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Friday, April 20, 2012

Always going to be a draw but West Indies have better of short D5: T2

Australia 311 & 8/160 dec (61.5 ov, Ponting 41, Roach 5/41)  drew with West Indies 257 & 2/53 (11ov): T2/3 D5/5 at Port of Spain. Australia lead series 1-0 (and retain Frank Worrell Trophy)

Australia struggled against the West Indies attack, to which all the frontline bowlers contributed, with Kemar Roach the standout with 18-5-41-5, which gave him 10 for the match and the Player of the Match award

But a word of praise for Fidel Edwards whose one wicket was the prize one, Ricky Ponting, caught at deep square mistiming his trademark pull shot early in the day's play for 41/85b (3x4).

When Michael Clarke was sharply caught and bowled by his opposite number Darren Sammy for 15 Australia were 5/95 and looking a little shaky (and giving me cause to think whether my prediction of a draw was a little rash). But Michael Hussey and Matthew Wade steadied things, adding 50 before a late flurry of wickets preceded a declaration setting West Indies 215 to win from a possible 59 overs.

As it turned out only 11 of those 59 could be bowled, during which Sammy, promoting himself to no 3 played a T20 style cameo of 30*/26 b (1x6, 4x4) which made victory seem at least possible (even though Ben Hilfenhaus had both openers - Kieran Powell  as he'd done in the first innings opting not to review a decision which may have saved - out cheaply).

While Australia looked to be in control for most of the match West Indies kept in there and wouldn't have found some positives about their performance. But as their coach, Ottis Gibson, said (stating the obvious) they are prone to some very poor periods of play, often an hour or so. Australia are far from on top of their game: the bowling has been OK (though both Peter Siddle and James Pattinson are injured and will miss the final Test), but the batting (stating the obvious) lacks the strength it showed in the home series v India.

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