Australia look to spin twins in second Test


Australia may employ two specialist spinners for the second Test against the West Indies, which starts on Sunday at the Queen’s Park Oval. Nathan Lyon, who played in the three-wicket victory in Barbados in the first Test, could be partnered by left-arm spinner Michael Beer as the Australians look to wrap up the three-match series.
“Over the last two seasons it’s been relatively low-scoring but also very, very spin-friendly. The temptation to play two spinners could be there,” said Australia coach Mickey Arthur. “You never write that off until you have a look at the conditions. I guess we’ve just got to look at conditions, then decide how best we’re going to get 20 wickets.”
Lyon took just one wicket in the three-wicket win over West Indies in Barbados, while Beer has only played one Test. That was against England in Sydney in January 2011, where his match figures were an embarrassing one for 112. Meanwhile, Arthur praised Michael Clarke after the skipper declared the team’s first innings at 43 runs behind the West Indies before pushing for victory in the Bridgetown gloom on Wednesday.
“I thought it was a great idea and I sort of just backed him on it,” said the coach. “Michael needs to take all the plaudits for that because it was a brave decision that worked out for us.
“Tactically he is very good. He’s very positive, a very aggressive captain and that’s something I really enjoy and something I really like.” The last time that Australia played at Queen’s Park Oval nine years ago, Ricky Ponting was man of the match. He scored 206, his highest Test score at the time, as Australia scored a massive 4-576.
It was a high-scoring match that Australia went on to win by 118 runs. Of the current squad, Ponting is the only one to have played Test cricket at the ground. Preparations were hindered on Friday when afternoon rain meant Australia had to cancel their training session, although the West Indies managed to complete theirs before the rain arrived. The player that the West Indies would surely have loved to have selected is Sunil Narine. The Queen’s Park Oval is his home ground and the off-break variations that allowed him to take 34 first-class wickets at an average of just 11.88 brought him to the attention of the selectors. Unfortunately for the hosts, he won a lucrative Indian Premier League contract and, like Marlon Samuels, is unavailable. Instead, they have called up off-spinner Shane Shillingford, who last played Test cricket in November 2010 before his bowling action was deemed illegal. His 14 Test wickets have cost 56.78 runs apiece but in his only appearance in Port-of-Spain he took 4-27 against South Africa.
The weather could play a part as it did in Barbados, with rain likely at some point over the five days, but it is not likely to dampen the spirits of the locals as they play their steel drums in support of a team that they are starting to believe in once again.
West Indies: Darren Sammy (capt), Kirk Edwards, Adrian Barath, Carlton Baugh, Devendra Bishoo, Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Fidel Edwards, Kieran Powell, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Shane Shillingford
Australia: Michael Clarke (capt), Shane Watson, Michael Beer, Ed Cowan, Peter Forrest, Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus, Michael Hussey, Nathan Lyon, Peter Nevill, James Pattinson, Ricky Ponting, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner
Umpires: Ian Gould (ENG), Marais Erasmus (RSA)
Match referee: Jeff Crowe (NZL)
Third umpire: Tony Hill (NZL).