West Indian cricket reached an all-time low as they were smashed for an incredible 438-3 on day one of the Test against Australia in Hobart.
But more telling, say commentators, was the apathy which the West Indians showed in the field.
Jesse Hogan, correspondent for The Age, wrote: ‘At least one fielder used a boot to stop the ball rather then bending down, pacemen collectively overstepped 11 times, players dawdled through and between overs to the extent they bowled only 40 overs in the first two sessions despite 15 of them being spin, and experienced wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin let a regulation delivery from Kemar Roach slip through his hands for four byes. All of these screamed of a team that knew they were beaten even before the first ball was delivered.’
‘The worst fears about the West Indies being cannon fodder this summer have been realised on the first day of their series against Australia,’ wrote Chris Barrett of the Sydney Morning Herald.
And such was their awful over rate that West Indies captain Jason Holder declined the new ball late in the day so his part-time spinners could race through a few overs. It was quantity, not quality, and they still fell one over short.
The Australians’ total was based on an unbroken stand of 317 between Adam Voges (174) and and Shaun Marsh (139), Australia’s third-highest of all time against West Indies, for any wicket. Australia’s run rate had hovered above five an over nearly all day, and only as they blocked out the final few overs before stumps did it dip down 4.9.
It was not only in Australia that the runs flowed: New Zealand amassed 409-8 on day one against Sri Lanka. It was a match also noted for the fact that Brendon McCullum equalled AB de Villiers’ record for the most number of consecutive Tests since debut: 98.
McCullum celebrated by smashing 75 off 57 balls, while Martin Guptill made his third Test hundred (157), his first in 40 innings since November 2011 and Kane Williamson added an effortless 88.