Shane Shillingford celebrated becoming the first Dominican to play Test cricket in his home country in style on Monday as the West Indies off-spinner took four wickets on the opening day of the third and final Test against Australia at Windsor Park.
Australia finished the day on 212 for seven, in some trouble after winning the toss. They only need a draw to take the series having won the first Test in Barbados.
It was an unforgettable day for 29-year-old Shillingford as, getting bounce out of the pitch, he bowled an uninterrupted spell of 24 overs and finished with 4-77.
He claimed the scalps of David Warner (50), Ricky Ponting (23), Michael Clarke (24) and Mike Hussey (10).
“These guys are guys, who once they get in, score a lot of runs. Getting these guys out is a real honor for me,” Shillingford said. “I normally get a good amount of bounce, but on the second or third day. On the first day, especially with the spin I got, it was a little surprising, but [when] I started getting that, I started feeling well.”
Shillingford could barely believe how the day had gone for him.
“I started off walking the guys onto the field. The skipper told me to keep my cool, play my normal game, and from there I started feeling better and all the excitement came,” he said. “I’ve never got a five-wicket haul in Test cricket. Coming up against Australia, I have a chance to get one, so it’s definitely something I want do, especially playing at home.”
The morning session yielded just one wicket thanks to Ravi Rampaul.
On his return to the side after a bout of dengue fever and a subsequent shoulder injury, Rampaul’s second delivery came back into Ed Cowan, who did not play a shot and the ball struck him on the pad trapping him leg before wicket.
Warner and Watson prevented any more wickets falling before lunch, but they were hindered by an outfield which slowed the ball down — only 16 boundaries were hit during the day.
They put together a partnership of 83, before Watson struck a pull shot off Darren Sammy in the air to backward square-leg, where Narsingh Deonarine ran in and took the catch.
The West Indies were now making far more use of the short ball. Another one from Sammy caught Warner on the helmet behind his left ear as he missed another hook shot and he had to receive some treatment.
Shillingford, operating from the Billy Doctrove End, snapped up the prized wicket of the stubborn Warner for 50.
Shillingford’s delivery seemed to surprise Warner and all he could do was paddle it straight to cover, where Kieran Powell took the catch.
Warner said that it had been frustrating batting on the pitch.
“In Australia, it’s coming onto the bat a lot easier,” Warner said. “They’re running away for four, especially in Perth, it’s only basically [the] Adelaide Oval and the MCG where you really have to run for your shots.”
“We’ve just got to work on getting our ones and twos, and the boundaries aren’t going to come,” he said. “I was hitting good shots to mid-off, but they weren’t going anywhere off the square because it seemed a little dusty surface where the ball doesn’t kick on, where in Australia it skids off the square.”
The bounce that Shillingford was finding caused problems for Ponting too, though he did manage to battle his way to 23 and become the second-highest run scorer in Test cricket, passing Rahul Dravid’s 13,288.