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Monday, December 07, 2009

Masterful captain's innings keeps initiative with West Indies, but where to from here?

West Indies 451 and 8/284 (93ov, C Gayle 155*) lead Australia 438 by 296 runs with 2 second inns wickets in hand: T2 D4 at Adelaide.

Today was overcast. At one point it rained near the Bradman Stand but fortunately didn't extend far enough onto the playing area to interrupt play and Chris Gayle's masterful innings which kept the possibility of a victory for his team alive.

Gayle's 155/271b (1x6, 16x4) included several shots from his limited overs repertoire but the dominant theme was prudent accumulation. Channel 9's wagon wheel (replayed by Foxtel in the late night highlights) showed strokes all round the wicket. The next highest score was Shiv Chanderpaul's 27, though several other players supported Gayle in 50+ partnerships, which kept the total advancing, if not always a rapidly as a side more confident of pushing for victory might have wished.

The Australian bowling, an occasionally petulant Doug Bollinger excepted, lacked hostility and penetration until late in the day when Shane Watson bowled a good spell and Mitchell Johnson rediscovered his touch. Peter Siddle and Watson were not fully fit but the spinners couldn't match Sulieman Benn's menace.

I was disappointed to hear West Indian broadcaster Fazeer Mohammed suggest that the West Indies, given their recent record in Test cricket, will be satisfied with a draw. If this is so it will be a shame. Not only will will suck the interest out of D5 but it will surrender the Frank Worrell Trophy.

Of course, victory isn't guaranteed, as the Windies attack is limited (and Benn was hit on the foot by a sandshoe crusher when he batted today) and the Australian batting still quite strong, so a draw looks the likeliest result. So why shouldn't the visitors continue to give it their best shot?


Update 10 December

A wagon wheel of Chris Gayle (and every other player's) innings can be found here

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