Friday, December 15, 2017


Windies restrict Australia to 248/5


LEADING FROM THE FRONT: West Indies captain Darren Sammy celebrates after taking the wicket of Australia opener David Warner, left, who was caught at second slip by Darren Bravo for 42 runs, during the third day of the first Test match at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, yesterday. –Photo: AP

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CAPTAINS lead by example!

Darren Sammy led the West Indies' bowling and Michael Clarke did the same for Australia's batting on an engrossing third day of the first Digicel Test at Kensington Oval yesterday.

Sammy, with two for 33 off 15 overs on a batsman-friendly pitch, probably went to bed last night feeling better than his opposite number.

Australia, resuming from 44 without loss overnight, were restricted to 248 for five, still 201 runs behind the West Indies' first innings total of 449 for nine declared, when bad light stopped play.

Clarke had responded to Sammy's early double strike with a solid 73, which contained four fours and a six off 173 balls in exactly 200 minutes. But he would be disappointed with his dismissal, 18 short of 6,000 Test runs, to leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo in the final session, which tilted the game in the Windies' favour.

Clarke rode his luck, benefiting from umpire Hill's reversed decision when he was given "out" on 21, to feature in a critical fourth-wicket stand of 82 with the experienced Michael Hussey.

It is now up to Hussey, who is unbeaten on 47 (6x4s, 156 balls) to guide the Australian bowlers and debutant wicketkeeper Matt Wade (19 not out) in preventing the West Indies from gaining a sizeable lead.

Sammy engineered Australia's early setback by snaring the scalps of openers Ed Cowan and David Warner in a clever 10-5-14-2 pre-lunch spell of medium-pace swing bowling.

In his second over, he lured Cowan to snick a delivery angled across him into wicket-keeper Carlton Baugh's gloves after adding just one to his overnight score of 13.

Sammy struck again in his sixth over by inducing Warner, who had made 42 off 55 balls, to edge to Darren Bravo at second slip.

When Kraigg Brathwaite ran out former Australia captain Ricky Ponting for just four, after a mix-up with Shane Watson over a second run, with a quick slide and return to Baugh, the visitors were in deep trouble at 85 for three.

Sammy also thought he had trapped Watson leg before wicket as he padded up to an inswinger. He asked for a review but umpire Ian Gould maintained his original not out verdict as television replays showed the ball to be hitting the outside of off-stump.

There was more drama when umpire Hill gave out Clarke, who had brought up his team's 100 with a six off Bishoo, for a low catch behind by Baugh off the same bowler when the batsman was 21.

Clarke immediately asked for a review and despite not having the use of Hot Spot or Snicko to verify there was an edge, the decision was reversed by the standing umpire, Hill.

Australia lunched on 133 for three but West Indies enjoyed an excellent start to the post-lunch session when Kemar Roach, in the first over, lured Watson into an expansive drive and Baugh gleefully gobbled up the edge.

Watson, whose 39 included five fours and a six, had also survived a confident LBW appeal by Roach, who didn't request a review, which might've gone in his favour.

Clarke and Hussey then set about repairing the damage with a couple of fours between extra cover and long-off when Sammy replaced Roach and off-spinner Narsingh Deonarine, who had a solitary over before lunch, was brought on.

But the West Indies, to their credit, were able to contain the run flow throughout the day in which the Aussies scored 204 runs off 85.1 overs.

As the day went on, Bishoo started posing problems for Clarke, who, after just managing to keep a sharp leg break away from Sammy at slip, advanced down the pitch but was beaten in flight and skied a catch to Deonarine, coming off the long-off boundary.

West Indies had the option of taking the second new ball shortly afterwards, but, with conditions becoming overcast, decided against it, allowing Wade the comfort of the spin of Bishoo (30-7-77-1) and Deonarine (18-5-33-0) for the final hour.