Australia have a tail-problem
When Kevin Sinclair and Alzarri Joseph were batting together, you could sense the frustration on the Australian bowlers’ faces. They tried it all, but the results were the same, with the two batters taming them pretty confidently. The 41-run partnership was the setting stone that eventually took the Windies team over 300.
From batting positions (8-11), Australian bowlers conceded 97 runs at a pace of 3.44 RPO. It wasn’t even the first time they conceded runs at such a pace against the tail, with West Indies only scoring 74 and 46 in the previous Test in Adelaide, where the runs were flowing at a rate of 4 and 4.5.
In the last eight innings, six times, the Australian bowlers have conceded over 40 runs against the tail-enders, including letting 104 runs against Pakistan in the Sydney Test, where Aamer Jamal was flexing his muscles. It was a similar show here from Sinclair, who scored a fifty on debut, to put Australia in deep trouble.
It is a recurring theme for Australia, and they would want to get rid of that as soon as possible.
Kemar Roach’s burst
Life has come to a full circle for Kemar Roach.
All the years back, in 2009, Roach made his debut on the Australian shore here in Brisbane at the iconic Gabba. 15 years later, the pacer returned to the venue where he didn’t have the best memories.
Roach’s first impact was with the bat when he played out 40 balls, scoring eight runs and putting on a show with Sinclair. But with the new ball in hand, Roach spelt trouble and put Australia in a position they hadn’t been in for quite a while. In that first spell, Roach targeted Steve Smith's and Cameron Green's weaknesses.
He kept bowling on the stumps for Smith, hoping for a mistake from him. which eventually happened. And, for Green, the evident drive through the off-side resulted in his downfall. It was that spell (3/13) that rewound time, and Roach’s display was a good deal-breaker. At 24/4, it was only the second time that Australia have lost four wickets for less than 25 runs at home in this century.
Alzarri’s plans against Australia
While Roach was insistent on his line and length-esque bowling, Alzarri Joseph, from the other end, was all about bowling short. In fact, it seemed like it was an obvious plan coming from the Windies’ other opening bowler.
42.9% of his deliveries were short in the innings, and 40.5% of his deliveries were in the length region. Three out of the four wickets that he scalped were from short deliveries, and if not for accuracy against Mitchell Marsh, Australia could have been in a much better position.
Carey shows promise in the cameo
You could go through the entire Australian batting unit, and Alex Carey would be the last person you would pick to save your life from this team. Such has been Carey’s form in recent times that expecting an innings from the left-hander was quite a tall ask.
That’s exactly when Carey delivered up on the promise. At 54/4, Carey walked out to bat with utmost focus on him. During the first few deliveries, there were plenty of tense moments, with the left-hander driving at the ball away from his body and getting a lot of inside edges.
In the 15th over (14.2), to be precise, Carey got a piece of luck when the ball trimmed the bail and went straight into the hands of the wicketkeeper. But once he got that cover drive against Shamar Joseph, you could sense that Carey was in for a big knock.
It was evident that Carey wasn’t too worried about his form three balls and three boundaries later. When Sinclair was introduced into the attack, Carey let loose with three boundaries in the same over - a reverse sweep, a traditional sweep, and a scintillating cover drive.
From thereon, it was quite tough to contain the left-handed batter, who easily found the gaps. Even in the end, Shamar Joseph required an effort ball to get rid of Carey.
Pat Cummins, a bankable all-rounder now
Simply put, Pat Cummins, the bowler, is one hell of a player. It is almost impossible to get one of the same ilk. But Cummins, as a batter, always showed promise but nothing more concrete consistently in his career. That’s when there were more than enough debates on whether Cummins could be a bankable No.8.
If the last year and a half serve as a testimony, Australia are in a pretty haven with Cummins at No.8. Not only does Cummins have the basic necessity of leaving the ball and watching it till the end, but he can up the ante and put pressure back on the opposition.
Across formats, Cummins has put on a show with the bat in the last year. The 30-year-old’s last Test half-century came all the way back in December 2018 against India. But ever since that, he has had multiple innings where he has been the protagonist.
Be it his 33 in the first innings of the Delhi Test against India, 38 and 44* in the epic win over England in the Birmingham Test, the 12* against Afghanistan at the ODI World Cup earlier last year, or 14* against South Africa in the semi-final, Cummins’ knock has been integral to Australia’s wins.
His 64* against West Indies now could be on the same page. Cummins is now become more than a bankable all-rounder for Australia.
Can Superman Cummins extend his Midas touch to T20 cricket?
Toe-crushed Shamar Joseph crushes Australia
Kemar Roach turns back the clock to decimate Australia
Kevin Sinclair - somersaulting one challenge at a time
Shamar Joseph’s stupendous spell spoils Australia’s party late on Day 1
Pat Cummins’ heroics help Australia edge past Pakistan in thriller
Put some respect on Pat Cummins the captain’s name
Alex Carey, England’s public enemy No.1, is Australia’s hero of this Ashes so far
Carey shows he belongs to the Test level