Friday, April 13, 2012

Incredible Win in Bridgetown

This match at Kensington Oval, being the first of the series between the West Indies and Australia, really had it all! It swung either way, looking like a Windies win, petering out to a slow run crawl, a couple of rain delays, then was surely destined for a draw, had two stunning innings declarations at 9 for, and then, amazingly, reached the final chapter with an Aussie win!

The first 2 days saw the West Indies bat through, having won the toss. The highlight was Sammy's courageous captain's knock, even taking some blows to his helmet in the process. His declaration at 9 for 449 had the local fans very excited, with a sense of the return for this team to the greatest of old.

Returning to Kensington Oval on Day 3 to watch the Australian team bat, we kept to much the same pace as the West Indies, although without the same luxury of time. The last session featuring a rain delay, and then a premature end of the day due to bad light, the mood of the ground was sensing a draw.

With the West Indian bowling attack having the upper hand for the start of Day 4, the success of Australian newly-crowned all-rounder, Ryan Harris, steadied the ship by imparting a lengthy tail wag. The Aussie attack in the form of Hilfenhaus tore the WI top order apart, and changed the path of the game again. Harris, returning to the ground as the fast bowler that is his main role, took 3, leading him to win Man of the Match.

Sadly, yesterday was marred for me with the return of the illness I fought off just before coming away. Thus, the last day for me consisted of this view from our hotel room balcony in St Lawrence Gap, and the radio commentary. Through the lingering West Indies innings, and then the slow pace of both teams, a draw was back on the cards. A lengthy rain delay gave the home side some hope once more of the draw, and then the standard wicket collapse from our batsman that seems to be characteristic of the current order did not help matters, before once again Harris and Hilfenhaus were called upon to save the match for the Australians. A victory by 3 wickets.

Test match cricket is alive and well, with games like these! This is what it's all about!

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