WI pace battery brings back old memories
Fidel Edwards and Daren Powell bowl with real hostility to take two wickets each as Australia slump to 17 for four on the third day of the first test.cricket Updated: May 26, 2008 11:30 IST
For an hour on Saturday at Sabina Park, West Indies cricket took a step back in time.
Fidel Edwards and Daren Powell bowled with real hostility to take two wickets each as Australia slumped to 17 for four on the third day of the first test.
Racing in accompanied by roars from the crowd and hurling down deliveries with accuracy and aggression, it was impossible not to recall another era when fast bowlers from the Caribbean dominated the game.
Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith, Andy Roberts and Michael Holding, Joel Garner and Malcolm Marshall, and Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose -- each great West Indian team had a fearsome pace attack.
Batsmen were apprehensive about tours of West Indies knowing full well that they would face a near non-stop onslaught of pace and a barrage of bouncers.
Since Walsh and Ambrose retired, West Indies have lacked a really potent attack and that has been a major factor behind the decline of cricket in the Caribbean.
But now with Edwards, Powell and Jerome Taylor, who is missing this test with a back injury, local fans at last have bowlers they can appreciate -- even if they have yet to replicate the exploits of earlier generations.
"From our point of view we saw the best spell of fast bowling that two bowlers have produced together for quite some time. It was a spectacular end to the day," West Indies' Australian coach John Dyson said.
Edwards has been in excellent form, following up his five-wicket display against Sri Lanka in Trinidad with another five-wicket haul.
The Barbadian has removed Australia's openers cheaply in both innings and produced some of the fastest and most accurate bowling of his career.
But what was more surprising in Saturday's hour of hell for Australia's batsmen was the performance of Powell.
The Jamaican has rarely been able to turn his pace into real effective wicket-taking and his 67 test victims have come at an average of 46.05, disappointing statistics for someone who has been a regular feature in the side.
But Powell has always had ability and on Saturday he produced a pearl of a delivery which left the batsman late to get the prized wicket of Australia captain Ricky Ponting and another to bowl Michael Hussey.
"I think that's the best spell I've seen him bowl since I've been here," said Dyson. "Darren bowls some great stuff and I've felt over the last few matches he's bowled unluckily, he's bowled some really good balls that blokes have just missed or somehow just missed the stumps.
"In almost all that he's bowled a bit of rubbish as well, but he does bowl some extremely good quick deliveries. Here he didn't bowl any rubbish, he bowled with good pace and he got the results," added the coach.
"He always puts it in. Daren puts it in training and in the matches, so you feel happy for him that he's got a few wickets."