ROSEAU, Dominica, (Reuters) – West Indies off-spinner Shane Shillingford ran through Australia’s middle order on the first day of the third test today before admitting his surprise over how much purchase he gained on his home track.
It is only the second test match to be played in Shillingford’s homeland of Dominica and while no-one knows Windsor Park better than the 29-year-old, he said he was not expecting to get so much bounce and turn so quickly.
“I normally get a good amount of bounce but usually on the second or third day, not on the first. Especially with the amount of spin I got too, that was a little surprising,” he said at the end of day that ended with Australia on 212 for seven.
Shillingford closed with figures of 4-77 from 34 overs and said that the early response from the surface gave him a real boost in dealing with the nerves of being the first Dominican to play a test match on home soil.
“Getting that bounce and turn I started feeling well, I just knew there and then the length and line that I needed to hit,” he said.
“I was a little nervous leading the guys out on to the field but the skipper told me to keep my cool, just play my normal game.
“My entire family was there, it was so exciting to see the fans supporting me, especially seeing my family there.
“I tried to keep my focus because I knew a lot of things would be expected,” he said.
That focus brought him the wickets of Australia opener Dave Warner and the heart of the Australia middle-order – Ricky Ponting, skipper Michael Clarke and Mike Hussey.
“Getting these guys out, those are guys who when they get in score a lot of runs, the likes of Ponting and so on, it’s a real honour,” he said
The bowler’s distant relatives Grayson and Irving Shillingford have a Windsor Park stand named after them and with one still to be named, there has been speculation that the latest test player in the family could also be honoured.
“I don’t know how they go about naming these things, I guess it is after playing test cricket for a while and performing for and representing the country.
“Hopefully if I go and do well… it is something that is in the back of my mind, we will see what happens,” he said.