WI v Australia, 1st Test, Bridgetown, 3rd day
Resuming on 0/44, Australia finished Day 3 at 5/248, a gain of just 204 runs on another slow day. Of the five wickets that fell, three were in the first 90 minutes of play. Darren Sammy struck gold taking the wickets of both Aussie openers in similar fashion. First to go was Ed Cowan, edging one to the keeper for 14, and eight overs later David Warner edged to Darren Bravo at second slip for 42. It was then 2/65, but worse was to come.
Arriving to the crease was Ricky Ponting, who revived his career with a successful home summer against the Indians. But his stay was short-lived as he was tragically run-out for 4 thanks to poor communication and indecision from Shane Watson. It was a really ugly run-out with Watson leaving Ponting for dead as Watson ran halfway down the pitch adamant a second run would be ok but Braithwaite’s throw from fine-leg had Ponting out of his ground attempting to get back. Ponting’s fury could be clearly visible as he walked back to the pavilion.
Michael Clarke joined Watson and they survived till lunch, but second ball back Watson wafted a wide ball straight through to keeper Carlton Baugh and was out for 39. Then came Australia’s best partnership (82) of the day between the two Michaels –Clarke and Hussey. They played sensibly and were patient hitting the bad balls and leaving the good ones. Next to come was a slice of irony. Hussey attempted a rare expansive shot and Clarke came down the pitch to tell him to settle down. But then it was Clarke to fall, guess how? He went hard at Devendra Bishoo, attempting a six, but completely miscued it and Narsinghe Deonarine took the catch at long off – Pup out for 73.
Matthew Wade, on debut, was gifted with a long-hop on the first ball he faced of his Test career and carved it for four to the cover-point boundary to ease his nerves. 80 overs were up but Sammy decided not to take the second new ball because it might have meant the umpires going off the field due to bad light, which they eventually did anyway.
Australia are still 201 runs behind, needing 2 runs to avoid the follow-on. Australia can’t win this Test from here. A draw is the most likely result, although if the West Indies take early wickets to wrap up this Australian innings, they can set Australia a target and try and win the game from there.
A lot of credit ought to be given to Sammy. He’s the West Indies’ version of Shane Watson. He bowls a very tidy line and length, bowling stump-to-stump and pinning the batsmen on the back foot and frustrating them into a false shot. I was also really impressed with Devendra Bishoo, who with his leg spin, gave me a reminder of how good Shane Warne was. Bishoo also revealed his doosra – the one that spins the other way.
Australia’s top order still looks frail and once again it was Clarke and Hussey coming to save the day. Ponting’s wicket was a real waste and who knows what he could have done.
Play for Day 4 starts 15 minutes earlier than usual to catch up on lost play – that’s 11:45pm Melbourne time.