Millennium Post

Oz down gritty Windies, draw first blood

Australia drew first blood beating the West Indies by three wickets in a thrilling finish to the first Test. Ben Hilfenhaus hit the final run with the light fading fast to give the tourists victory after the hosts had fought back to keep the game in the balance on Wednesday. A half-century from Shane Watson and a rapid 32 from Mike Hussey were the key contributions as the visitors got home in the gloom.

During the morning the West Indies had added 77 more runs to their overnight total of 71-5 to set a relatively tough target of 192. The hosts hadn’t looked like getting anywhere near that when they started the day on 71-5 and promptly lost Narsingh Deonarine lbw to Ryan Harris. Darren Sammy too went for 14 as he played a delivery late and it dropped behind him and knocked off the bails. Carlton Baugh was key to the West Indies reaching a competitive total. On 18, he edged a Ben Hilfenhaus delivery straight to first slip. Michael Clarke, who had just taken himself out of that position, crouched down in disbelief.

It wasn’t too costly as with the first ball of his next over Hilfenhaus provoked Baugh into chipping straight to Harris at mid-on and the chance was held. Fidel Edwards was next to go as he holed out to Watson at mid-off off Siddle.

West Indies last pair batted long enough for lunch to be delayed but, having added 19 runs, Kemar Roach got an inside edge off a Harris ball and it crashed into his stumps.
When they came out, the West Indies set defensive fields from the first ball as though a draw was their only hope. Ed Cowan and David Warner found it hard to score. Warner, perhaps in frustration, tried to run a Darren Sammy ball to third man but instead he got a thin edge through to Baugh.

Watson eventually settled after some narrow escapes and following the tea break both he and Cowan accelerated the scoring in a clear plan of attack. Sixty-five runs came in the next 14 overs. When Watson found the man on the boundary when he top-edged a sweep off Deonarine, he had scored 52 and Australia only needed 86 more runs.

It was the first wicket in what proved to be Deonarine’s best spell of Test bowling as he used the rough made by the bowlers’ footmarks. A straight-forward pull shot from Cowan went into the hands of mid-wicket and gave Deonarine his second dismissal and it wasn’t long before he bowled one to Ricky Ponting that stayed low and got under his bat.

Brief scores: West Indies (1st innings): 449; Australia (1st innings): 406; West Indies (2nd innings): 148; Australia (2nd innings): 192 for 7 (Shane Watson 52, E Cowan 34, Mike Hussey 32, Deonarine 4/53).
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