Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Australia drops Forrest


 

     If there were any doubts about how much Sunday's win meant to West Indies, who had not beaten Australia in an ODI since 2006, consider the reaction of the prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines. Ralph Gonsalves, who has been in the crowd during the first two games, declared Tuesday a public holiday and as a result, the third match had already sold out by Monday. If West Indies can parlay that support into another victory, they will have a 2-1 series lead ahead of the final two games in St Lucia, and will have a terrific chance to beat Australia in a one-day series for the first time since 1995.
To avoid that scenario, Australia need more from their batsmen, especially given they have weakened their batting depth by leaving Peter Forrest out to accommodate the offspinner Nathan Lyon. In the first two matches they had nine scores above 20 but no batsman has managed a half-century. That is not easy on a slow pitch, but they must find a way, especially if they have their full allotment of overs to bat. They scored at less than four an over in the second match and only marginally above that in the first game, and finding a way to handle the spin of Sunil Narine will be one of their major challenges.
West Indies have also been bereft of half-century makers in this series but Kieron Pollard was well on the way to one when the winning runs arrived on Sunday. Their batsmen played poorly in the first match and the task is to make sure Sunday's efforts are repeated in this game, not the batting from the opening encounter. 

Sunil Narine's 4 for 27 on Sunday was the second-best analysis ever recorded by a West Indies spinner in an ODI against Australia. Only Chris Gayle has bettered those figures, when he took 5 for 46 in Antigua in 2003. Narine's changes of pace and flight, and the variety of spin in his armoury make him a difficult proposition in one-day cricket. Further success in this series will also boost his chances of a call-up for the Test matches that follow.
Clint McKay doesn't draw the headlines like some of his team-mates but he has made himself an important part of Australia's one-day side, filling a Nathan Bracken-style role. His changes of pace are challenging in the 50-over format and his variety and accuracy makes him well suited to the slower Arnos Vale pitch. Almost inconspicuously, McKay has put himself in a position to reach 50 ODI wickets quicker than most Australians. He has 47, and is about to play his 26th ODI. Dennis Lillee reached the mark in 24 matches and Shane Warne in 25, and should McKay get there this game he will be equal third-fastest with Len Pascoe, who took 26 games.
Team news
West Indies will be reluctant to alter a winning side, with changes more likely ahead of the fourth and fifth matches when the teams move on to a new venue.
West Indies (possible) 1 Kieran Powell, 2 Johnson Charles, 3 Marlon Samuels, 4 Darren Bravo, 5 Dwayne Bravo, 6 Kieron Pollard, 7 Andre Russell, 8 Carlton Baugh (wk), 9 Darren Sammy (capt), 10 Sunil Narine, 11 Kemar Roach.
Australia have announced their side and there will be one change, the inclusion of the offspinner Lyon at the expense of the batsman Forrest. Lyon should enjoy working on the slow Arnos Vale pitch, where Sunil Narine was so difficult for the Australians to handle in the second match.
Australia 1 David Warner, 2 Shane Watson (capt), 3 Matthew Wade (wk), 4 Michael Hussey, 5 David Hussey, 6 George Bailey, 7 Daniel Christian, 8 Brett Lee, 9 Clint McKay, 10 Xavier Doherty, 11 Nathan Lyon.
Pitch and conditions
The slow Arnos Value surface has proved difficult for batsmen over the past two matches and the same is expected in this third game. Thunderstorms have been forecast, so the sides might face another abridged contest.
Stats and trivia
  • Sunday's victory was the first time West Indies had beaten Australia in an ODI in 14 matches, stretching back to the 2006 Champions Trophy
  • Excluding matches where they have been bowled out, Australia's run-rate of 3.85 on Sunday was their lowest in an ODI in four years
Quotes
"We have shown that we can win and now the aim is to repeat the performance."
Kemar Roach
"The conditions make it a little bit more difficult [for batsmen]. You're definitely never in."
Shane Watson

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