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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Now Australia's batting struggles against tenacious West Indies: T1D3

Australia 5/248 (95 ov, Clarke 73, Hussey 47*, Warner 42) trail West Indies 9/449 dec by 201 runs on first innings with 5 wickets in hand : T1/5 D3/5 at Bridgetown. 

Last evening's positive batting by David Warner and Ed Cowan turned today into a defensive crawl which saw  Australia add only 204 runs from 85.1 overs for the loss of five wickets.

First Cowan, then Warner were caught in the slips off Darren Sammy (yes, the same whose bowling ability I've questioned), then Ricky Ponting was needlessly run out for 4 (the only single figure score in the match so far) in a mixup with Shane Watson: 3/84.  A presumably contrite Watson dug in adding 49 with Michael Clarke before he was caught behind off a flashy shot for 39/80b ( 1x6, 5x4). 

Clarke and Mike Hussey then continued the fight back (or struggle) until the captain, having batted solidly and sensibly holed out to the deep off the persevering legspinner Devendra Bishoo (who'd previously had him adjudged caught behind only for the decision to be overturned, on evidence which wasn't clear to me, by the third umpire on review). 73/173b (1x6, 4x4) was a captain's innings of a different kind to the fluent and dominating ones  which he'd played in the Tests against India earlier this year.

At the end of the day (when bad light once again intervened) Hussey 47*/156b (6x4) has hanging on grimly in partnership with an equally grim Matthew Wade 19*/53b (2x4).

From what I saw  (a combination of live action and highlights) the pitch was livelier than on the first two days, or were the West Indies bowlers able to get that little bit extra out of it? Certainly Sammy's two wickets put Australia on notice, while Bishoo, after some inital prodigality, settled down and bowled more accurately, and with some spin..

I wouldn't wish every Test to be played out at this pace but it's fascinating to see the  unexpectedly tenacious West Indies, who for so long have relied on a few individuals (some of whom have opted to play in the IPL), take the game right up to, and probably away from, Australia.  A draw nevertheless  looks the likeliest result, but it's by no means certain.


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