Digicel Match Report: Bravo’s big effort not enough as Windies claim draw
It was not to be. Try though Dwayne Bravo and the West Indies did, they could not get the five more wickets needed to complete what would have been an astonishing come-from-behind victory at the Adelaide Oval in the Second Test. It was Michael Clarke, with an unbeaten 61, who provided greatest resistance and ensured that Australia remained 1-0 ahead in the three match series.
They resumed at the start of the final day on 284 for 8 and were dismissed for 317 with Chris Gayle becoming the only West Indian captain to carry his bat through a Test innings ending on 165 not out.
With a 12 run deficit from the first innings, Australia were set 330 for victory and began their response in a measured fashion. By day’s end, they reached 212 for 6 but there was no realistic chance of them winning after the regular loss of crucial wickets. Clarke, batting with impressive control, combined with Brad Haddin (21*) in the final session to prevent a Windies triumph.
At the start of the innings Simon Katich got to 21 before he essayed an aerial drive off Bravo only to see Adrian Barath – a little pocket dynamo of a young fella – at cover leap and haul in a fine catch.
That was the only Windies’ success before lunch and they added another two after the interval. Ravi Rampaul’s only wicket in the Test was a big fish. The right arm seamer forced a Ricky Ponting false shot and the Australian captain chopped the ball onto his stumps to depart for 36 and leave the score 68 for 2.
With Ponting gone, the energy level of the Windies was lifted as they began to sense a realistic chance of dislodging all ten Australian wickets.
Bravo produced another one of his trademark breathtaking catches – this time at mid wicket and off the bowling of Darren Sammy – to send Shane Watson back to the pavilion two short of a half century. It was then 114 for 3 and Clarke and Michael Hussey took their side to tea at 132 for 3. Hussey was 29 and Clarke 11 but the former could not add to his tally as he edged Bravo to Denesh Ramdin shortly after tea to leave the scene with the score 133 for 4.
The Windies fielders and bowlers were all live wires then as they began to realise that victory could be achieved with a few more wickets. They did get one more, but that was all there was before captain Chris Gayle – with less than half of the last hour of the days play remaining – shook hands with Clarke and Haddin and brought an end to the enthralling final day and the match. The draw means Australia will retain the Frank Worrell Trophy but the Windies will have one chance – in Perth – the level the series.
The fifth wicket was that of Marcus North who was stupendously held at first slip by Ramnaresh Sarwan, again off Bravo who finished with 3 for 37 from 15 overs. The Trinidadian all-rounder poured every drop of energy and craft into his bowling to prise another wicket, but it was not to be as Haddin curbed his penchant for striking the ball to the boundary and resisted until the end.
Sulieman Benn, the skyscraper left arm spinner who took his first career five wicket haul in the first innings was unable to reproduce such wicket-taking form and went wicketless. Kemar Roach who along with Benn, accounted for 9 of the first innings wickets also went without a wicket though he regularly looked close to taking one. He continued to bowl with hurrying pace late into the day but in the final session the Windies most felt the double loss – through injury – of their experienced new-ball duo of Fidel Edwards and Jerome Taylor.
The team’s performance was outstanding, the bowlers cannot be faulted but they were lacking in depth when the killer instinct had to be cast upon the Australians.
In the final session when they needed seven wickets, Taylor and Edwards’ combination of searing pace and lethal old ball swing could have put them in the win column and captain Gayle would have been ruing their loss as Clarke and Haddin added 73 for their seventh wicket match-saving stand.