West Indies lost the series but they showed signs of improvement and gave the world’s No. 1 team some headaches throughout the three-Test tour. While one familiar face carried the bulk of the batting responsibility, a couple of promising younger players were also unearthed. Cricinfo assesses the 16 men West Indies used during the series.
The Player of the Series, and deservedly so. Chanderpaul was figuratively immovable for much of the series with a string of not-out scores and from the start of his 107 in Antigua to the end of his 50 in Barbados, he batted for more than 18 hours without being dismissed. He was also literally immovable in Jamaica, when a Brett Lee bouncer crashed into his helmet and left him out cold for several minutes before he carried on batting and registered a courageous century. Comfortably the leading scorer for the series, he made 442 runs at 147.33.
West Indies’ leading wicket taker with 15 at 25.13, he bowled fast and with dangerous late swing. Was at his best carrying the attack in Jamaica, when his eight wickets for the match gave West Indies hope. Enjoyed a series-long rivalry with Lee, whom he struck on the helmet a couple of times with vicious bouncers.
Continues to frustrate West Indies fans with promising batting starts, only to fall when he appears to be set, as in Barbados when his brutal second-innings 69 gave his team hope of a record chase. His up-and-down series included innings of 46, 0, 45, 1, 29 and 69, but the lack of a century was disappointing for the No. 6. His medium-pace bowling looked innocuous but he had a habit of making handy breakthroughs and his ten wickets at 37.10 was an impressive result.
Captain for the first two Tests, Sarwan’s only major batting contributions came in Antigua. But they were particularly important; his first-innings 65 kept West Indies in touch and his outstanding second-innings 128 ensured the match would be saved, which was a great result after they had some top-order stumbles. He finished the series with 275 runs at 45.83, a decent effort after he looked out of sorts in Jamaica.
Was surprisingly thrust into the team in Antigua after three years off the international scene, and boasting no first-class centuries. Immediately displayed his promise with a confident 53 that ended with a brain-freeze leave to a straight ball, and was even more impressive with his first-class best 85 in Barbados. Not backward at coming forward, he drove superbly, took several blows to the helmet and thrived on his mini-battles with Lee. Certainly a player to watch.
Missed the first Test with a back problem and as soon as he returned in Antigua showed his value with five wickets for the match. Was West Indies’ second-most threatening fast bowler but would be disappointed that he didn’t make his breakthroughs earlier, before the batsmen had made contributions.
His glovework was strong and a series of diving catches was excellent reward after long hours of training with the assistant coach and former wicketkeeper David Williams. His batting was often underwhelming, although a second-innings 36 in Jamaica gave Australia some concerns and his unbeaten 21 in Antigua helped West Indies salvage a draw.
Was only included in Barbados for his second Test and showed some promise with three second-innings wickets that came in a marathon spell. He bowled 47 overs in that innings and was unlucky not to have more breakthroughs. Used his extreme height to gain sharp bounce, flighted the ball beautifully and turned it venomously away from the right-handers from around the wicket.
Began the series strongly, with a patient and mature 67 in the first innings in Kingston as he proved a solid ally for Chanderpaul. After that innings his judgement was poor and he played some terrible shots at times when West Indies needed him to be steady, and he was axed for Barbados. Was one of their most brilliant fielders and a cracking reflex catch at short extra cover at Sabina Park was memorable.
Was a useful bits-and-pieces player but struggled to make a major contribution in his two appearances. Picked up three wickets for the series and his second-innings 35 at Sabina Park displayed impressive maturity as he and Ramdin tried to rebuild the chase of 287 and gave Australia some nervous moments.
Managed to hold down the new-ball duties despite being clearly the least penetrating of West Indies’ fast men. Finished the series with six wickets at 61, continuing his disappointing run in Tests. His only really dangerous spell came in the second innings in Kingston, where he grabbed three top-order wickets as Australia crumbled to 18 for 5.
Missed the first two Tests with a groin injury and was still not 100% when he returned in Barbados. Threw the bat wildly and was twice out to loose shots, ran gingerly between the wickets and struggled to inspire his team in the field in the second innings when Phil Jaques and Simon Katich batted West Indies out of the match.
Was pushed back up to open after batting at No. 6 against Sri Lanka and despite getting starts in both innings at Sabina Park, rarely looked completely at ease. Failed again in Antigua, extending his long run of disappointing form in Tests, and was axed for the third match.
Was initially unavailable with a shoulder injury and when he did come in for the final Test, wrenched his ankle in the field sliding to stop a boundary. Made no real contribution with the bat but bravely hobbled out with a runner in the second innings as West Indies chased a massive total, despite being on crutches the day before.
Looked vulnerable at the top of the order in his only outing. His technique had some problems and he was caught behind off Stuart Clark for low scores in both innings in Jamaica. Was brilliant in the field and his spectacular diving catch to end Ricky Ponting’s innings on 158 was one of the lasting images of the tour.
Was pounded into oblivion by Andrew Symonds in the second innings of his Test debut in Jamaica and, in a familiar manner for West Indies spinners, was immediately dumped. Picked up just one wicket but it was a memorable one, Michael Hussey brilliantly caught at first slip by Bravo.
Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo
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