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Monday, April 09, 2012

Solid West Indies batting minimises risk of defeat as Australian attack struggles: T1D2

Australia 0/44 (9.5 ov) trail West Indies 9/449 dec (153 ov, Chanderpaul 103*, K Edwards 61, Brathwaite 57, Bravo 51, Sammy 41) by 405 runs with 10 first innings wickets in hand: T1/3 D2/5 at Bridgetown, Barbados.

For most of  D2 West Indies seemed content to build a total which would shut Australia out of the match.  And who can blame them given their underdog status?

Shivnarine Chanderpaul's methodical 103*/248b (1x6, 9x4) was the highlight on the scorecard, even if many spectators and viewers might remember Darren Sammy's swashbuckling  41/36b (3x6, 4x4) longer.

Chanderpaul has played a similar role many times in previous Tests though rarely would he have contributed just 37% of the runs (103 of 282) added while he was at the crease. In fairness to him had he gone cheaply, say for less than 50, Australia would almost certainly have been batting much sooner. As it was the pitch continued to play well and the bowling was, as on D1, steady without being consistently menacing: ie ideal conditions for the methodical acquisition of runs.

Surprisingly, and from an Australian perspective worringly, David Warner had the best figures with 2/45 from 10 overs (and  by far the highest economy rate of all the eight bowlers used). He did bowl some challenging deliveries but his wicket taking balls (the Edwards namesakes) weren't among them, perhaps underlining the old adage that only ten good balls are bowled every innings. Alas, Australia couldn't meet even this criterion as the home eleven, each of whom reached double figures, lost only 9 wickets (including a run out) before Sammy declared.

Warner and Ed Cowan's reply,  0/44 in a ball shy of 10 overs, was a positive note for Australia on another tightly contested, but undeniably West Indies', day. Yet there's a long way to go to build the first innings lead which will be needed for Australia to win or maybe to just to save the match.

For the West Indies a draw will be a moral victory, for Australia the prelude to some strong questions. The home attack, which, with Sammy as one of the four main bowlers, looks a bit limited, may struggle to bowl Australia out twice: but I may be eating my words this time tomorrow.


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