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Australia still can win SCG Test

5th January, 2016
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Look at that face. Is this whole fiasco really his fault? (AAP Image/Carol Cho)
Expert
5th January, 2016
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Has rain ruined the SCG Test between Australia and the West Indies? With a victory crucial to their hot pursuit of the number one Test ranking, will Australia try some funky tactics in an effort to force a result?

So far, 184 overs have been lost to inclement weather. There is further rain forecast for today, but it mainly is just showers and in the morning.

With a bit of luck, and extended play, there could be as many as 60 to 70 overs possible today. The forecast is clear for Day 5 and, with an early start, some lost overs will be made up.

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So we could still have as many as 160 overs left in this Test. Maybe, just maybe, that could be enough time for Australia to add some belated intrigue to the match and this lopsided series.

After what has been a disappointingly boring summer of Test cricket, we could yet be in for some engrossing passages of play.

At 7-248, the West Indies’ long tail already has been exposed. Kemar Roach, presently at the crease, Jerome Taylor and Jomel Warrican all are genuine number 11 batsmen.

Australia will get a crack at them today with a hard, shiny ball only six overs old. They may well be able to clean up the last three wickets within about 12 overs, limiting the West Indies to say 280.

Then, with perhaps 45 overs left in the day, Australia will have the luxury of batting as though it is a limited-overs match.

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There is no reason they could not almost level the scores by the end of play, scoring between 240 and 260 runs in that time.

At say 30 runs behind, Smith would then have the option of declaring overnight so as not to lose any overs in the change of innings.

That would leave Australia perhaps 96 overs to bowl out the West Indies and then chase down a total.

The way Australia’s bowlers have cut through the West Indian batting line-up this series makes it entirely possible they could roll them in the second innings for 200 in, say, 55 overs, setting up a tantalising chase of 230 from just under 40 overs.

Now, there scarcely could be more speculation in this story so far. But if you think it through like this, there is still a genuine chance of this match being in an engrossing situation late on Day 5.

Aside from the weather, the great unknown is how the West Indies will perform. They have steadily improved over the course of this series and if they play with tenacity for the remainder of this Test then there definitely will not be a result.

But the Windies have turned in some famously insipid performances over the past decade and, with their tour all but over now, they may return to the field after a two-day rain break with their minds elsewhere.

There would seem much less chance the Australians will fall into such a trap on the final two days of their Test summer.

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With the majority of the Australian team early in their careers and surely desperate to cement their positions long term, will we see some inspired individual performances from the Australians?

Will we see the match still up for grabs heading into the final session? Or am I simply a delusional cricket numpty?

Only address those first two questions Roarers, the final one is rhetorical.