THE EDITOR: Australia is not my favourite cricket team but that does not prevent me from admiring their ability to fight and grind it out in the face of overwhelming odds.
On the first morning of the recent Test against England, they were floundering at 122 for 8 about an hour after lunch on the first day. But in a masterly display of batsmanship, Steve Smith gave a clinic on how to bat with tailenders, adding 88 for the ninth wicket with Peter Siddle (44) and 74 with last man Nathan Lyon (12 not out).
From the precarious 122 for 8, Australia rallied to 284 all out, with Smith scoring 144.
In their reply, England was comfortably placed at 282 for 4, collapsed to 300 for 8, then the tail wagged a bit to reach 374, a lead of 90.
In their second turn at the crease, Australia lost three wickets before overcoming the deficit of 90. Three of their top batsmen were back in the pavilion with no runs on the board.
But another masterclass by Smith (142), ably supported by Matthew Wade (110) and others saw Australia declaring at 487 for 7, giving England a victory target of 398.
They crumbled for 146 all out, without so much as a whimper, thanks to Lyon (6 for 49) and Pat Cummins (4 for 32). Australia won by a massive 251 runs.
And I thought, if only our West Indian cricketers could show that desire for a battle like Australia, and not surrender meekly when the chips are down.
Australia scripted victory from an almost hopeless position. We make it a habit to lose from seemingly impregnable positions. Clearly, the problem is not ability, it’s attitude.
Our cricketers achieved much more when they played for little money but with abundant pride. Now that they are well paid, is it too much to ask them to represent us with pride, to show they are really “proud to be West Indian?”