Having given Australia a tough run in the shorter version games at home when the two teams last met, West Indies would have been confident of performing well in the opposite camp as fell. But, just three games into the series, the wide gulf between the two sides is pretty much evident, with the Caribbeans having lost all the three matches, and with it the series. While the West Indian bowling hasn’t been all that great, it has been the batting that has been the bigger problem, and the chief cause of West Indies’ debacle.
The collapse of the visitors in the opening match, in a sense, set the tone of the series. When any team gets bowled for 70 in the first game of a series, their psyche gets seriously dented, and clearly West Indies did not manage to recover from that early damage. Most of their big names in the batting department have been out of form, which has made the team’s task extremely difficult. Chris Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan are their two most experienced batsmen, but the duo has failed in all the matches played so far. The rest have only been slightly better.
Opener Kieran Powell has got runs in the last two games, but has found little in the form of support. Darren Bravo got a big score in the last match after failing in the first two while his brother Dwayne has got starts in a couple of games, but hasn’t carried on to make a substantial score, which could have had an impact on the result of the matches. The lack of runs from the big-hitting Kieron Pollard has been a significant factor in West Indiesfailing to notch up big scores. Pollard is a game changer, and had he fired in one of those matches, he could have made a severe impact.
Skipper Darren Sammy, who is otherwise a handy bat towards the end of the innings, also hasn’t managed to make an impression. With the leader failing to inspire the side, the Windies have looked even more clueless. As for the bowling, it has been a mixed bag for the visitors. In the opening game at Perth, they could do precious little after their batting unit folded up cheaply. Then, in the second match, also at Perth, they had the Australian batting in severe trouble, but allowed them to escape, with George Bailey making a supreme hundred. At Canberra in the do-or-die game, it all fell apart for the Windies. Shane Watson and Phillip Hughes took to the Caribbean attack and likes of Kemar Roach and co had no answer to the onslaught from the Aussie batsmen.
With the series already lost, West Indies would now be keen to play for some pride. An injured Gayle might not feature in the rest of the series while the woefully out-of-form Sarwan may be dropped. Sammy and his men must look to make some changes in their endeavour to change their fortunes in the upcoming clashes.
--By A Cricket Analyst