WI debutant Shamar Joseph dismisses Steve Smith on first ball in Test cricket

‘A picture I’ll post in my house’

Adelaide: Earlier on Wednesday, Shamar Joseph had told his teammates that he was going to pick a wicket off his very first delivery in Test cricket. Bold as the 24-year-old was in his foresight, even he couldn’t have predicted the batsman he’d send back to the pavilion.
Steaming in to bowl from over the wicket, Shamar had already fumbled and abandoned his run up midway through his first attempt. The nerves were jangling, as he’d concede later, “bowling to one of the best batsmen in the Australian team”. And so he went again, this time all the way through and straightening the ball in the corridor of uncertainty to induce an outside edge of Steve Smith that was nabbed at third slip. And off he went, screaming and running about in celebrations, swiftly accompanied by all his teammates at the Adelaide Oval.
“I really love Steve Smith, the way he plays and goes about his cricket. And getting Steve Smith, I’ll remember this for the rest of my life. I will actually take a picture and take it home and post it in my house,” Shamar said at the end of Day 1 of the first Test against Australia.
“If I could have run over (the stands), I would have. It was really a joy for me,” he added.
Even before his first day in Test cricket, which also saw him score 36 off 41 in his first innings, Shamar’s story is worth taking note of. Born in Baracara, on the banks of the winding Canje River in Guyana and only accessible through a five-hour boat ride, Shamar hadn’t even played a first-class match until February last year. Working a 12-hour shift as a security guard, he took a punt on cricket only 18 months back.
“It wasn’t financially stable, but you never miss a meal a day because you go fishing, [and] you plant your greens,” Shamar said of his life in Baracara. “So starvation wasn’t on our list. But you have to work to maintain yourself and your family. So growing up in Baracara, it’s a beautiful place. You will never suffer in Baracara because there’s always an easy life to make up there.”
Cut to Wednesday, where he went on to not just have Steve Smith fishing outside off, but nabbed Marnus Labuschagne as well. A sharp bouncer at 141 KPH had Labuschagne take the bait, go for a hook, only to find the fielder at fine leg. Did it feel as good as that first wicket though?
“No, not at all,” Shamar said. “Getting Steve Smith is always the biggest dream.”
Earlier in the day, the number 11 had also emerged as an unlikely protagonist with the bat for the Windies – their second highest run scorer in the first innings, feasting on four boundaries that included a six off Josh Hazlewood.
“That was amazing for me,” he said afterwards. “Hitting Josh for a six is really good for me. I think he’s really consistent. He’s the most consistent bowler I have ever faced so far in my career. So hitting him for a six motivated me a lot. I think I could hit any bowler now.”

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