ICL: Indian Cricket League

Old and new faces share the load


Australia were forced to alter their usually stable Test line-up thanks to injury, compassionate leave and an unexpected retirement. They still recorded a 2-0 series victory but the triumph was less emphatic than they might have hoped against a team ranked No. 8 in the world. Cricinfo runs the rule over Australia’s contributors to the Caribbean success.

Simon Katich
Returned to the Test team for the first time since 2005 and, after some nerves in Kingston, turned in a dream comeback with centuries in Antigua and Barbados. Was asked to open in the absence of Matthew Hayden and looked comfortable against the new ball, scoring heavily through the leg side and finishing the tour with 319 Test runs at 63.80. Is likely to be dropped when Australia play their next Test if, as expected, Hayden returns from injury.

Brett Lee
Following two Player of the Series performances against Sri Lanka and India, he was again Australia’s leading wicket-taker and most consistent bowler. Was fast and fiery in Antigua, where he got eight wickets, and made several important strikes in the two victories. Pushed himself to the limit and was clearly exhausted on several occasions but finished the series with 18 wickets at 23.72.

Andrew Symonds
Rescued Australia after a couple of awkward top-order wobbles, notably in the second innings at Kingston, where he first steadied, then counterattacked, with a 79 that was essentially a match-winning contribution. He benefited, not for the first time in the past 12 months, from some incorrect umpiring decisions and topped Australia’s averages with 264 runs at 66.

Ricky Ponting
Set up the victory in Kingston with a superb 158 on a pitch that was playing tricks and finished the series as Australia’s leading scorer with 323 runs at 53.83 after adding a half-century in Antigua. As captain, felt some serious pressure at times during the tour but guided his team through for the 2-0 triumph.

Stuart Clark
Was almost singlehandedly responsible for Australia getting over the line on the final day in Jamaica, when he swung and seamed the ball in both directions and grabbed a career-best 5 for 32, taking his match tally to eight wickets. After a quieter time in Antigua, he contributed to the Barbados win with two fifth-day strikes, including the key wicket of Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

Michael Clarke
Missed the first Test due to family reasons but made an impact on arrival, striking 110 in Antigua to help set up a big first-innings total. Enjoyed the vice-captaincy and was clearly a leader in the group, often advising the newer players on the field. Retained his uncanny partnership-breaking abilities with the ball and his four wickets for the series all came at important times.

Phil Jaques
Was badly out of sorts at the start of the series and caused himself problems by walking too far across his stumps and becoming vulnerable to lbws. Gradually came good with a half-century in Antigua and 108 in a double-century opening stand with Katich in Barbados. Took two excellent catches in the second innings at Kensington Oval that helped Australia secure victory and confirmed he is making the short leg position his own.

Brad Haddin
Made a solid if not spectacular start to his long-awaited Test career. His primary job, behind the stumps, was generally performed cleanly, although there were a couple of dropped chances that he will want to eliminate to keep Luke Ronchi at bay. Did not make a half-century but his batting was sound, and he figured in four handy partnerships when West Indies thought they were breaking into Australia’s lower order.

Brad Hodge
Was unexpectedly thrust into the side in Kingston when Hayden missed out through injury. Quickly readjusted to Test cricket - his last match was in January 2006 - and his 67 and 27 were important contributions in the opening victory. Fell both times to excellent Denesh Ramdin catches and, after Jamaica, was required only as a substitute fielder.

Michael Hussey
The Bradmanesque average is slipping rapidly. Managed 137 runs at 22.83 and his only half-century came in the first innings of the first Test. That 56 was an important effort, though, as the openers had failed and Ponting needed someone to help in the recovery. Looked most settled when promoted to open in the second innings in Antigua but his usual precision placement was lacking and hitting in the air has become a slight weakness.

Beau Casson
Did not quite do enough to confirm him as Australia’s permanent Test spinner but showed sufficient promise in collecting three second-innings wickets on debut. Recovered from a Dwayne Bravo belting to remove the batsman at an important time in the third Test and was not bullied into a more defensive approach.

Mitchell Johnson
After his promising displays during Australia’s home summer, this was the sort of series Johnson didn’t want to have. Wildly inaccurate at times, he was stripped of the new-ball duties and was barely threatening during the first two Tests. Began to rescue his reputation with one good spell in Barbados, finding extra pace and bounce to clean up West Indies’ lower order, and finished with a Test-best 4 for 41.

Stuart MacGill
Deserves to be remembered for his outstanding Test career, not his miserable finale in the Caribbean. Made the bold decision to retire mid-series when he realised his bowling was not up to Test standard. Delivered numerous long hops and full tosses but showed occasional glimpses of his best, as when he lured Ramnaresh Sarwan forward with a venomous legbreak that was edged to slip in Antigua.

Source:Cricket News

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