Thursday, April 12, 2012
Another vindication of Test cricket as Australia scrape home T1 D5
Australia 9/406 dec & 7/192 (47 ov, Watson 52, Deonarine 4/53) beat West Indies 9/449 dec & 148 (66.4 ov, Hilfenhaus 4/27, Harris 3/31) by three wickets to lead series 1-0 with two matches to play: T1 D5 at Bridgetown.
A cracking day's Test cricket. It kept me me glued to the box for the West Indies innings and intermittently awake for much of Australia's second innings and wide awake for the last few overs.
West Indies, after wilting on D4, regrouped and kept harrying Australia in all departments, though they couldn't do quite enough to pull off a win. Australia's lower order batting and Michael Clarke's declaration kept the match alive and, while the middle and lower order West Indians made some amends for the disastrous opening they didn't do quite enough against Ben Hilfenhaus 17-7-27-4 and Ryan Harris 8.4-2-31-3 to set Australia a really challenging target. Or so it seemed at the time.
Even so the visitors struggled against a mixed bag of an attack: Fidel Edwards, Kemar Roach and Darren Sammy bowled well, and often sharply, while Narsingh Deonarine's 11-1-53-4 reflected both a fifth day wicket assisting spin and the occasional lapses of a part time bowler; Devendra Bishoo was expensive. (To be fair to Deonarine he did dismiss both Ricky Ponting for 14 and Michael Clarke for 6, something which not too many, if any, other bowlers would have done in such quick succession).
Shane Watson 52/57b (1x6,4x4), Ed Cowan a by many accounts (I dozed off during his dig) scratchy 34/100b (1x4) and Mike Hussey 32/26b (2x6, 2x4) took Australia slowly forward before Harris and Hilfenhaus nervously took Australia in fading light over the line to a deserved and hard fought victory. Yet the West Indies showed that they, even without Chris Gayle and Darren Bravo, are no easybeats, and the rest of the series will be worth watching (if not live through the wee small hours then and the extended highlights).
Fox Sports report with link to video highlights
Australian players rated by Fox Sports