Johnson spells trouble for Kiwis on lively WACA
W Indies beat S Lanka to tie T20 series
PERTH: Mitchell Johnson’s fearsome reputation on what has been termed the fastest pitch on the planet looms as a big threat to New Zealand chasing a series-levelling win in Friday’s second Test in Perth. Johnson ranks second only to Glenn McGrath (52) for most wickets taken at the pacey WACA ground and along with fellow left-arm quick Mitchell Starc represents a hostile new-ball attack for the Australians. COLOMBO: Dwayne Bravo grabbed four wickets as the West Indies defeated Sri Lanka by 23 runs to draw their two-match Twenty20 international series in Colombo yesterday.
The visitors’ victory at the R. Premadasa Stadium ensured the West Indies finished their tour of Sri Lanka on a positive note after losing both the one-day international and Test series.
West Indies won the toss and opted to bat, scoring 162-6. Johnson Charles and Denesh Ramdin top-scored with 34 runs each while Bravo notched 31 as the tourists amassed a decent total.
Left-arm spinner Milinda Siriwardana and captain Lasith Malinga were the star bowlers for Sri Lanka, taking two wickets each for only 17 and 16 runs respectively. But the West Indies’ bowling display was
Steve Smith’s team are coming off a resounding 208-run first Test win at Brisbane’s Gabba, which also ranks among world cricket’s fastest pitches.
WACA groundskeeper Matt Page is promising a pitch conducive for the speedsters and given New Zealand’s indifferent bowling performance in Brisbane, where they leaked 820 runs for just eight wickets, it spells trouble for the Kiwis. “There will be some pace and bounce for the quick guys, absolutely. We’ll see a result,” Page told reporters this week. Johnson has taken 42 wickets at an average of 20.19 in his six Test matches at the WACA, with his finest moment coming in 2008 when he snared a career-best eight for 61 against South Africa.
Smith, who is fast putting his stamp on the Australian team he inherited this year from Michael Clarke, is demanding more from his quick despite the Brisbane mauling, which was spearheaded by twin centuries from man of the match David Warner.
“I thought our new ball bowling needs a bit of improvement. I thought we bowled a little bit too short,” Smith said.
“I think that is going to be important for us leading into Perth, which are probably going to be similar conditions.” The WACA pitch still has to be assessed but both sides may be tempted to go with four pacemen, although off-spinner Nathan Lyon is a key member of the Australian attack. The Kiwis will have to make a decision on the availability of pace spearhead Tim Southee, who bowled only in the first innings in Brisbane because of back problems.
“I thought Tim started to come right pretty quickly which is a good sign,” Kiwi skipper Brendon McCullum said. “We’ll give him every chance. He’s one of our leaders, an outstanding bowler and he showed in the first innings he will pose a lot of questions for them.”
Neil Wagner, who was called up as cover for Southee, is confident the tourists can do some intimidating of their own.—AFP even more impressive with right-arm medium pacer Bravo putting in a man of the match performance that saw him take 4-28.
Ravi Rampaul, who was one of two changes to the West Indies side following their defeat to Sri Lanka in the first T20 on Monday, also impressed with three wickets. Sri Lanka’s Tillakaratne Dilshan notched his second half century of the week, recording 52, but a collapse of the host’s middle and lower batting order meant the West Indies avoided a tour whitewash. “We were desperate to get this win,” said West Indies’ captain Darren Sammy.
Sri Lanka swept the three-match oneday international series 3-0 and also won the preceding Test series without loss, taking it 2-0. They then won the first T20 in Pallekele by 30 runs before yesterday’s defeat resulted in 1-1 draw. — AFP
COLOMBO: Sri Lankan cricketer Tillakaratne Dilshan (R) plays a shot as West Indies wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin looks on during the second and final T20 International cricket match between Sri Lanka and the West Indies at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo yesterday. — AFP