Gabba wicket under fire for a different reason as Windies say pressure now Aussie batters to perform


A record West Indies partnership has the tourists believing after an even day one at the Gabba, but Australian quick Mitchell Starc was having flashbacks to a day-night Test run-fest. 

The second Test is poised nicely thanks to a surprise fightback from the hosts, who will resume on Friday at 8-266 after falling to 5-64 following their decision to bat first on Thursday.

Starc said the pace at which the pink ball became soft on the hard Gabba surface had triggered memories of the venue’s maiden day-night Test against Pakistan in December 2016.

He took seven wickets in that Test, including four in the fourth innings as Pakistan batted for 145 overs and fell 40 short in their chase of 490.

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Their total of 450 was the third-biggest of all-time by any team and came after they’d mustered just 142 in the first innings.

(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

“The ball is what it is; I think it comes down to the wicket, which I think Adelaide has got right,” he said of the South Australian venue that’s hosted day-night Tests most years since 2015.

The Gabba ground staff shaved the last remnants of green grass from the square ahead of play on Thursday, keen to avoid a repeat of last summer’s two-day Test against South Africa that left the pitch with a “below average” rating from the ICC. 

“We know the ball goes soft at certain stages depending on the wicket,” Starc said. 

“I think is pretty similar to the game where we played Pakistan where the pink ball went soft very early.

“There wasn’t much in it for the bowlers. It feels like a similar wicket where it is too firm for the pink ball. I think it would be a fantastic red-ball wicket, but probably too firm for the pink ball.”

Windies keeper Joshua Da Silva has other ideas.

The pink ball does funny stuff,” he said.  “It may not have not done much today but it does funny stuff at times. You never know what could happen.”

The writing was on the wall after a West Indies squad lacking many of their biggest names was beaten by 10 wickets before lunch on day three of the Adelaide series opener.

But wicketkeeper Josh Da Silva (79) and No.5 Kavem Hodge (71), in his second Test, put on 149 to turn the match into a contest.

“We showed we are here to fight,” Da Silva said of the Australian summer’s longest partnership in terms of balls faced. 

“We want to show people that the West Indies are still here and we deserve to be here.”

They bowled the hosts out for 283 in Adelaide earlier this month and Da Silva believes they now have a total to put pressure on an Australian top-four without an individual century-maker among them this summer.

“Definitely. We have runs on the board and having them in the field for the whole day is tiring,” he said. 

“To keep them out there was nice and to have them come back tomorrow and bowl again and have to strap on their boots is really solid for us.”

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