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Friday, December 18, 2009

Bowlers' turn

Australia 7/520 dec @ 8/137 (47ov) lead West Indies 312 (81 ov, C Gayle 102, T Dowlin 55, D Bollinger 5/70) by 345 runs with 2 second inns wkts in hand: T3 D3 at Perth.

On the first two days 9 wickets fell for 634 runs. Day 3 was bowlers' day for both teams as 16 went down for 235 (WI losing 8/98, Aust 8/137).

The West Indies batting collapse was reminiscent of the First Test so didn't come entirely out of the blue. The pitch played a few tricks, and will probably get worse, but the batting after Chris Gayle's dismissal lacked the technique and apparently (Brendan Nash excepted) the determination to tough it out. Which made their revival with the ball, pitch assistance notwithstanding, all the more surprising. All the bowlers performed with the livewire Dwayne Bravo 3/34 from 15 overs outstanding and Sulieman Benn 2/26 from 9 .

What about Australia? Doug Bollinger deserved his 5 wickets, while Nathan Hauritz persisted well. he didn't extract as much spin as did Benn but his accuracy and variation were better. Of the batting the less said the better, though I will say how troubled Ricky Ponting looked when he came to the crease at no9 with the total 125. His elbow injury must be serious for him to hold himself back so far: it was the heart rather than the head which influenced this decision, just as it was the head which made him decide against enforcing the follow on.

Good as it was to see the Windies revival I think that when several factors, including the condition of the pitch and the inconsistency of their batting, are weighed up Australia should be able to win from here. Of course if there was another blinder from Gayle...or solid knocks from a few others...

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