Young Windies quick Shamar Joseph impressed with his raw pace on day two at Karen Rolton Oval
Shamar Joseph, the uncapped and unlikely fast bowler from a remote rural village in Guyana, revived flickering memories of West Indies quicks from past eras in an impressive maiden outing on Australia soil.
Barely a year after making his first-class debut having made the decision to leave his family and pursue cricket as potentially a professional career, Joseph is poised to partner a bowling hero Kemar Roach and namesake (though no relation) Alzarri Joseph in the first Test starting next Wednesday.
He was the fastest and most threatening of a West Indies attack in which 35-year-old Roach (2-23) and vice-captain Alzarri Joseph (2-28) were prominent as the visitors ripped through a CA XI's top-order in a devastating post-lunch spell.
"He's fantastic, he gets it through well," West Indies keeper-batter Joshua Da Silva said of the paceman who has almost literally come from nowhere.
"He just has a bit of pace, man."
The CA outfit, comprising mostly young prospects with little first-class experience, lost six wickets inside an hour either side of lunch to be bowled out for 174, with the raw but regularly dangerous Joseph pushing for a place at Adelaide Oval next week with 2-40 from 10 entertaining overs.
However, the visitors' optimism after their best session with the ball for quite some time in Australia was tempered by the failure of likely Test batters Tagenarine Chanderpaul (0), Kirk McKenzie (9) and Alick Athanaze (15) in the final hours of a hot day.
Of greatest disappointment was the demise of Chanderpaul in the innings' opening over, given he was a rare shining light for his team in their two-Test campaign here last summer, who fended limply to slip from a ball he might well have let go.
Of greater promise was the polished half-century from Da Silva who was promoted to open in the second innings of a game that is essentially glorified centre-wicket practice, and another tidy knock from Kavem Hodge who also seems certain to debut in next week's NRMA Insurance Test after posting 52 on day one.
The pair carried West Indies to 3-137 at stumps holding an overall lead of 214 with a day to play, although with 35C forecast for Adelaide tomorrow suggests it's likely both skippers will agree to call a halt well before the scheduled time for stumps tomorrow.
In addition to his admiration for current bowling partner Roach, Joseph revealed he was inspired by watching video clips of former West Indies fast bowling greats even though his home village of Baracara did not have a telephone network or internet coverage until 2018.
"I was intrigued by a lot of fast bowlers back then Curtly (Ambrose) and Courtney Walsh and these men so I followed them and I really love it, because that worked for me," the father of two sons, aged two and four months, said after day two at Karen Rolton Oval.
"I watched cricket highlights a lot, great things worked for them back then and I think that could help me in my game moving forward in my career.
"It's amazing for me, to be honest.
"I put in a lot of work back at home and now getting the reward for it.
"I'm just ready to go, always ready to fight the war ahead of me."
Joseph's road to a potential Test debut is even more unlikely than the prospects of the West Indies upsetting reigning world champions Australia to land their first win here since 1997.
The 24-year-old grew up in Baracara, the only 'maroon' village (settlements established by escapees from the African slave trade) in Guyana where he lived with his family of five brothers and three sisters.
Despite Baracara's isolation, young Shamar was obsessed with cricket and played tape-ball games in the village to avoid household chores including the unloading of 'cabbage boats' that transport palm hearts along the Canje River from the dense Guyanese inland to the port of New Amsterdam, 110km south of the nation's capital Georgetown.
The village, which hosts a primary school but no secondary education, is only accessible via a 225km boat trip up the Canje River in Berbice that can take up to two days due to thick vegetation strangling the waterways.
Baracara boasts minimal cricket pedigree with the population of around 350 utilising local fruits such as guava, lemons and limes as substitutes for balls in impromptu games, and Joseph's first club was Tucber Park in New Amsterdam where WI white-ball representative Romario Shepherd played.
Joseph never came to the attention of selectors for Guyana's under-age development teams and it was only last year that he made his first-class debut in the regional four-day competition, before earning a contract in the Caribbean Premier League T20 tournament after being drafted in as a net bowler.
With just a handful of first-class and List A appearances last year, the lithely fit right-armer was named in the West Indies A squad that toured South Africa at year's end, where he claimed 12 wickets at 21 in two games against South Africa A including 5-76 in the second innings at Bloemfontein.
Despite a stature significantly smaller than the towering quicks of the West Indies heyday, Joseph generates speeds of up to 140kph with a deceptively quick bouncer that tends to skid on due to his lower release point.
But while his bounce caused some issues for the CA XI batters on a pitch that had exhibited more 'tennis ball' elevation on day one, his first wicket came when he pitched full to opener Jayden Goodwin who edged a hesitant drive to keeper Da Silva.
That breakthrough loomed as the visitors' sole success for the morning session having declared at their overnight score of 8-251 in the spirit of the informal practice game, until left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie had the CA XI's other opener Tim Ward snapped up at slip from the final delivery before the break.
Ward had looked solid from the time he pulled the first ball of the day, a short-pitched loosener from veteran Roach, to the backward square leg fence and added a further six boundaries in reaching 50 on the cusp of lunch from 85 balls faced.
However, when he aimed an expansive drive at a wide ball floated up by Motie and sliced to slip it triggered a remarkable collapse in which CA lost 6-22 in the space of seven overs.
It was Shamar Joseph who set the carnage in motion with his first over after lunch.
After a confident but unsuccessful lbw shout against Teague Wyllie, he followed up by gainging late in-swing and further movement off the pitch to spear through the WA batter's defence and rattle middle and off stumps.
Next over, Roach bounced out Queensland's Jack Clayton whose attempted pull shot took a top edge into his helmet before looping to gully, then the veteran quick snared the prized scalp of CA XI captain Peter Handscomb who squirted a yorker-length ball delivered from wide on the crease to floating fourth slip.
In the course of less than five overs either side of lunch, the bulk of the hosts' top-order were sent back for the addition of 16 runs.
That implosion became even more dire when keeper Jake Doran, who was absent from day one's proceedings due to illness, miscued a pull that was neatly caught by Roach diving full-length at mid-wicket and Liam Scott fended a short ball from Alzarri Joseph to slip.
From 7-116, the CA XI scrambled to 174 with the remaining wickets shared by seamers Akeem Jordan and Justin Greaves, as well as spinner Kevin Sinclair
With a lead of 77 on a pitch that offered some assistance but held few demons, the West Indies began their second innings hoping to get some batting time into those who had missed out on day one.
But the familiar clatter of early wickets put paid to that plan before Da Silva and Hodge's unbeaten 78-run stand.
Main image credit: @windiescricket
NRMA Insurance Test series v West Indies
Tour match: January 10-13, Karen Rolton Oval (10.30am AEDT)
First Test: January 17-21, Adelaide Oval (10.30am AEDT)
Second Test: January 25-29, Gabba (3pm AEDT)
Australia Test squad: Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc
West Indies Test squad: Kraigg Brathwaite (c), Alzarri Joseph (vc), Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Kirk McKenzie, Alick Athanaze, Kavem Hodge, Justin Greaves, Joshua DaSilva, Akeem Jordan, Gudakesh Motie, Kemar Roach, Kevin Sinclair, Tevin Imlach, Shamar Joseph, Zachary McCaskie
Men's Dettol ODI Series v West Indies
Australia ODI squad: Steve Smith (c), Travis Head (vc), Sean Abbott, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Aaron Hardie, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Glenn Maxwell, Lance Morris, Jhye Richardson, Matt Short, Adam Zampa
February 2: MCG, 2.30pm AEDT
February 4: SCG, 2.30pm AEDT
February 6: Manuka Oval, Canberra 2.30pm AEDT
Men's Dettol T20I Series v West Indies
February 9: Blundstone Arena, Hobart 7.00pm AEDT
February 11: Adelaide Oval, 7pm AEDT
February 13: Perth Stadium, 7pm AEDT