Spotlight on spin twins as Australia struggle on deteriorating pitch
Spin bowler Nathan Lyon will have to trasnform from support role to matchwinner. Photo: AP
The pressure is on Nathan Lyon and Michael Beer to bowl Australia to victory in the second Test after the visitors elected to depart from their tried and test pace formula by picking spin twins on a turning wicket.
The pair should trouble the West Indies batsmen after Shane Shillingford and Narsingh Deonarine extracted enough turn from the Queen's Park Oval pitch to worry Australia's batsmen on the opening day.
While the turn was not sharp due to the sluggishness of the pitch, the wicket is set to deteriorate further as the Test go on, offering more assistance to the slow bowlers.
Lyon and Beer, at the end of only their second season of first-class cricket, have seldom spun their sides to victory at state or international level.
Lyon was named man of the match in his debut Test, against Sri Lanka in September, but has since played merely a supporting role to Australia's in-form pacemen.
Left-armer Beer, better known for his defensive skills, claimed his maiden first-class five-wicket haul earlier this year and has only a modest first-class average of just under 40.
"It also works out well that playing two spinners in these conditions is going to be very important," said vice-captain Shane Watson, who made a vital 56 in Australia's total of 5-208.
"This wicket is quite similar in many ways to some Indian wickets that I have batted on so it’s only going to get worse. The foot marks are only going to dust up and get worse so it was a perfect opportunity to play two spinners and see how they [the West Indies] are able to handle it.
"It's only going to get slower, it's only going to turn more."
Australia last played two frontline spinners in the fourth Test of the 2008 series against India when Jason Krejza and Cameron White played together.
Both teams agree a total of 300 will prove a competitive first-inning target.
The lack of pace in the pitch contributed to Australia's low scoring rate of just 2.31 an over.
"Also the ball was very soft as well from the time I came in," Watson said.
"The ball was softer and was only getting softer through the innings. It made it very hard to score and rotate through the strike with the fields that they sat.
"It's not like we were on the defensive and defending everything. We were looking to score but the way the wicket was and with the way the ball was it was hard to pierce the field.
"There weren't too many loose balls to be able to get through the field as well.
"No doubt if we can get around 300 it will be a good first innings score and the wicket is only going to get worse."