Digicel Match Report: Bravo’s brash century leads Windies redemption effort
A brash hundred from all rounder, Dwayne Bravo, led the West Indies in consolidating their first innings of the Second Test and helped to redeem their unit after the three day innings-and-65-run loss in Brisbane a week ago.
The top order surrendered meekly but Bravo pulled, drove and lofted the ball with such brazen intent that he frustrated the Australians throughout his innings of 104 at the Adelaide Oval.
At the close of play on day one, the Windies were 336 for 6 with Darren Sammy and Brendan Nash on 44 each, having added 63 runs for the seventh wicket.
After losing three wickets before lunch and with Nash retiring hurt at mealtime (he was hit on the arm by a Mitchell Johnson short ball), Bravo and Shivnarine Chanderpaul forged a partnership which was worth an invaluable 116 runs. Between lunch and tea they ensured the loss of no wickets and mustered together 75 runs as they combined to repel the Australian bowlers with a mixture of Chanderpaul’s staunch defence and Bravo’s robust hitting.
Reliable Chanderpaul – who took a brief hiatus for the Gabba Test when he scored a total of 4 runs – returned and nursed runs in his customary manner. The Guyanese master class faced 151 deliveries, registered five fours and scored 62 – the 53rd fifty of his Test career – before he was given out in controversial circumstances worth elaborating.
In the 63rd over, the left hander played forward to a Shane Watson (11-2-42-2) delivery which passed close to his bat and was taken by wicketkeeper, Brad Haddin. Having heard a sound, the Australians appealed in confidence but umpire, Mark Benson, was not convinced. The home captain – Ricky Ponting – then opted to use the Decision Review System.
The elite panel of television commentators all agreed that there was no clear evidence to overturn Benson’s decision but third umpire, Asad Rauf, inexplicably thought otherwise and Chanderpaul was forced to depart to leave the score 235 for 4. He was quickly followed by Denesh Ramdin (4) in the same over, when the wicketkeeper played on and was bowled.
At that stage it looked as though the Australians were at the forefront of a rampage and would blast the Windies lower order to bits. But the script panned out differently.
Bravo continued on his merry way, walloping twelve fours and a six but the six was not an ordinary one.
Bravo, when on 59, hooked the wicketless seamer, Peter Siddle, in the direction of Watson on the backward square leg boundary. Standing just inside the playing area, Watson caught the ball but his momentum took him over the rope. He managed to toss the ball in the air and get back in the field of play but could not recover the ball which then fell beyond the boundary for six.
It was the type of drama which typified Bravo’s knock – his third Test century and second against the Aussies – during which he was dropped twice. A wrong-footed Michael Clarke put him down at first slip and early on in his innings Bravo smashed a ball into Simon Katich’s shin at forward short leg. The ball ricocheted into the air but Katich could not retrieve it before it fell to the ground.
The other excitement in his innings came from the blade of his bat as he proceeded, not merely in confidence, but full-blooded audaciousness.
The 26 year-old, playing in his 33rd Test, utilized a brief period of time in getting the measure of the pitch which was no less than a sumptuous batting track. Then when he was certain he need not be alarmed, he unleashed a volley of shots to blaze past Chanderpaul as he raced away to his hundred which was brought up with a lofted straight drive off the spin of Nathan Hauritz (22-0-85-1).
His celebratory efforts were somewhat subdued, signalling that he was hungry for more but it was not to be.
After Bravo used the DRS to his benefit when umpire Benson gave him out lbw with the ball striking him too high, he was bowled by Hauritz who knock over his off stump as he misjudged a delivery and played for more turn than there was.
Following his departure Darren Sammy – the injured Jerome Taylor’s replacement – entertained with two imperiously hit sixes and five delightful fours – for one he stood tall to Siddle and pulled through mid wicket with rocket-like speed. The stroke left many spectators and more than a few fielders with their jaws floored.
Nash returned to the crease after retiring on 20 and added another 24 by the end of play but not before being peppered with short balls to which he was visibly and surprisingly uncomfortable given that he was bred in Australia where short pitched bowling is never in short supply.
At the start of the day, captain Chris Gayle eagerly chose to bat and came out swinging. He lost Adrian Barath (3) who was sent packing by a Michael Hussey super catch in the gully. Thirteen runs later Gayle (26) suffered a lapse in concentration as he tried to nudge a Doug Bollinger (15-2-42-2) short ball over the slip cordon. He succeeded only in getting a faint edge which was hauled in – one handed – by Haddin.
Ramnaresh Sarwan (28) added 45 with Chanderpaul as he drove with authoritative ease through the covers but made his exit (84 for 3) through a tame drive to Michael Clarke at cover point to give Mitchell Johnson (18-2-69-1) his only wicket.
Apart from running through the top order and the Watson double strike in the 63rd over, it was a mildly frustrating day in the field for the hosts as they chased 39 fours and four sixes.
However with six wickets in the bag on a pitch which will continue to be in favour of the batsmen, they will be pleased with their overall effort and the Windies will be anxious for Sammy and Nash to push them towards (and past) 400 on day two.
Should Sammy continue belting the ball about he may begin to harbour ambitions of a century. More immediately though, he will want to top his Test best of 48 and secure his maiden Test fifty and further the cause of the Windies push for redemption after the Brisbane thumping.