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Australia in sight of a surprising victory vs. West Indies – First Test

Zia Rana April 11, 2012

West Indies 449-9 declared and 71-5 (Darren Bravo 32, Narsingh Deonarine 20*, Ben Hilfenhaus 3-17) lead Australia 406-9 declared (Michael Clarke 73, Ryan Harris 68*, Kemar Roach 3-72) by 114 runs.

Ben Hilfenhaus - Destructive bowling in the second innings

Ben Hilfenhaus - Destructive bowling in the second innings

A gritty declaration by Michael Clarke put Australia in to a commanding position as the perishable West Indies were struggling in the first Test.

The home side ruled the game for the first three days but surrendered by the close of the fourth day’s play and are fighting hard to save the Test.

The Windies piled up 449 runs with one wicket still in hand when Darren Sammy declared the first innings. Australia responded with 406 for the loss of 9 wickets as Michael Clarke decided to declare the innings and his bowlers rewarded with five top order Caribbean wickets as the home side gains a lead of just 114 runs.

Earlier, the Kangaroos started their first innings on the day four at 248 for the loss of five wickets in 95 overs, Michael Hussey was at the crease for 47 and Matthew Wade was unbeaten with 19 runs. The visitors initiated the day cautiously and scored just one run in the first three overs as two of them ended as a maiden. They faced a setback when Hussey was caught behind by the wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh off Kemar Roach on the second ball of the 99th over for 48.

The sixth wicket fell at 249 and one run later Peter Siddle was gone without opening his account. Ryan Harris came in next and joined with wade who was surviving at the other end. The first opened his account with a four and preferred to accumulate the runs in boundaries as the latter kept on crawling at the other end. Wade was caught by Darren Bravo in the second slip on the fifth ball of the 109th over from Fidel Edwards for 28 runs and Australia was whirling at 285-8.

Ben Hilfenhaus appeared in the centre, started playing positive cricket and sent the ball reeling out of the ropes twice in the 112nd over off Devendra Bishoo. Harris was playing the innings of his life and tortured the West Indian bowlers while dispatching boundaries at his will. The seventh wicket contributed 44 runs as Hilfenhaus was clean bowled by Roach for 24 runs and in came the last batsman Nathan Lyon.

Ryan Harris completed his maiden fifty in Test cricket on the fifth ball of the 126th over which was highly appreciated by his team mates and the crowd. Lyon carried on with the attack, the boundaries kept on flowing from his bat frequently and the duo enhanced the score to 406 runs. Harris was still at the crease with 68 off 123 balls with 7 fours and Lyon was striking well for 40 off 89 deliveries assisted with 6 fours as Michael Clarke decided to declare the innings with a deficit of 43 runs in the first innings.

Kemar Roach was the supreme bowler with three wickets, Fidel Edwards and Darren Sammy held two as Bishoo claimed one wicket.

West Indies had a dreadful start of their second innings and lost their four top order batsmen for mere 17 runs when Hilfenhaus penetrated through by grabbing three wickets. Adrian Barath went for two, Kraigg Brathwaite could not open his account, Kirk Edwards scored just one and the centurion in the first innings, Shivnarine Chanderpaul went back to the pavilion for 12 runs.

Darren Bravo and Narsingh Deonarine stopped the onslaught of the Aussies bowling and the first fifty of the innings was posted in the 21st over. Bravo acted as a senior partner and Deonarine was supporting him well but the runs were hard to come. They shared a valuable partnership of 50 runs when Bravo was caught behind by Matthew Wade off Peter Siddle for 32 off 78 balls with 3 fours.

The home side was in trouble and reached at 71 for the loss of five wickets in 38 overs at stumps on the day four. Narsingh Deonarine was fighting at 20 and Carlton Baugh was at the other end with two runs.

Hilfenhaus broke the back of the Caribbeans batting by grasping three wickets whereas Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle shared one wicket each.

West Indies will be anticipating a fight back from the batting duo at the crease and a lead of around 200 runs can put them back on the track. The Australians will try to rip through the remaining batsmen at the earliest as they have a better chance of winning the first Test.

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