John­son spells trou­ble for Ki­wis on lively WACA

W Indies beat S Lanka to tie T20 se­ries

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

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

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