WI vs AUS, Second Test, 2022

West Indies will assess their walking wounded over the next couple of days before trying to assemble a side they hope can challenge Australia in the second day-night Test, but which has been boosted by the fighting spirit shown by the batsmen in Perth and the hostile ones. burst from Alzarri Joseph who briefly ruffled Marnus Labuschagne.
Kemar Roach (hamstring) and Nkrumah Bonner (concussion) remain doubtful, while Kyle Mayers (shoulder) will only be available as a hitter and Jayden Seales has an ongoing left knee problem. It is understood that Bonner is unlikely to play – this is the second concussion he has suffered in Test cricket – but there remains some confidence that Roach may yet be available, although there is a risk of the problem flaring up again during the match.
Anderson Phillip would be first in line as a quick replacement, but there is a possibility that uncapped Marquino Mindley could also play despite only arriving in Adelaide from Jamaica on Tuesday morning.

The West Indies bowlers managed just six wickets in Perth, three of which went to seamers, and the bottom line is that Labuschagne scored 308 runs, but one of the more exciting passages of the match came on the fourth morning when Joseph, who had been disappointing in the first innings, turned up the pace and gave him a workover. He also should have claimed him on the 19th but passed.

Labuschagne’s Test numbers, averaging close to 60, highlight the outstanding start he has enjoyed, but Joseph’s spell was not the first time he looked uncomfortable at high pace after Mark Wood created some unsettled moments in an otherwise one-sided Ashes final. season.

“You obviously have your plans,” West Indies assistant coach Roddy Estwick said. “I’m not here to give away plans, but we’ll have a look; we’ll see his uncomfortable areas, his uncomfortable moments and we’ll try to target them as much as possible.

“We were impressed with the way [Joseph] bowled with the new ball in the second innings… Personally, I think a big move is just around the corner, a five-for [is] waiting. We know he bowls at 140km/h, he just has to get it in the right area, [then] you can keep your notes [and] you have a better chance of four or five wickets.”

Estwick suggested Joseph’s spell was the kind that would be noticed around the world and even gave a small nod to his protégé Jofra Archer who he mentored during his younger days and will be targeting next year’s Ashes after a long period of injuries on the sidelines.

It was Archer’s Test debut at Lord’s in 2019, with Labuschagne brought in as Steven Smith’s concussion replacement after he was dropped by Archer. Labuschagne was then quickly hit by another fiery delivery from him.

“The world of cricket is so small that you can’t hide and when one team exposes a weakness, the other teams will see,” Estwick said. “I’m sure Jofra Archer, wherever he sits, will have a look, tick a few boxes; that’s the way cricket goes. But I’m sure if Marnus thinks he has a weakness, he’ll go away and working on it..”

“We are playing against the best team in the world and we just want to grind and fight and stay in the game for as long as possible.”

Roddy Estwick

The day-night factor will bring a different dynamic to this match (Australia have won all their pink-ball Tests) although the West Indies played the Prime Minister’s XI in the same conditions in Canberra before heading to Perth. The visitors will again look to their openers, Kraigg Brathwaite and Tagenarine Chanderpaul, to set the tone after the pair posted 78 and 116 at Optus Stadium with the aim of taking the match as deep as possible.

“You play the best side in the world, no doubt about it,” said Estwick. “You can’t go gung-ho. I know everyone has seen how England play and think that’s the way to go. Well, that’s the way they want to go, nice of them, but with us we know we have to be as patient as possible.

“We’re playing against the best team in the world and we just want to paint and fight and stay in the game as long as possible. We did [in Perth], we want to go a step further. It’s about improving, learning and getting better. You just have to keep fighting and scraping with the Australians.”

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