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Australia win but cricket the loser in dull end to Bridgetown Test

David Lord Columnist

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    Matthew Wade has been named to tour India. Is he good enough? (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

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    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.

    No way.

    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.

    Australia 2-106.

    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.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn?t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world?s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (55)

    • April 12th 2012 @ 8:26am
      sledgeross said | April 12th 2012 @ 8:26am | ! Report

      Geez Lordy, being a tad harsh I reckon mate. Yes, Sammy went ultra defensive, maybe understandable given his relative inexperience and the unusual situation of being in a position to win a game.
      Some poor shots from the usual suspects in the Aussie team, but lets not forget the deck was getting tough to bat on and looked very two paced.
      I just cant believe we managed to chase a small total for a win (just)!

    • April 12th 2012 @ 8:33am
      Disco said | April 12th 2012 @ 8:33am | ! Report

      Batting remains iffy to say the least. But then I didn’t expect the Windies attack to be as toothless as India’s.

    • Columnist

      April 12th 2012 @ 8:33am
      Brett McKay said | April 12th 2012 @ 8:33am | ! Report

      David, it’s like the old adage where we could hold a coin up between us and have completely different views despite looking at the same thing.

      Over this Test, I saw a remarkable West Indies batting effort, followed by a high quality WI bowling effort that wrecked the Australian top order, followed by a high-risk/high-reward “all in” declaration by a daring Australian captain, followed by a high quality Australian bowling effort that wrecked the WI top order, followed by a run chase that went to the wire on a deterorating fifth day wicket.

      What’s not to love?? If matches like this one don’t enhance the image of Test cricket then nothing will…

      • April 12th 2012 @ 8:40am
        Red Kev said | April 12th 2012 @ 8:40am | ! Report

        Mr Lord just likes to take pessimism that one step further than normal; he’s the kind of guy who would look at some water in a glass and decide it was neither half-full nor half-empty but poisoned.

        Great test for mine, although sad that the West Indies couldn’t finish it off, on balance I felt they deserved the win.

      • April 12th 2012 @ 11:22am
        Claire said | April 12th 2012 @ 11:22am | ! Report

        Well said. What a strange article. How anybody could be bored by the final sessions of this Test is beyond me. To be honest, if the choice is between the Australian dominance of the India series, and unconvincing but tense wins such as this one, I’ll happily take the latter.

        • April 12th 2012 @ 7:51pm
          geno said | April 12th 2012 @ 7:51pm | ! Report

          What a brilliant test, highly entertaining was this guy even watching the same game…..

          • April 12th 2012 @ 8:11pm
            matt said | April 12th 2012 @ 8:11pm | ! Report

            here here. Sensational test, shocking article. “Roar expert” is not the term i would associate with the writer in question.

    • April 12th 2012 @ 8:38am
      Will Sinclair said | April 12th 2012 @ 8:38am | ! Report

      Fair go, David – they were batting on a crumbling 5th Day wicket in fading light…

      I thought it was a brilliant effort, and a brilliant win by the Aussies. (Although – agree that the Windies were far too negative. They seemed to be hoping they could slow the game enough for the fading light/umpires to save them.)

    • April 12th 2012 @ 8:38am
      PLANKO said | April 12th 2012 @ 8:38am | ! Report

      Seriously you were suffering from writers block. I am telling you that my employer is very happy that I don’t have foxtel !! It would have kept my attention but I love test cricket.

    • April 12th 2012 @ 8:39am
      Lolly said | April 12th 2012 @ 8:39am | ! Report

      I don’t see how you can blame Michael Clarke. He couldn’t get out there and bat for Ed Cowan and Warner and he called that declaration which so few skippers would do in the first test match of a series. And I don’t understand what you mean by ‘Every dismissal negative batting.’ when referring to Punter and Clarke. Neither of them were batting negatively. Punter got a shooter!

      Sammy on the other hand was at fault for being too negative, but his team is not used to winning or capitalising on good situations. At least they do get in them now though.

      Cowan was horrible though. Laughably so. Very much unsuited to chasing a fixed target like that.

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