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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Australia thrash West Indies in very onesided Test: T1D4

Australia 4/583d (Voges 269*, S Marsh 182) beat West Indies 223 (70ov, Bravo 108/177b/20x4, Roach 31, Hazlewood 18-5-45-4, Lyon 3/43 & 148 (36.3ov, Brathwaite 94/122b/1x6 13x4, Pattinson 8-0-27-5, Hazlewood 3/33) by an innings & 212 runs: T1/3 D3/5 at Hobart. Australia lead series 1-0. Player of the Match: Adam Voges.

West Indies followed on and folded lamely yet again, this time principally due James Pattinson, who'd looked underdone on the previous day. Apart from Darren Bravo in their first innings and Kraigg Brathwaite in their second, the team lacked the desire and perhaps the guts to stand up to a proficient but by no means (except on the scoreboard here) outstanding Australia side.  

Can the visitors improve? Hard to see how with the current talent pool. I know that I predicted a similar fate for the New Zealanders a few weeks ago and that they proved me wrong, but I just can't see how the West Indies can lift themselves. No one expects them to win but tighter contests would at least keep some interest in the cricket following public for the remaining two Tests. It's's all very well to criticise the modest turnout at Hobart, but who (including Cricket Australia who must have seen this fiasco coming) expects anything like the huge numbers we've come to expect to show up at the MCG on Boxing Day, or watch on TV? IMO 40,000 would be a very good crowd. And a blow to the reputation of Test cricket and cricket in general.


Friday, December 11, 2015

Voges & Marsh pile on runs, then WI top order leave Bravo to restore modicum of self respect: T1D3

West Indies 6/207 (65ov, Bravo 94*/159b/17x4, Roach 31*/89b/3x4)  trail Australia 4/583d (114ov, Voges 269*/285b/33x4, S Marsh 182/266b/1x6 15x4, Warner 64, Warrican 28-1-158-3) by 376 runs: T1/3 D2/5 at Hobart.

Adam Voges and Shaun Marsh continued to dominate a lacklustre West Indies team, adding a further 132 - 449 in total - and breaking many more records before they were parted. 

When West Indies batted there were a few flickers, and one pillar - Dwayne Bravo- of resistance against a generally tight (if James Pattinson looked a tad underdone) Australia attack. Nathan Lyon bowled particularly well (and took a great return catch) before Bravo and Kemar Roach showed a bit of backbone and began to restore a little self respect to their team. 

6/119 ( the last a wrong but unreviewed lbw decision against Jason Holder) looked like unconditional surrender; 6/207 may save some WI face but is unlikely to prevent an Australian victory.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Australia 3/438 dominate West Indies on first day of series: T1D1

Australia 3/438 (89ov, Voges 174*/204b/19x4, S Marsh 139*/205b/12x4, Warner 64/61b/11x4) v West Indies: T1/3 D1/5 at Hobart. Toss: Australia.

West Indies were competitive until lunch, when they had Australia 3/121, including Steve Smith and David Warner. Thereafter Adam Voges aggressively and Shaun Marsh more methodically exposed the limitations of  the West Indies attack in an unbroken 316 4th wicket partnership which has set the Test on course, as many including me have predicted, for a crushing home win.

Yes, New Zealand, who also amassed 400+ today at home to Sri Lanka) regrouped after their First Test drubbing. I didn't think their revival here was possible, and predicted as much, but I don't think that the lacklustre West Indies can revive, so I'll predict - for the second time this season - a 3-0 Australia series win. Yet even I would be pleased to see more evidence of guts and determination that we saw from them today. Otherwise Test cricket will be effectively over this season.


Friday, December 04, 2015

Reflections on Australia's 2-0 series win v NZ

Australia 224 (Nevill 66, Smith 53) & 7/187 (S Marsh 49, Boult 5/60) def New Zealand 202 (Latham 50)  & 208 (Santner 45, Hazlewood 6/70) by 3wkts with 2 days to spare: T3/3 D3/5 at Adelaide Oval. Australia won Trans Tasman series 2-0. Player of the match: Josh Hazlewood, Player of the series: David Warner.

A low scoring Test concluded, unusually (perhaps unprecedently for Adelaide) in 3 days. Australia made relatively hard work of securing victory after having NZ 6/116 just after play began on D3. The Black Caps tail, marshalled by Mitchell Santner on debut, fought hard against an Australia attack minus injured Mitchell Starc, but in the face of Josh Hazlewood's skill and persistence were unable to set the 200+ target which might have stretched Australia's relatively thin-looking batting against the pink ball under lights. Trent Boult belatedly showed what a good bowler he is but Shaun Marsh, supported by his brother Mitchell in a crucial 5th wicket partnership, guided Australia to a victory which, if not particularly convincing, was (as two wickets fell close to the target) more comfortable than it appeared. 

Only once did NZ hold the initiative: in Australia's first innings when the home team were 8/116 and had a DRS review turned down by the 3rd umpire in the face of a lot of evidence which would have made the score 9/118. Yes, it was galling for everyone at the ground and watching on TV (where the audio revealed even more of umpire Llong's uncertainty), to wait what seemed like an eternity (perhaps 5 mins) for the decision. But NZ should have refocused and got on with it. By persisting with mostly spin when the pace bowlers had shown themselves (notwithstanding 2 wickets in an over from Mark Craig) more penetrative, they let Peter Nevill with support from Nathan Lyon and Starc (on one good leg) lead Australia to what in Adelaide Test terms still looked inadequate, but turned out to be the highest total of the match.