Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Australia Turn Up To Play

Wade made 106
It all got away from the West Indies on the second day of the final Test against Australia at Roseau. Having restricted the Australians so successfully on the first day, they surrendered before unfriendly fire from Matthew Wade and his tail end buddies and then collapsed in the final session.

Wade began the day with just 22 from 72 deliveries. He was dropped by Roach before he had added to his overnight score as he returned the ball to him over his head and at pace and then three balls later saw Mitchell Starc run out out needlessly at the lazy completion of a second run. At 8-226, Australia was vulnerable but from there on, the real Matthew Wade stood up. In a manner reminiscent Adam Gilchrist but in style like a left handed Michael Slater, Wade took the rest of his runs at better than run a ball, strike 10 fours and 3 sixes, mostly over the bowler and down through and across cow corner. A four through the covers raised his century just before lunch and then a two a few balls later raised the hundred partnership with Ben Hilfenhaus. He was caught on the boundary of Shillingford who ended the innings a few balls later when he bowled Hilfenhaus. Shillingford took six but the horse had bolted.

Lyon took 3-49 off 24 overs
The West Indies faced an over before lunch and despite losing Brathwaite to a juggled catch at first slip by the born-again alrounder Ryan Harris, Adrain Barath and Kieron Powell batted confidently adding 61 for the second wicket. Powell gave a very difficult chance to Ponting at short cover but there mere fact he got a hand to it marked the brilliance of his effort. A tempered Barath looked to be setting himself for a long haul, something he has found difficult to do in the past as he has always be impetuous. Nathan Lyon ended their partnership when Barath tried to turn him to leg and went bat/pad to Ed Cowan at short leg. Michael Clarke pulled off one of his bowling change miracles, bring Dave Warner on in the last half hour if the session to bowl four overs of what Michael Holding described as "drivel". Drivel it was but coming forward to one of only three balls that landed properly in four overs, Darren Bravo also found the inside edge and left via Cowan.

If the two wickets close to tea hurt the West Indies, the removal of Powell by Lyon soon after crippled them. Powell went back to cut a shorter delivery but instead chopped it on. The next seventeen overs were a procession as the West Indies lost another four wickets to a mixture of misfortune and the Australian bowlers being rotated past the bowling crease. Narsingh Deonarine (Harris), Carlton Baugh (Lyon) and Shane Shillingford (Starc) all left via the bowlers and Darren Sammy was run out by a direct throw from Cowan following a sharp single called for by Shiv Chanderpaul. Cowan's three catches and a run out should earn him bonus points in the dressing room and a pat on the back from Steve Rixon.

Ravi Rampaul - probably good enough to bat at No 8 in this team, joined with Chanderpaul to add 45 unbeaten by stumps and in doing so avoided a follow on it is likely Clarke would never had enforced. In the last half hour we saw a rare weakness in Clarke's captaincy. There is a time for the unconventional, such as Warner's earlier bowling but was needed as stumps approached was a hard spell from Harris and Hilfenhaus to shake the last few wickets from the West Indians. Instead, he experimented with Warner again and himself. as a man with a back injury, he should never bowl.

Regardless, the Australian's came with the A Game today and showed the difference between the sides. It has been a difference that has simmered all series, with Clarke's men able to turn up the heat whenever things got cold in the kitchen.

For Matthew Wade, it marks a significant turning point. Regardless of his captains thoughts, perhaps delivered to assuage whatever trouble has beset his former vice captain back at home, Wade's century secures his hold on the spot Brad Haddin once held. Being a Test player is about skill and ability but its largely about being bold and seizing the moment. Today was such a moment for Wade.
Session Count: West Indies 2, Australia 3, Drawn 1