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2nd Test, day 5: The forces of nature make it a draw

Article written by on April 20th, 2012

Bad light and rain was always going to be the threat upon the result and indeed it was. The second Test has been drawn, despite Michael Clarke trying his best to make a game of it by calling a declaration with a lead of 215 runs. Such a pity as it was set up for an entertaining finish. Would have been another good, competitive show for this form of the game.

The result means we head into the 3rd Test 1-0 where we cannot lose the Frank Worrell Trophy. If we are to win the 3rd Test we will have the same scoreline as the 2008 series, although this year the Windies have really tested us.

Well played to Nathan Lyon after his 5 wicket haul gave us some hope. He never lost his self-belief and it just came together. He’s a young man and will can only improve from here.

The batting hasn’t been anything to monstrous so the winners of the Pocket Cricket contest may be quite interesting!

2nd Test: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4.

Full scorecard via ESPN Cricinfo.com

- Australian 1st innings: 311 all out from 135 overs. Michael Hussey 73 (207), Shane Watson 56 (172), Michael Clarke 45 (99).

- West Indies 1st innings:  257 all out from 104.4 overs. Nathan Lyon 5-68, Michael Beer 2-56.
- Australian 2nd innings: 8-160 dec. Ricky Ponting 41*, Matthew Wade 31.

- West Indies 2nd innings: 2/53. Ben Hilfenhaus 2-22.

This series hasn’t been a batting spectacle. Both teams have struggled for different reasons and even though our boys had the lead it wasn’t easy to just try bash it about and boost that lead in quick time. We went from 3/73 to 8/160 but this is in many ways a result of the delays and debate whether to play aggressively or gradually push the the lead forward.

Kemar Roach has had a sensational match with some brilliant fast bowling on a track that has been ideal for spin bowling. He picked up 5 wickets and this game him his first 10 wicket haul in a match. Well done Kemar, you troubled our guys and deserved Player of the match. When he bowled wide from the crease, the angle and shape he delivered somehow reminded me a lot of Makhaya Ntini.

Ricky Ponting fell short of his half-century which was really disappointing but he got some runs on the board and I am hoping for a big game for him in the final match of the series. Michael Hussey and Matthew Wade were able to put together a 50 run-partnership with Huss showing some attack just before his dismissal.

Michael Clarke called for the declaration as the light gradually became worse. It gave some chance of us getting to have a bowl and create a chance to see a result, but the uncontrollable forces of nature were against us when we had the Windies at 2-53.

Ben Hilfenhaus was able to give us something excitement as he removed the Windies top order batsmen once again. He’s become the top order destroyer! Without James Pattinson it meant Shane Watson had to get to work pretty soon and Darren Sammy decided to target him. Sammy had that look in his eye that he wasn’t going to go down without a fight and he gave the Windies supporters something to smile about as he blasted his way to 30*.

When Clarkey was told he had to consider just bowling the spinners, he wasn’t keen and the players departed from Queen’s Park Oval. Soon after the rain came down and that was going to snuff what precious little time both teams had. The game has been drawn.

The verdict:

Batting wise not the best of games but patience is vital! We have Ed Cowan and David Warner still trying to find compatibility as a duo and within their own games. Both of them have what it takes. Ed is understandably frustrated with his lack of runs but it’s his first overseas tour at the elite level and these conditions have troubled all our batsmen.

Warner has struggled against spin bowling and aggression may be his way to work through it and then Shane Watson is in his second Test at number 3 and was unfortunate to be bowled by a ball that kept low with an unexpected lack of bounce, so these guys can be let off in my opinion for their troubles. No one else is exactly ready to take it on, or willing for that matter.

The tactic of taking spin bowlers into this game was a confident tactic and I hope it gives Nathan Lyon and Michael Beer enormous confidence. They both played exceptionally well and both have different advantages and dynamics to offer Australian cricket. Well done boys!

The fielding was far better this game and all in all I am stoked with the way our bowlers performed. Without Peter Siddle and Ryan Harris, it did add responsibility for Ben Hilfenhaus and James Pattinson who had a bit more to do but everyone worked together and the bowling unit was efficient in action.

My last note is Matt Wade. He was diving all around the show and has had to work very hard and remain quite agile this game, especially when James Pattinson was bowling! Like Ed Cowan and David Warner, this is his first overseas tour for Australia in Test cricket. It’s a huge step up and plenty of pressure goes with it.

I see no reason why he should be given a hard time about his batting. He wasn’t even expected to necessarily debut this series but Brad Haddin had to leave for personal reasons so he had his opportunity.

It took Brad Haddin 16 innings to get his first score over fifty. Sure, he ended up smashing the Kiwi’s for 169 runs that innings but it took him 16 innings and 9 matches to eventually get there. So Matt is doing alright. He’s working out his role and his wicket keeping – while not consistent – has been good.

Patience is crucial for supporters this series and looking ahead. We came off a brilliant summer series against India winning 4-0 and even then there were a few areas for the side to fix. It’s the nature of the game and we’re in a new era. The days of expecting to win are over. The side needs to work harder for it and by the same token the guys at State level need to show everyone that they’re eager to claim a specific place in this side to call it their own. All we can do is support each and every guy who gets selected.

I am happy with our team and although it extremely unfortunate that Peter Siddle, our fighter, and James Pattinson will take no further part in the series due to injury, it will give Mitchell Starc an opportunity to put his cap back on and get that ball swinging! Ryan Harris is expected to be fit and ready for action as well.

A dull result but it adds some desperation for both sides heading off into the final game of the Frank Worrell Trophy contest for 2012. Come on Baggy Greens!

This article is from The Baggy Green Blog!
Thanks for reading this article written by Ian.
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