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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Fortunes turn as Australia seize initiative: T1 D4

West Indies 9/449 dec & 5/71 (38 ov, Hilfenhaus 3/17) lead Australia 9/406 dec (145 ov, Clarke 73, Harris 68, Hussey 48, Warner 42, Lyon 40*, Roach 3/72) by 114 runs with 5 second inns wickets in hand: T1/3 D4/5 at Bridgetown.

After Mike Hussey and Peter Siddle were dismissed in quick succession at the start of play Australia were 7/250, 199 behind the West Indies first innings  and seemingly beyond hope of any more than a draw.

I stayed up to watch what I thought might be the last rites, nodded off as Matt Wade, Ryan Harris and Ben Hilfenhaus improved the Australia's position, then woke up to find that Michael Clarke had declared 43 runs behind after Harris 68*/123b (7x4)  and Lyon 40*/(89b (6x4) had added an unbroken 77 for the last wicket. Harris had begun impressively and, I assume, continued in that vein while I was asleep.

As I rubbed my eyes I began to see that ithe declarationwas a good move: not enough time to force a victory but enough, in the right circumstances, to claim a few psychological points. So I went back to sleep, waking only to the surprising news that the West Indies had collapsed to 5/71, with their top five batters all out: 1/2, 2/3, 3/4, 4/17, 5/67.

I can't say more until I've watched the Foxtel highlights of the day's play, except that the last day's play is set up to be a cracker: not necessarily in strokeplay, but certainly in the increasing tension which is a feature of the best Test cricket.


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