Windies stay ahead on Day 3
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Purposeful bowling from West Indies upstaged Australia’s much feared batsmen, keeping them on a leash in the first Digicel Test on Monday.
Captain Darren Sammy set the tone with two wickets for 33 runs from 15 overs, as Australia, replying to the Windies’ first innings total of 449 for nine declared, reached 248 for five – two runs away from making the hosts bat again – when bad light stopped play 10 overs early on the third day at Kensington Oval.
West Indies made critical strikes every time it seemed that the Australian batsmen were set to seize control with the visitors’ captain Michael Clarke leading the way with 73, Mike Hussey supporting with 47 not out, David Warner made 42 and Shane Watson got 39.
A near 45-minute stoppage for rain slowed the Windies’ advance before the gathering gloom brought an untimely close to a fascinating duel between the duo of compatriots, leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo and off-spinner Narsingh Deonarine and the Aussie left-handed pair of Hussey and debutant wicketkeeper/batsman Matthew Wade.
Three wickets – two to West Indies captain Sammy – gave the home team early control, after Australia continued from their overnight total of 44 without loss.Sammy removed openers Ed Cowan for 14 and David Warner for 42 before Ricky Ponting was run out for four, as Australia reached 133 for three at lunch.
The Windies however, met defiance from Watson and Clarke for just over 1 ¼ hours before the interval, the pair adding 49 for the fourth wicket. Sammy had grabbed an early breakthrough, when Cowan playing defensively forward, edged and was caught behind for 14 in the third full over of the day. This followed an opening stand of 50 with Warner.
The hosts had an unsuccessful referral for an lbw, when Watson, on five, offered no stroke to a delivery from Sammy that cut back sharply from outside the off-stump.
Hawkeye suggested the ball did not do enough to force umpire Ian Gould to change his original not-out verdict.
Typically bowling deadly accurate, Sammy struck eight overs later, when Warner playing defensively forward, thrust his bat hard at a delivery going across him, edged and was caught at second slip, leaving Australia 65 for two.
West Indies got a bonus, when Ponting failed to beat a throw from Kraigg Brathwaite at backward square leg to wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh Jr, following a mix-up with Watson going for a single, sinking the Aussies to 84 for three.
Bishoo was a bit expensive initially, but he gradually grew in confidence, and appeared to have Clarke caught behind for 21 in the final half-hour before lunch. But the Australia captain successfully reviewed umpire Tony Hill’s decision.
The session between lunch and tea promised much, but delivered little reward for the Windies, as Clarke led a fight-back for his side with Hussey. Buoyed by the scalp of Watson to Kemar Roach early after the interval, the hosts hit a brick wall, as Hussey and Clarke carried Australia to 200 for four at tea.
Roach had Watson caught behind, driving loosely at the second delivery after lunch, which moved away outside the off-stump, wobbling Australia on 133 for four.
But West Indies failed to take another wicket before the break, as Hussey and Clarke carried the fight for the visitors.
A flighted delivery from Deonarine – bowling his off-spin – was driven through mid-off by Clarke for his third boundary, carrying him to 50 from 121 balls in the last half-hour before the break.
The players spent just 12 minutes on the park before rain sent the players scampering and the war of attrition continued when they returned. For close to an hour, West Indies were kept at bay, as Clarke and Hussey inched Australia closer to the follow-on target.
Bishoo was switched to the Joel Garner End (north) and gain much more assistance from the pitch than he did bowling from the Malcolm Marshall End (south). He eventually had Clarke caught at deep mid-off, when the Aussie captain sashayed down the pitch and got a leading edge essaying an on-drive, following an innings that included four boundaries and one six from 173 balls in 220 minutes.
The Windies failed to make further headway, as Hussey, who struck half-dozen boundaries from 156 balls in close to 3 ¼ hours, and Wade gritted things out, as Bishoo and Deonarine wheeled away.
West Indies are seeking their first Test win over the Aussies in nine years, and first series victory in close to two decades.
WEST INDIES 1st Innings 449
(S. Chanderpaul 103; D. Warner 2-45)
AUSTRALIA 1st Innings
(overnight 44 without loss)
E. Cowan c wkpr Baugh b *Sammy 14
D. Warner c Bravo b *Sammy 42
S. Watson c wkpr Baugh b Roach 39
R. Ponting run out (Brathwaite/+Baugh) 4
*M. Clarke c Deonarine b Bishoo 73
M. Hussey not out 47
+M. Wade not out 19
Extras (lb8, nb2) 10
TOTAL (5 wickets, 95 overs) 248
P. Siddle, R. Harris, B. Hilfenhaus, N. Lyon to bat
Fall of wickets: 1-50 (Cowan), 2-65 (Warner), 3-84 (Ponting), 4-133 (Watson), 5-215 (Clarke)
Bowling: Edwards 15-2-41-0 (nb1); Roach 17-2-56-1; Bishoo 30-7-77-1 (nb1); *Sammy 15-5-33-2; Deonarine 18-5-33-0
Position: Australia trail by 201 runs with five first innings wickets standing
Umpires: I. Gould (England), A. Hill (New Zealand)
TV umpire: M. Erasmus (South Africa)
Match referee: J. Crowe (New Zealand)
Reserve umpire: G. Brathwaite (Barbados/West Indies)