16 April 2012
After a really hard day of batting for our boys on day 1, the confidence heading into day 2 was that Michael Hussey was still unbeaten. After Shane Watson and Michael Clarke were able to steer us into some kind of a reasonable position on day 1, it was definitely enough of a foundation for Hussey to come in, challenge himself and advance our innings.
Heading into day 3 we're in a very strong position. The Windies will be glad they have their two best batsmen at the crease so it's still going to require plenty of hard work and tactical adjustment from Michael Clarke and his bowlers.
Rain and bad light will continue to be a concern but I am very pleased with the way things went in the end. A decent total is on the board and the lead is 262 runs and the Windies have 7 wickets in hand. Game on.
Full scorecard via ESPN Cricinfo.com
- Australian 1st innings: 311 all out from 135 overs. Michael Hussey 73 (207), Shane Watson 56 (172), Michael Clarke 45 (99).
- West Indies 1st innings: 3-49. Ben Hilfenhaus 1-12, Michael Beer 1-22, James Pattinson 1-6.
Matt Wade was caught behind early on in the day, leaving Michael Hussey with the usual duty to bat with the tail end batsmen. He is the best in the game when it comes to that responsibility and he's able to put an incredible amount of self-belief into whoever bats alongside him. For day 2 of the 2nd Test he built a partnership with James Pattinson.
Pattinson has never been a push over with the bat in hand. By the same token he had a mammoth amount of luck on his side, which is a given in a lengthy Test innings. He flashed at many deliveries but the edge was never found. The Windies also created their own misfortune when Huss was dropped on day 1 and then a stumping was missed for day 2. The bounce was tough for Carlton Baugh but his standards have been high this series so it would have been a let down. Any chance to get Huss needs to be taken by the opposition.
A reason I have always valued Huss down the order is it allows him to play with all the elements that have made him such an entertaining yet classy cricketer in any form of the game. He can bat with patience and caution to build his innings and add security to the batting line-up. He also has a licence when the time is right to attack in terms of his own temperament. Best of all is how he can control his own game even when he has a lower order batsman alongside him and not lose confidence. It's a special skill and we'll miss it one day.
His dismissal came having made 73 runs from 207 deliveries at a strike-rate of 35.26. It was a bizarre shot from him having really put in the time but it was 73 runs that was needed. He'll be livid with pushed cover drive he played but he probably gave James Pattinson some good advice and confidence in the middle.
Maybe that confidence ran out as soon as Huss departed because he got a top edge off Shane Shillingford's bowling the very next over. The Windies nearly made a mess of the catch but it was claimed and he was out for 32 runs having occupied plenty of time at the crease. As mentioned, it was runs and we'll wait to see how important their partnership of 89 runs is going to be.
Ben Hilfenhaus and Nathan Lyon were able to get us over the 300 run mark which was important. Hilfy was bowled again by Kemar Roach getting cramped for room and Michael Beer was LBW for 2 runs.
Well done to Roach for his 5 wicket haul, his *3rd in his career. He tested our batsmen and that delivery on day 1 that removed Ricky Ponting was just an absolute beauty.
The shot of the innings:
What do you know! It was a six by Huss to the deep midwicket region. You may have seen him a smack a just a few sixes to that area down on one knee against spin bowlers during his career.
The tactic from Michael Clarke was immediate. Give the new ball to Michael Beer and kick things off with spin. One slip and two men around the bat displayed lovely aggression from Clarkey. He created immediate challenges for the Windies and then Ben Hilfenhaus was brought in to operate from the 2nd over and there was no shortage of swing for him by any means!
He picked up Kraigg Brathwaite with a smart delivery to claim him LBW for a duck. Brathwaite was moving across his stumps to counter-attack the swing from Hilfy but he was a step ahead of Brathwaite to trap him LBW in line.
It was a tidy start from him and his control of the swing was good. He also mixed his line up a bit so there was little predictability. Really proud of him with the way he's come back.
Michael Beer took his well deserved wicket not long after as he removed the talented Adrian Barath out plumb LBW as well. It was his 2nd Test wicket having only made one appearance during the 2010/11 Ashes series where he took 1/112. He bowled exceptionally well during his 9.3 overs.
The Windies began to get some rhythm but James Pattinson was brought into the attack to add some variation and he struck with his first ball. A review would have turned it around but Kieran Powell didn't take the chance. Damage done and the Windies were 3 down with 7 in the bag.
Pattinson was able to swing it both ways with immediate effect but it took him a while to find his control as he made his Victorian team mate Matt Wade dive from side to side during the 18th over. Not easy to negotiate as a batsman no matter how wayward it may be cause the one that is suddenly perfect can be what wraps up your stay at the crease, something Mitchell Johnson does so well in ODI cricket. Pattinson did find the control required and remained economical to maintain pressure. The Windies had to dig deep so see out the day.
All in all I was mighty impressed with our bowlers. Each and every guy did his part and to have the Windies 3 down by close of play was essential to get into day 3 with an advantage. Time and bad light worries may be the concern but we all know how quickly this great game can turn around.
350 was going to be the ideal target for the 1st innings but 311 runs seems to be competitive enough. I really feel the boys gave it their best shot to get those runs and I am confident our bowlers will be able to defend it come day 3 and ensure a decent lead. Shiv Chanderpaul and Darren Bravo are the Windies best batsmen so the bowlers will have some hard work early on tomorrow.
The rainfall resulted in a lengthy delay where a fair bit of game time was lost. As mentioned yesterday this also hasn't been an easy track for the batsmen either. The Windies also struggled. It's tested everyone's concentration, composure and technique. The hard grafting was evident seeing the strike-rates.
The test of the wicket and time loss has been a direct result for the low run rate and the batsmen can't be faulted. Michael Hussey usually adapts quickly to his surroundings so seeing the manner of his innings was a good indication that this was simply the nature of the track.
The key test is plain and simply going to be how the two spin bowlers; Nathan Lyon and Michael Beer, make the step up as this is certainly the focal point for both teams having been given sufficient indication this track would benefit spin. So far, it was a delight to watch both of them go about their business.
Michael Clarke can also call on his bowling abilities but there is also David Warner with his leg spin.
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