Rival captains Michael Clarke and Darren Sammy did nothing to enhance the image of Test cricket as the Australians fell over the line to win the first Test against the Windies by three wickets at Bridgetown.
I’ve never been bored watching a Test in over 60 years. The run chase and the field placings today were boring, boring, boring.
Sammy had four on the ropes from the start, two on each side of the wicket, leaving wide open spaces everywhere the Australians didn’t utilise.
Set 192 to win off 65 overs at only 3.02 runs an over, it should have been a stroll in the park with Australia’s attacking lineup.
If ever a Test match victory from nowhere was set up for David Warner to blaze away, Bridgetown was it.
For some unfathomable reason, master-blaster Warner went into his shell.
For the second time in the Test, Warner chased Darren Sammy outside off stump and was caught behind. Poor cricket.
Dismissed for 23 off 39 with the score at 1-31, Warner’s out-of-character passive batting was as ridiculous as it was infectious.
Opening partner Ed Cowan was even worse.
When Warner was dismissed, Cowan was only 4 off 24. By tea, Cowan had “raced” to 11 off 61. Pedestrian.
First drop Shane Watson wasn’t much better. He survived two close leg befores and a dropped catch by Sammy in the gully by the time he reached 4.
Watson upped the ante after tea, but pulled a rank long hop from part-timer Narsingh Deonarine straight down the throat of substitute Kieran Powell behind square to head for the shed with 52 off 57. What a waste.
Cowan’s painful innings came to a close on 34 off 100 when he was caught by Shivnarine Chanderpaul off Deonarine. Australia 3-126.
Worse was to come. Ricky Ponting on 12 edged Deonarine onto his stumps. Australia 4-131.
And another with the world’s equal number one ranked batsman Clarke caught and bowled by Deonarine for 6 off 7. Australia 5-140. Every dismissal negative batting.
Matt Wade (3) was given out but survived the leg before decision on appeal off Deonarine, with Australia requiring 40 runs off 23 overs with five wickets in hand – if the light held. Still a romp if the Australians batted normally for the first time.
This was nightmare cricket to watch for Australians. Especially the usually reliable Mike Hussey playing dangerous small percentage reverse sweeps that went so close to the stumps. Brain explosion cricket.
None more so than the unreliable Wade (18), caught at deep cover by Devendra Bishoo off Kemar Roach. Australia 6-177, 15 more required.
Step up to the plate first dig hero Ryan Harris, fresh from a career high 68 not out.
Hussey greeted Harris with a timely and massive six off Deonarine, leaving 9 to get when Hussey became the next victim, bowled neck and crop by Kemar Roach for 32 off 26. Australia 7-189, three short.
Harris and Ben Hilfenhaus saw the Australians safely home at 7-192, Hilfenhaus surving a close runout for the winning run.
Australia won by 3 wickets off 47 overs. But there was nothing satisfying in the way victory was achieved.
Although a win is a win.