Alex Carey takes six catches in second Test, analysis, highlights, reaction, video

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One year ago, Alex Carey’s place in the Australian Test side was very much up for debate.

Catches went down, and when they didn’t, they often went between him and David Warner at first slip. Making matters worse, the runs didn’t flow off the bat either.

For a nation rocked by the revelations surrounding Tim Paine’s texting scandal, Australia was restless and agitated with their wicket-keeper. Meanwhile, Josh Inglis, a man anointed by Ricky Ponting as someone special, was waiting in the wings carrying the drinks.

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Carey’s battles continued in the first Test in Pakistan, where more catches were spilt. But back-to-back half-centuries in Karachi and Lahore stopped the talk.

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But after the difficulties of his first series against England, Carey is starting to look at home behind the stumps as he played a starring role during Australia’s crushing 419-run victory over the West Indies.

Carey, 31, delivered the defining moments on a rapid-fire fourth and final day on Sunday. Blink and you would have missed it.

Standing up to the stumps off medium-fast bowler Michael Neser, Carey took not one but two terrific catches to ensure Australia will be well rested ahead of Saturday’s first Test opener against the Proteas.

Alex Carey celebrates after taking a catch at Adelaide Oval. Photo Getty Images

Alex Carey took six catches against the West Indies at Adelaide Oval on December 11, 2022. Photo: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

His first effort to remove Roston Chase was out of this world, as the right-hander got a thick outside edge that didn’t go cleanly it the gloves and bobbled around before the South Australian managed to hold on.

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“You have no idea how good that is. I promise you,” former New Zealand wicket-keeper Ian Smith said on Fox Cricket.

“Okay, there was an element of luck … but it was just the way it was thought out and it came to pass.

“He takes an absolute screamer here. Because it was his initiative to do just that (come up to the stumps), it was a huge deflection. That is a wonderfully thought-out dismissal and wonderfully executed.

“That is a really top-drawer piece of cricket.”

The beauty of the cricket was that Chase, who had tried to counter the movement off the deck by standing outside his crease, had been forced to move back inside his crease.

Neser pitched the ball a tad fuller and he brought about the edge.

Soon after the Queensland quick did it again, as he caught the edge of Joshua Da Silva, who had looked confident and competent.

Carey caught the ball as clean as a whistle, showing the soft hands he had been practising when Fox Cricket’s Mark Howard interview him ahead of day two.

“This is sensational. How good,” Smith said following the second catch. “As a former wicketkeeper, you just sit back and admire this. This is terrific cricket.”

After Travis Head spilled a relatively straight forward catch off Nathan Lyon at bat pad, Carey plucked another ball out of thin air as he dived across one-handed and snaffled Marquino Mindley for a duck to end the game.

“Startling wicket-keeping to finish off an all-out trouncing,” Smith concluded, as Carey took his sixth catch for the innings and ninth of the Test.

While Carey’s form will be important against South Africa, his brilliant display by the stumps, which came after a gorgeous 41 not out in the first-innings on day two, is important because it was the type of performance that should give him the confidence – and silence and further talk about his place in the side – ahead of next February’s tour of India.

India is one of the toughest tests for a wicket-keeper in the world and it is not the place someone wants to go when they’re not on top of their game. After all, opportunities are like gold in the sub-continent.

For Australia, the decision to back Carey could be about to pay dividends.

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