WI vs AUS, 2nd Test, 2022

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West Indies will assess their walking wounded over the next couple of days before trying to pull together a side they hope can challenge Australia in the second day-night Test, but have been buoyed by the fighting spirit shown by the batters in Perth and the hostile burst from Alzarri Joseph that briefly ruffled Marnus Labuschagne.
There remain doubts over Kemar Roach (hamstring) and Nkrumah Bonner (concussion), while Kyle Mayers (shoulder) will only be available as a batter and Jayden Seales has an ongoing issue with his left knee. It’s 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 the risk of the problem flaring up again during the match.
Anderson Phillip would be first in line as a replacement quick but there is the possibility that uncapped Marquino Mindley could also play despite only arriving in Adelaide from Jamaica on Tuesday morning.

The West Indies bowlers only managed six wickets in Perth, of which three went to the seamers, and the bottom line is that Labuschagne scored 308 runs, but one of the more enthralling passages of the match came on the fourth morning when Joseph, who had been disappointing in the first innings, cranked up the speed and gave him a working over. He should have claimed him, too, on 19 but overstepped.

Labuschagne’s Test figures, with an average approaching 60, make clear the outstanding start he has enjoyed, but Joseph’s spell wasn’t the first time he had looked discomforted by high pace after Mark Wood created some uneasy moments in an otherwise one-sided Ashes last 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 will see his uncomfortable areas, his uncomfortable moments, and we’ll try and target them as much as possible.

“We were impressed the way [Joseph] bowled with the new ball in the second innings… I personally think a big haul is just around the corner, a five-for [is] waiting. We know he’s bowling at 140kph, he just has to get it in the right area, [then] you can keep your slips in [and] you have a better chance of four or five wickets.”

Estwick suggested that Joseph’s spell was the type that would get noticed around the world, and even gave a little nod towards his protégé Jofra Archer who he mentored during his younger days and will have sights on next year’s Ashes after a lengthy spell sidelined by injuries.

It was Archer’s Test debut at Lord’s in 2019, where Labuschagne was subbed in as Steven Smith’s concussion replacement after he had been felled by Archer. Labuschagne was then quickly struck by another searing delivery from him.

“The cricket world is so small you can’t hide and once any team exposes a weakness, the other teams will be having a look,” Estwick said. “I’m sure Jofra Archer, wherever he’s sitting, will be having a look, ticking some boxes; that’s the way cricket goes. But I’m sure if Marnus thinks he has a weakness, he’ll go away and work on it.”

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

Roddy Estwick

The day-night factor will bring another dynamic to this match (Australia have won all their pink-ball Tests) although West Indies did play the Prime Minister’s XI under 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 put on 78 and 116 at Optus Stadium with the aim to take the match as deep as possible.

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

“We are playing the best team in the world and we just want to grind and fight and stay in the fight as long as possible. We did that [in Perth], we want to go one step further. It’s all about improving, learning and getting better. You’ve just got to keep fighting and scrapping with the Australians.”

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