Clarke, Haddin hold firm to ensure draw
by Jinu Sabastian

Ground:Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
Scorecard:Australia v West Indies
Player:CH Gayle, MG Johnson, DJ Bravo, MJ Clarke
Event:West Indies in Australia 2009/10

DateLine: 8th December 2009


After a mind-numbing thrashing that West Indies received at the hands of Australia in the first Test the tourists put up a commendable performance in the second Test to end their nine-match losing streak in Australia. Gayle who was pilloried for his insensitive remarks regarding the survival of Test cricket played a major part in the revival of West Indian team on this tour.


Though the tourists had Australia on the mat at 139 for 5 it was clear that the Windies lacked the fire-power and also the time to get the remaining five wickets. Bravo bowled his heart out while Roach bowled better than his figures suggest. Benn bowled a tight line and length but he never looked even half-threatening as he was in the first innings. Clarke once again showed how much he has grown post-Ashes 2005 debacle and after the retirement of Ponting the Australian side might have found a perfect number three batsman.


West Indies resumed their innings at 284 for 8 with the overnight batsmen Gayle and Rampaul at the crease but soon lost the latter. Rampaul (14) went for an ill-judged pull of Johnson and was cleaned up by the left-armer who took his fourth five wicket haul. Doug Bollinger finished the innings with 3 for 50 and took the final wicket, that of Roach, who edged to Ponting at second slip for 8 while Gayle was unbeaten for 165. He was the first West Indies captain to carry his bat in a Test innings, having added ten to his overnight score.


Australia in reply got off to a steady start with Watson and Katich as they put on 33 in 8.1 overs. Benn was introduced as early as the sixth over by Gayle and the tall left-arm spinner was straight-away in his stride. Katich (21) was the first one to go when he drove loosely towards extra-cover where Barath took an excellent catch diving full length to his left. In the eleventh over Gayle brought in Roach replacing Bravo but he proved to be expensive. Ponting was severe on the pacer as he drove, cut, flicked and pulled him for boundaries including a huge six over backward square leg. After lunch Rampaul got Ponting (20) to play away from his body thus getting an under-edge which deviated back onto his stumps as Australia lost their second wicket for 69.


After a horrendous mix-up between Watson and Hussey that nearly resulted in the wicket of the latter, Watson departed at the score 133. Watson (48) fell when he pulled Darren Sammy to midwicket, where Bravo took a superb catch diving to his left. Hussey still looked shaky and scratchy in the middle as he struggled for timing and placement while he was in the middle. Clarke, the captain in waiting, made it sure that he went down to his senior partner at every possible moment to calm him down. The pair took Australia to tea without much further damage but after tea disaster struck. Four balls into the final session the Australian side suffered double whammy. Bravo got one to hold its line at which Hussey (29) poked lamely, getting the outside edge and watched helplessly as the ball melted into the gloves of Ramdin. Bravo was in action again when he drew North (2) to drive loosely at a ball pitched well outside his off stump and got a thick outside edge which was taken sharply by Sarwan at first slip.


The West Indian fielding began to lift up with every passage of play and with his bowlers disciplined and bowling to a plan Gayle opted for ultra-aggressive field post-tea. Bravo made up for his lack of speed through movement off the air and off the pitch. Benn wheeled away bowling tightly but did not look like taking a wicket prompting Gayle to replace the left arm spinner with Roach who was generating pace in the mid and late 140's. Clarke (61) and Haddin (21) did well to survive 20.3 overs putting on 73 for the sixth wicket before both the sides deemed that no result was possible thus calling off the play.