Monday, March 09, 2009
Further tales of two Tests#3
At Durban Australia 352 and 3/292 (87 ov, P Hughes 136*, R Ponting 81)v South Africa 138 (57.3 ov, J P Duminy 73*, M Johnson 3/37, A McDonald 3/25). Test #2 Day 3
At Port of Spain England 6/546 dec (158.5 ov, A Strauss 142, P Collingwood 161, M Prior 131*) v West Indies 4/349 (109 ov, C Gayle 100 ret hurt, B Nash 70*, S Chanderpaul 52*) Test # 5 Day 3
Australia in the person of Peter Siddle bowled three balls to South Africa at the start of the day's play at Durban. These were sufficient to take the last two wickets (Graeme Smith remained retired hurt ) without addition to the total.
Australia then batted for 87 overs and lost three wickets for 292. :Phil Hughes scored his second century of the match and became the youngest Test cricketer to do so: he knuckled down and looked even more resolute than he'd done in the first innings. Ricky Ponting played at almost his best for 81/189b (12x4) - almost because he was caught in the deep off his trademark pull shot.
Australia's lead is almost insurmountable, even for a team like the Proteas who have recent form in chasing down large fourth innings totals. The rest of the game looks like becoming something between an attritional battle and a one sided collapse.
At Port of Spain England wrested back some of the initiative when they had the West Indies 4 (probably 5 because Chris Gayle had retired hurt) for 203. Then the left handers Shivnarine Chanderpaul 52*/163b (3x4) and Brendan Nash 70*/167b (12x4) kept their side in the game with an unbroken partnership of 146 for the fifth wicket. The England attack bowled steadily, with Monty Panesar producing more variety than he's done for some time and without a lot of good fortune. Yet they didn't look running through their opponents, despite claiming Ramnaresh Sarwan's wicket cheaply for the first time in the series.
The Windies have only to draw to win the series 1-0. They will therefore be more than happy with a draw. England, despite some professions of optimism eg by Stuart Broad in a post play interview on TV, will need to lift a couple of notches to obtain the result which eluded them in Antigua.