I Wasn’t Going To Play, Says Sensational Shamar

(CMC) — Second Test hero Shamar Joseph said he was still in bed nursing a painful toe three hours before the start of the penultimate day’s play at the Gabba and never thought he would take any further part in the contest.

Forced to retire hurt the previous evening after being struck by a Mitchell Starc yorker, the 24-year-old was subsequently cleared of any fracture, but remained in severe pain and was unable to bowl as Australia reached 60 for two at the close of Saturday’s third day.

However, Joseph said team physio Dr Denis Byam instructed him to come to ground instead of remaining at the hotel and following treatment, was able to take the field.

He then destroyed the Aussie innings with a pacy spell of seven for 68, the hosts losing their last eight wickets for 94 runs, as West Indies clinched a nerve-jangling eight-run victory to draw the two-match series 1-1.

“He [Dr Byam] called me this morning. I was in my bed after 11:00 am, the bus [was] leaving at 12:15 pm,” recalled Joseph, who only made his Test debut last week in Adelaide.

“He asked me how I was feeling and I said ‘not well’. [I was] really in pain and all these things.

“And he said ‘come to the ground, I have a reason.’ I didn’t know this was the reason but it was for a good reason, to win the Test match for [my] team.

“I must shout out to him. I am very happy he got me here today and I did well for my team once again.”

West Indies found the breakthrough difficult to come by inside the first three-quarters of an hour, as opener Steve Smith (91 not out) and Cameron Green (42) extended their third-wicket stand to 71, in pursuit of the victory target of 216.

However, Joseph’s introduction changed the trajectory of the chase. He struck in only his second over, bowling Green and Travis Head (0) with consecutive deliveries, before taking the next four to reduce Australia to 187 for eight at lunch.

Alzarri Joseph knocked over Nathan Lyon for nine in the first over after the break before Shamar Joseph removed number 11 Josh Hazlewood’s off-stump without scoring three overs later, to seal West Indies’ first Test win on Australian soil in nearly three decades.

“[The talk in the dressing room] was just positive, that’s all. Just go out there and do it, take wickets after wickets. It was just all positivity,” Joseph said of the mood in the camp before the start of play.

“I was just sticking to the basics, just on top of off-stump. That worked a lot for me throughout this Test, even in the first Test.”

He continued: “I feel like we’ve won the series. Even though it’s 1-1, I feel like we’ve won the entire series with this Test.

“And it’s really amazing for my teammates. I must give another shout out to them, they’re really encouraging and I’m glad I’ve made them proud.

“Tears could’ve come to my eyes [when we won] but I already cried for my five-wicket haul…but it’s just happiness. That’s the emotion coming out here right now.

“I’m just happy we won the Test. When last have we beaten Australia? I can’t even remember. Today is a big day for us and I just want us to enjoy it, celebrate and be happy.”

Joseph, one of seven uncapped players in the touring squad, proved a revelation in the opening Test which West Indies lost by 10 wickets, picking up a five-wicket haul in the first innings.

He managed only a single wicket in the first innings here but his seven-wicket haul in the second carried him to 13 scalps, earning him Man-of-the-Match and Man-of-of-the-Series honours.

“It’s tough but I wasn’t that tired because I wanted to do it for my team,” he explained.

“I told my skipper [Kraigg Brathwaite] I would bowl to the end until the last wicket falls. It doesn’t matter how my toes are, I’m OK. I did it for him and I’m happy that he’s proud of me now.

“Not having a good toe to bowl with, I just [went] through that…pain in that I wanted to do this for my team and my country and everyone in the Caribbean.

“Even down to the supporters here, I must shout out thanks to you guys [for] pushing us and [for] believing in us that we could actually bring this series to 1-1.”

Joseph also hailed the influence of senior bowlers Alzarri Joseph and Kemar Roach.

“Having Alzarri backing me [and] Kemar Roach, all the senior fast bowlers [were] there with me. All I asked was for support and they supported me a lot throughout the game,” he said.

“Even though I was emotional and I was crying, they were tears of joy knowing I would’ve [brought] home this for my team. I had that belief and they believed in me also. They were just tears of joy and happiness.”