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By Jelani Beckles- Former Trinidad and Tobago and West Indies fast bowler Tony Gray commended the effort of opening batsman Tagenarine Chanderpaul who was a bright spark in what was a disappointing tour of Australia for West Indies. The regional team lost the two-match Test series 2-0 on Sunday.
Australia won the first Test match at Perth by 164 runs and the second by 419 runs at the Adelaide Oval.
Chanderpaul, son of West Indies legend Shivnarine Chanderpaul, made his debut in the opening Test match.
The left-hander was ready for the occasion scoring 51 in his first innings.
In the second innings, he continued to demonstrate his ability with 45.
In the second Test, Chanderpaul scored 47 and 17 to end the series with 160 runs at an average of 40.
Chanderpaul played confidently at times ending with a strike rate of 47.76 in the series. Only captain Kraigg Brathwaite scored more runs for West Indies in the series as the right-hander made 196 runs at an average of 49.
Before the Test series, Chanderpaul scored 119 and 56 in a practice match against a Prime Minister’s XI.
“First of all Chanderpaul was very impressive…he scored a 50 in his first Test innings in Australia on a bouncy, fast track in Perth,” Gray said.
Gray said hitting a century and a half century in the warm-up match was also a commendable effort.
“That is an absolutely brilliant tour for him because obviously it is his first tour, he is playing in Australia (who is) perhaps the best balanced team in world Test match cricket…they have perhaps the best all-round bowling attack in world cricket at the moment because you have three fast bowlers (Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood) who can be legends at the end of their careers.”
Gray said Australia also have capable all-rounder Cameron Green and the best off-spinner in the world in Nathan Lyon.
“That is a formidable bowling attack on pitches that suit their type of bowling which is an aggressive type, direct bowling. Chanderpaul has done a marvellous job, fantastic job…he has come from slow, low wickets (in the Caribbean and) he has been able to make that mental and technical transition very quickly against a potent bowling attack.”
Gray said Brathwaite showed a patient temperament, but was satisfied that he was more attacking.
Most of the West Indies batsmen struggled during the tour. Gray said their flaws were exposed by Australia.
“The other batsmen clearly (have) technical issues. If you have technical issues you are not going to have confidence especially against the likes of Cummins, Starc and Hazlewood and then you have Cameron (Green)…and then you have the likes of Nathan Lyon.
“The West Indian batsmen, first of all, have to improve on their back foot technique against the faster bowlers. Chanderpaul showed us that type of batting technique like (Brian) Lara had…he (Chanderpaul) had extreme movements so he could pull the ball, he could hook the ball, he can play over point and the rest of batsmen not moving their back foot enough.”
Some of the commentators during the series did not hold back on their comments concerning the performance of the West Indies team.
Former Australian batsman Mark Waugh lambasted the effort of the West Indies bowlers and the effort of the fielders.
“I don’t think there’s any sort of reason behind what they’re doing at the moment. They’re just hoping for a mistake somewhere,” Waugh said during the first Test.
“Just change it up. At the moment it’s far too easy. I’m not sure how they can get him out bowling this…it’s not Test match cricket. This is not Test match quality.”
Gray was not surprised by the comments, saying Australian commentators are “forthright”. (Trinidad and Tobago NewsDay)