Australia v West Indies – First Test, Day 2: A Sense of Sadness

Australia 4 (dec) / 583. West Indies 6 / 207.

If nothing else, the first fortnight of the current West Indies tour of Australia has been an exercise in cricket pathology. Every commentator and analyst worth his or her salt (or not) has queued up to paw at the carcass that is West Indian cricket and offer a prognostication. The cause of death is yet to be officially determined, but there is general agreement on the dire prognosis. Of these efforts, Jack Klugman’s Quincy would be proud.

Rather than search for answers, I have felt nothing but a profound sadness descend over me since the start of play on Thursday. And the sight of Adam Voges and Shaun Marsh plundering their opponents’ pop-gun attack to all parts of Bellerive on day 2 only made matters worse. Maybe I am in mourning?

This day will surely live in West Indian cricket infamy. That the two West Australians could pummel their way to a partnership of 449 against this once-regal group of cricketing nations said more about contemporary West Indian cricket than any pouring over the entrails could hope to. To be fair to Voges and Marsh, in sporting competition one can only compete against the opponent that the authorities have decreed one must play. On that score, the two Australian batsmen greedily filled their boots, their creams, and everything else besides. And who can blame them for that?

But just when the West Indies seemed dead and buried, just when I thought this game could be over inside three days, just when they were teetering again and again at 4/78, 5/89 and 6/116, Darren Bravo showed a level of tenacity that had been hitherto absent from the West Indies for the first day and a half. I thought he batted superbly, applying himself patiently to a thankless task, whilst pouncing on loose balls and dispatching them.

Bravo’s innings (94 not out) served to highlight the impotence of the Australian bowling attack. Josh Hazlewood (2/43) was serviceable without being unplayable. And let’s face it, Peter the Likeable Siddle (1/22) is these days not much more than an honest trundler – not that there is anything wrong with that. Nathan Lyon, who will never be a world-beater, was the man most likely- doesn’t that speak volumes? And what of Mitch, the now-forgotten Marsh? An afternoon’s work consisting of three overs from a supposed bowling all-rounder flies in the face of his skipper’s pre-match enthusiasm.

Of greatest concern was James Pattinson. The great white hope of the Australian pace brigade seemed to lack any sense of rhythm. He definitely was down on pace – rarely threatening the 140 km mark. In fact, Patto seemed short of a gallop in general. It will be interesting to see if he ever regains that extra yard or two; injuries and the subsequent tinkering with his bowling action have left him at the crossroads.

And as for the West Indies? If you once loved them like I did, I would hurry along to either Melbourne or Sydney, because it may be quite a while before they again play Test cricket in this country. I will leave it for wiser heads than mine to determine whether or not the West Indies will rise again. Certainly, the signs are not good. I grieve for what the West Indies were and, in all likelihood, will never be again. The cricketing world is immeasurably the poorer for their decline.

Sad, isn’t it?

About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. Yep, it’s now or never for Patto. His career is made up of stellar series (against weaker opposition, generally), and getting carted. Like many who come into this team he struggles with the expectations – ours, the media’s, the selectors’, the skipper’s, his… I thought he might come back as Lillee given the similarities. Maybe he’s just a good shield cricketer.

    There’s nothing wrong with Siddle being a trundler. Anywhere else except for the Australian test team. with the doubts over Starc’s fitness and Cummins and Patto, surely we need to find another young 20s to build an attack around. And Nice decks against crap opposition is the time to find them – get that kid in who keeps taking wickets. Paris. Why not.

    Great knock, D Bravo. Dumb cricket all round re Holder’s dismissal – both sides and the ump should get together and workshop that for a manual in future. Knuckleheads.

  2. Spot on, Smokie, it’s incredibly sad (and, yes, bravo to Bravo). I feel like we should offer Holder and Fazeer Mohammed some form of cricketing asylum – they don’t deserve this.

    As for Australia’s bowling stocks, Davey Warner almost wasn’t exaggerating when he said Australia had 20 fast(ish) bowlers that could step up to the test team in this series. I’m sick to death of selectors giving tests to blokes that have barely played who then look rusty or get injured. RELEASE THE MENNIE!

  3. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Smokie sad ohh so sad thank,God for the adelaide day night test match it has been as forgettable season in cricket history.A huge part of the problems of world cricket is the lack of propper warm up games for touring sides with the game so money orientated and with,20 20 comps seemingly the most important thing.West Indies are a basket case with no chance of returning to its former glory while we here get frustrated re the pro,NSW favrotism the rivalry there is a huge step furtheri in the,WI and in reality they are separate countries.Pattinson is still way under done and will get away with it against the current opposition but no where near time to write him off thanks Smokie

  4. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Very sad decline indeed Smokie. Watched a bit of this morning’s session. Like watching Fitzroy in 1996.

  5. Indeed, seems the horse has bolted, Smokie.

    Nice analogy Phil.
    If the analogy holds for a further 20 years, Sabina Park will be a cracking place to watch local cricket.

  6. Keiran Croker says

    Too early to make a call on Patto. He clearly did better in the 2nd dig. Though as a principle I’d rather see them pick fit, in-form bowlers hence Mennie, Boland or Bird may have got a run, or dare I say Doug the Rug!

  7. About a month prior there was a dialogue on our web site re the future/status/direction of test cricket. This gives me a segue to my post.

    The Windies need to lose their test status. Fair dinkum, since we beat them in the Caribbean in 94-95 they have been a rabble. They do not deserve test status. While we’re on this topic let’s remove Zimbabwe and Bangladesh from the test group. Neither are up to it.

    For the next few,?, five years, lets ration tests between the other seven sides. No more two test series BS, no more one off tests, in the forthcoming yeas let’s ration the tests , with series of three to six matches, never less. Have time between series, it might whet the appetite. If we follow this approach for say, five years, maybe, it might put value back into test matches, hopefully restoring their status to the role as the primary form of the game. I dunno how viable it is, one isn’t going to hold our collective breaths for this to proceed, but as a test ‘tragic’, I wish to see the five day gam regain its status. One of the first steps in this recovery is, sadly, removing the Windies as test playing nation.



  8. Paul Buxton says

    I don’t recall us receiving much sympathy when the West Indies were belting us into submission with their version of Bodyline. They were as arrogant as possible and any criticism or even querying of tactics was slapped down as racism. Slow over rates and constant bowling at the batsman were the order of the day. It may just be a case of what goes around comes around. Few years ago we were supposed to cry crocodile tears for the state of English cricket; not long after they were thumping us! Maybe they should be relegated to playing Kenya, Scotland and Holland until they get their act together.

  9. Cat from the Country says

    How about relegating West Indies, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe into the Australian Sheffield Sheild competition or the English District competition. That would strengthen those competitions while giving the teams good practice. Could even bring an Australian A team into the two domestic leagues aong with Ireland and Canada too!

  10. Luke Reynolds says

    From box office to buskers. If you’d watched the Windies in the 80’s you would not believe what you are seeing. A cricketing tradgedy. Has any world sporting team fallen from such great heights to such low depths??

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