Bowlers’ dayWest Indies batsman Kieran Powell is lbw to Australia fast bowler James Pattinson. (Picture courtesy www.digicelcricket.com/Brooks LaTouche Photography.)
By Garth Wattley in Trinidad | Tue, April 17, 2012 - 12:03 AM
From the very start, this second Digicel Test match seemed to be a bowler’s contest.
The second day at the Queen’s Park Oval further confirmed that suspicion – and also that this could be Australia’s game.
While Kemar Roach picked up his third five-wicket haul in Test matches, Australia’s bowlers have already seriously set the West Indies back.
Darren Bravo (16) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (one) stayed together for the final 40 minutes before fading light curtailed a rain-affected day with the Windies on 49 for three in their first innings.
As the batsmen fought to keep their wickets against balls that spun generously past their bats and seam deliveries which rapped them about the pads, Australia’s first innings total of 311 seemed the stuff of Caribbean dreams.
Michael Clarke’s positive decision to open his attack with Michael Beer’s left-arm spin paid a dividend when he trapped Adrian Barath (seven) on his crease lbw.
Even before that, without a run being scored in the fourth over, seamer Ben Hilfenhaus had also won a leg-before decision against Kraigg Brathwaite.
Had Kieran Powell (19) thought a bit, he might have avoided another dismissal which left the West Indies on 38 for three. The West Indies No. 3 had been shown the finger by umpire Ian Gould when James Pattinson’s first ball of the series, delivered from over the wicket, struck the left-hander on leg stump.
He quickly walked away, declining to refer the decision. As the TV replays subsequently showed, however, the ball had pitched marginally outside his leg stump.
The West Indies missed a trick there. But it perhaps was not the most costly missed opportunity for the home side yesterday.
Earlier, Michael Hussey worked Australia into control with an invaluable half-century.
Angling the ball into the gaps and seeking to set off for a run at every opportunity, Hussey kept the bowlers at bay. Occasionally, he changed pace, one time going over the boundary with Shane Shillingford via a clean slog/sweep which cannoned off the Trini Posse Stand.
Pattinson (32, 156 minutes, five fours), one of two Australian changes in this match, came to the crease in the second over of the day after Roach had Matthew Wade edging a low catch to Bravo at second slip.
The strapping left-hander missed often as he tried to hit boundaries, but played straight enough otherwise to give meaningful support to his senior partner.
Ryan Harris’ lower-order handiness from the first Test had been compensated for adequately.
The pair of left-handers batted through two and a half hours of play, surviving the lengthy break for rain – which interrupted play 11 minutes before lunch and which eventually chopped 14 overs off the day’s play – to add a vital, innings-best 89 runs for the seventh wicket.
Once again though, Hussey capitalised on a missed chance. Wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh, who had dropped him the previous afternoon off Shillingford when he was only five, missed him again before lunch on 47 off the same bowler. This time the keeper failed to complete a stumping after the off-spinner had beaten Hussey in the flight.
On a pitch where application and concentration were key for batsmen, those chances were gladly accepted by “Mr Cricket”.
Like a nagging headache, the determined pair frustrated West Indies, surviving a better, more disciplined collective bowling effort yesterday. But when fifth bowler Narsingh Deonarine (two for 32) eventually got Hussey to drive to Kraigg Brathwaite at cover for 73 (248 minutes, four fours, one six) with the total 297 for seven, the innings quickly subsided.
The last four wickets went down for just 14 runs, Shillingford (49-17-92-3) removing Pattinson in the next over and the persevering Roach (27-5-105-5) returning to boost his figures with the wickets of Hilfenhaus and Beer. The overall effort had cost him a century of runs.
On another day, it would have been Shillingford who got the five.
What would have pleased them both, however, was that they had limited the damage.
Bravo and Chanderpaul will have the same aim this morning.
It was careful but assured work by the pair under pressure yesterday afternoon. Bravo in particular did not seem perturbed by the job facing him.
But it is a very big one.
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