Risk-Free Chanderpaul Has Watson Worried
Australia will be watching Shivnarine Chanderpaul's utilitarian stance for vast tracts of this Test series unless the visitors can find a way of forcing him to take uncharacteristic risks, the visitors' vice-captain, Shane Watson, has said.
Like so many touring sides before them, Michael Clarke's team was entirely unable to dislodge Chanderpaul from the crease as he stayed for six-and-a-half hours, while compiling an unbeaten 103, before West Indies captain Darren Sammy declared. Chanderpaul, whose appetite for runs has not yet been sated at the age of 37, underlined his comfort in Barbados by passing Brian Lara as the highest run-scorer in Tests at Kensington Oval.
Watson said Australia had to concoct a method of drawing Chanderpaul out of a mode of batting that was close to risk-free on pitches offering little in the way of steep bounce or sideways movement to the fast bowlers, or sharp turn to the spinners.
"The way he plays, getting back and across and being able to use his hands to get the ball into the gaps, and he does it for such a long period of time, it's hard to actually find a way for him to play a false shot because of the way he's set up for these conditions here," Watson said. "We're going to have to [find a way], because we don't want him to bat for as long as he did [in this innings] through this whole series.
"We'll just have to sit down ... have to find a way to be able to get him to take some type of risk. He's done it [risk-free batting] for such a long period of time and he is a true champion, so we're going to have to bowl really well to him throughout the series to hopefully not let him have as much impact as he did today."
Chanderpaul said his 25th Test century, passing Lara's milestone and contributing towards putting West Indies in a strong position had given him plenty of pleasure.
"I never expected to be the person who had the most runs at Kensington, given I'm a guy from Guyana coming to Barbados. To have the most runs is a hell of an achievement at Kensington," Chanderpaul said. "It's always a very good wicket to bat on once you get in.
"The young fellows, they've come into their own. We've been setting the plans and the goals for the team and they've been working hard towards it. We've all been working hard towards it. I'm happy to see that we actually achieved them today."
Chanderpaul played the silent partner at various times throughout the day, not least when Sammy was clattering 41 either side of a blow to the helmet from Watson. He then shepherded the tail through to the declaration, which did not arrive until all 11 home batsmen had got into double figures. "Whenever Sammy's batting, things are pretty lively," Chanderpaul said. "Look at the partnership. I was looking at it and I thought, 'Geez, I'm not contributing here'.
"We actually set team goals and the team goals were what we were working on. I didn't set any personal goals. The team goals would help us achieve whatever we wanted to achieve individually. What we got on the board was what we set ourselves, guys making sure they bat right through the entire innings."
Sammy's duel with Watson made for a bracing sight, both men exchanging stares in between bouncers, sixes and boundaries. Watson said Sammy's straight six the ball after being struck on the head was a moment of pure nerve. However, he also noted that Sammy had not yet found the knack of building on his aggressive starts.
"No [I've never been hit for six the ball after hitting a batsman before], especially after he took a bit of time to come around," Watson said. "I thought that was the right ball to bowl at that stage - bowling a good-length ball - but he seemed to enjoy it and hit it over my head. It was a good duel, he took it very well and kept going. That's what you expect of an opposition skipper, to really dig in like he did and keep going through. He was struggling a bit after that over. Darren's a very nice guy and a tough competitor as well, it showed a lot of character by him.
"There's no doubt, the way he's batting, he does take a few risks to be able to bat that way. There's always going to be a chance that one shot you won't execute exactly right. We knew that's the way he bats, the way he bats best is when he's taking us on. Let's hope he doesn't find the secret to getting a big one."