|Darren "Boof" Lehman reaches his |
maiden century at Queen's Park Oval 2003.
Hamish Blair / © Getty Images
The 2nd Test against the Windies will be the first time Australia return to the ground for a Test since that victorious encounter back in 2003. The ground itself has been a tough venue for Australia but not spectacular either for the Windies.
The match in 1999 at Queen's Park Oval was the Baggy Greens first victory since 23 March 1973 when Ian Chappell was captain. No history lesson should needed as to why the victories were so rare for the two decades that followed.
After that victory in 1973, the Baggy Greens would play 6 Tests at the Queen's Park Oval, losing 3 and drawing 3.
From the period of 23 March 1973 until the 1999 victory at Queen's Park Oval, overall in the Caribbean the Baggy Greens played 21 matches, losing 9, drawing 7 and only managing 5 wins.
The only thing I can honestly remember from that game in 1999 was Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie toppling the Windies for 51 in the 2nd innings to claim a massive victory margin. Admittedly the rest of the Test appears to be a memory lost.
The Port Of Spain stats in Australia's Test history is as follows:
Played 12 Tests, Won 4, Lost 3, 0 Tied, 5 Drawn.
A major reason this venue is going to prove a possible challenge for both sides is because only one of Australia's current player's has competed in a Test at this ground. Australia's benefit is that the Curators in the Windies seem to be transparent about the tracks they prepare and Batting Coach, Justin Langer; and Bowling Coach, Craig McDermott; played Test cricket at the venue during their respective careers.
Only one West Indian player in their current squad has played a Test against Australia at Port of Spain, but obviously they have shared local knowledge of the ground. The catch for the Windies heading into this Test is how quickly they will be able to brush of the shock loss for the 1st Test. Self-belief is a vital ingredient for the Windies to be competitive against the best of the best and without it they seem to lose their spark to perform with collective ability.
They can take confidence that our boys have never appeared to be the best lot against spin - with the exception of Michael Clarke - and this ground promises to offer a fair bit for the spinners. Devendra Bishoo will be played again and Narsingh Deonarine will likely be given further opportunity after his performance in the 1st Test - even though he is in the side primarily as a batsman.
Rumor has it our boys may call up both of our touring spinners being Nathan Lyon and Michael Beer. It could work but another question would be if only one spinner was picked who would they pick as the best option? Do they give Michael Beer an opportunity? David Warner and Michael Clarke can throw their arm for quite a few overs of spin but obviously the inclusion of an additional spinner may be at the expense of one of our fast bowlers. Here's some quick points brought up regarding this possibility.
From my side, I hope it's an unchanged squad to carry forward the momentum, emotions and tactical dynamics from their victory in the 1st Test.
For Australia though, the biggest worry with this Test may be the threat of rain. Let's hope though if there is good match time that we don't have a batting collapse and that the boys hold onto their catches!
It's really exciting to re-call that last Test victory it gives the boys 5 back-to-back victories.
Quick facts and stats:
- Queen's Park Oval is the home ground of Brian Charles Lara, aka The Prince of Spain.
- A Pavilion and bowling end is named after Brian Lara at the venue. The Brian Lara Pavilion End.
- The 2003 Test was when Ricky Ponting's scored the first of his 6 Test double centuries.
- The 2003 Test featured the debut of West Indies' current keeper, Carlton Baugh.
- In West Indian history they have played 57 matches at Queen's Park Oval. Won18, Lost18, Drawn 21.
- Ryan Harris is just 4 Test wickets away from the 50 wicket mark. Would be a nice achievement following his maiden half-century last Test. Come on Ryano!
On a side note, hard luck to the Aussie u19 Squad. They lost the Quad-series final to India. Well done though to the youngsters for making the final. Patrick Cummins managed to take 5 wickets in the three matches he played at an average of 20.60. It's a start for his comeback. All in all this series added to the preps ahead of the u19 ICC Cricket World Cup.
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