Rain halts WI victory charge

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad — Persistent rain spoiled a West Indies run chase at 53-2 in pursuit of a target of 215 in 61 overs against Australia as the second Digicel Test ended in a draw on Thursday. Showers arrived 30 minutes before tea and there was no more play possible on the fifth and final day at Queen’s Park Oval.

Captain Darren Sammy’s unbeaten 30 off 26 balls ignited West Indies’ bold charge after his Michael Clarke declared Australia’s second innings on 160-8 midway through the second session. Fast bowler Ben Hilfenhaus (2-22) landed two early blows for Australia with the wickets of both openers.

Sammy bravely promoted himself to Number 3 and lashed four fours and a massive straight six to quickly shift the momentum back to the home side. But steady showers, which had also badly affected day four, returned to have the final say. Darren Bravo was unbeaten on eightat the end.

Earlier, Australia stretched its overnight 73-3 to 160-8 before the confident declaration by Clarke. Fast bowler Kemar Roach completed his second five-wicket haul of the match, claiming 5-41 to complete match figures of 10-146. Roach, who took three wickets on the fourth day, added Michael Hussey (24) and Hilfenhaus (0).

The start of the final day was delayed for 45 minutes due to a wet outfield caused by Wednesday’s heavy rain which washed away half the day’s play. But the home team started strongly on resumption, with pacer Fidel Edwards finally gaining reward for a probing spell.

Veteran batsman Ricky Ponting struck three fours off 85 balls in compiling 41 before he pulled an Edwards short ball straight to deep backward square leg at 93-4. Clarke followed two runs later, Sammy plucking a magnificent return catch in his right hand to derail the Aussies. Clarke scored 15 off 51 balls.

But Hussey and Matthew Wade gradually calmed Australia's nerves with a busy stand that took their team to lunch on 123-5. The pair was aggressive after the break, showing Australia’s keenness to push for a series-sealing victory.

The stand reached 50 before Roach bowled Hussey off the inside edge and plucked out Hilfenhaus' off stump three balls later. When Nathan Lyon top-edged a sweep of Shane Shillingford to be caught by Sammy, the declaration arrived.

Australia won the first match by three wickets last week in Barbados and have therefore retained the Frank Worrell Trophy with one more match to go. The third and final Digicel Test will be played at Windsor Park in Dominica, starting on Monday.

See scoreboard at http://www.espncricinfo.com/west-indies-v-australia-2012/engine/current/match/540177.html

Thu, 04/19/2012 - 13:29