Australia’s bowlers landed the psychological blows in Barbados on Tuesday they feel can carry them through the rest of their Test series against the West Indies.
Tasmanian quick Ben Hilfenhaus routed the Windies’ top order in a devastating spell before tea on day four in the first Test at Kensington Oval, claiming three wickets in six balls.
Ryan Harris then delivered a solution to Australia’s biggest stumbling block in the evening session, finding a way to remove Windies’ linchpin Shivnarine Chanderpaul for just 12 with his fifth delivery of the second innings.
Harris believes Hilfenhaus’s spell will leave a mark on young openers Kraigg Brathwaite and Adrian Barath as well as No.3 Kirk Edwards, who all fell across two overs by the right-arm quick.
“Bowling good pace, 140 (km/h) plus outswingers. It’s definitely going to be in the back of their minds,” Harris said.
“That’s what Hilfy does – that’s why he’s playing Test cricket. He’s such a good bowler.
“He can come out and bowl at good pace and he swung them with that breeze.
“If we can show we’re bowling well in these conditions, no matter what conditions we get, and be able to go through their top, we’ve got a pretty good bowling attack so they would be worried.”
As emphatic as Hilfenhaus’s triple strike was, it might be Harris’s dismissal of Chanderpaul that proves a key during the remainder of the series.
The battler from Guyana scored his fifth hundred in seven matches against Australia in the Caribbean in the first innings, ending 103 not out and repelling anything the tourists threw at him with ease.
Harris admitted the wicket had been a particular highlight.
“To get him out second innings for not many was a huge wicket because I think they batted around him a fair bit,” he said.
“If we’re smashing away at that same area over and over again and we do get one to skid through at a bit more pace … that’s what we’re aiming to do.
“If we’re hitting the same spots and being consistent, we know that we can bowl them out.”
Windies’ coach Ottis Gibson denied his young batsmen had lost a psychological edge to Australia’s bowlers but he knows his team must develop a killer instinct of its own.
“We went to India, we were in similar situations and we didn’t learn,” he said.
“We’re dominating top teams but in Test cricket … a bad hour can be the difference between winning and losing.
“We’re still in there fighting but we’re learning all the time.”