instantly repaid them for their faith when he struck in his first over, dismissing Australia opener David Warner for 29. "It obviously felt pretty good coming back to Test cricket and getting a wicket in my first over, especially for my confidence," he told reporters after the first day. "I didn't want to get too carried away with the wicket, so I just tried to put as many balls in the right place as possible."
Shillingford bagged his second wicket when he removed Shane Watson, one of Australia's best batsmen against spin, just when he looked set for a big score. "I thought he bowled pretty well; he didn't bowl too many loose balls," Watson said. "There was enough turn for him at times; it meant it was hard to be able to line him up. I thought he did a pretty good job. The longer the game goes, I think, he's going to continue to do a really good role for them."
Shillingford was given the lion's share of the work against the Australians, bowling 49 over in the innings. He was rewarded with a third wicket on the second day on Monday when he got rid of James Pattinson for 32, triggering a late batting collapse where Australia lost their last four wickets for 14 runs to be all out for 311.