A new Test series for a grand trophy which although lost for a spell after the Windies relinquished ownership of it in the mid 1990's, still bears the name of one of cricket's finest gentlemen and the first to weld together the disparate elements of nations who constitute the West Indies cricket team. Oh, if only a Frank Worrell could be found today or even his lanky left-handed ghost, the bespectacled Clive Lloyd. Alas, it is a giant showpony with designer affectations - possibly the love child of Brian Lara and Viv Richards - who tosses the coin. I apologise but I can't bring myself to say he leads.
Today was Australia's, with five of the top order scoring runs and all of them upset at not scoring more. Katich was the best of them and Ponting showed enough superb strokes to indicate he'll score heavily against this opponent but with the sort of worrying moments in between as happens to an aging champion. Clarke should be chief among the disappointed.
Hussey is back and he'll have easy pickings to ensure his further daliance, although truth be known, his characteristic fighting century at the last gasp against England was what the selectors had been hanging out for in much the same way as they had sweated blood over Mark Taylor ten years earlier. He was studied poise today and it was a surprise he left earlier than he needed.
North will score a century tomorrow as long as the tail lives up to its ability. This West Australian has an insatiable appetite for runs and an even greater hunger to "be involved" in every minute of every Test day. Have you known a Sandgroper who didn't? they are rugged manly men these collections of testosterone from beyond the Nullarbor. His is the new blood which will invigourate this aging side.
Shane Watson was trapped in front again. That's nine times in eighteen Test innings or every second dismissal. In his last eight innings since the first Test against the Kiwis at this same ground twelve months ago, he's been lbw six times in the process of scoring 246 at 30.75. Now, I may be wrong but wouldn't that indicate a flaw in his technique?
Isn't Phillip Hughes, that bright shining star of someone else's future, back playing Shield cricket and but still scoring runs like a fat banker has lunches. Isn't he excluded from this level because of a flawed technique, in his case, against the short ball - a flawed technique that has bought 472 at 52.44 and centuries in each innings at Kingsmead which helped Austraia to a stunning series win. A flawed technique which caused only three of his nine walks back to the sheds in the Baggy Green. Isn't he the same little bloke who went to the land of the Saturday bath and flogged county bowlers to every point a wagon wheel pencil could draw, only to be discarded after three innings in a series which has become renowned for the quality of the Australian selection policy?
You know, I think he is!
So why then is S Watson still opening for ducks and standing caught in the lbw crossfire by bowlers from three different Test playing states?
Clearly, he has a better bum when seen naked and in black and white. My wife says so and she has as much creedence as Andrew Hilditch. More actually, because she's never wrong!
Ah, I remember when double standards we vague accusations you threw when you had no facts. Andrew and the rest of the beer stained mumblers have put an end to that. They've made double standards an art form and so they should. After all, the Chairman is a solicitor.
As much as could be made out, the West Indies toiled today. A lovely word which really means we think you are crap but at least you didn't wave the white flag. Several of them were actually impressive and if placed on a deck which doesn't resemble the Gold Coast Freeway, they may prove difficult and at least make the Australians work for their runs and perhaps even fight for their wickets. Roach was very good and Bravo, Rampaul and Benn each had moments, although Benn holds the most danger as he's a left arm Greek orthodox bowler and Australians traditionally find their type difficult. Bring back Ray Bright I say and let him be a specialist coach. If we can have a Coolie coach the China dolls in our bowling lineup, Mr Perpetual Tourist should be a special to teach our batsmen how to play left arm spinners. Perhaps then we might determine how Brad Hodge first caught Bright's disease.
On a responsive wicket, these Windies "toilers" could roll the Aussies for sub 300.
As in most Tests, we won't know how the wicket is playing until both sides have bowled.
For today, both sides worked hard but Australia's better skills and more experience have them in control.