West Indies are having a great opportunity to draw their ongoing 3-Test Match Series against Australia after a wonderful opening day’s play at the Kensington Oval. Their bowlers had Australia on the mat at 111 for 5 but yet again failed to deliver the knockout punch which would have bundled them out cheaply. Australia eventually recovered to 226 for 7 after Symonds’ rescue act with Brad Haddin. The West Indies have the last laugh though as they got rid of Symonds just before rain provided an early finish to the day.
Chris Gayle returned back to the team after recovering from his injury. He also won the crucial toss and elected to field first on a traditionally spicy Bridgetown wicket. After a wait for 10 overs, the bowlers got their act together to put Aussies in trouble. There was a good start from the visitors with the openers – Phil Jaques and Simon Katich countering the fast bowlers. Jerome Taylor brought back Windies strongly with the wickets of Jaques (31 from 35 balls with 4 fours and a six) and Captain Ricky Ponting (18 from 21 with two sixes). Bravo then joined the party taking two wickets as Australia got reduced to 98 for 4 at lunch.
The short pitch stuff were working well for Windies and of course the Australian batsmen would go after the bowling anyway to cause their own downfall. After lunch, Fidel Edwards got the wicket of Opener Simon Katich (36 from 72 balls with 5 fours) to make it 111 for 5. This was where the bowlers could not press onto clean up the innings. They were on the receiving end for the second time from a fighting stand from Symonds and Haddin. While kudos can be given to the 87-run stand between Symonds and Haddin, one has got to say that the former has always been damn lucky to escape failures because of umpiring blunders! When on 14, Symonds had gloved an awkward Bravo delivery down the legside to the keeper. But the Umpire Mark Benson failed to give a good decision and Symonds tore the bowling apart after that.
Luck got back to West Indies not that late in the day as Brad Haddin erred in his shot selection to be lbw to left arm spinner Sulieman Benn. Haddin contributed 32 (from 66 balls with 6 fours) in the 6th wicket of 87. Four overs later, West Indies got the damger man Symonds as well through Bravo before rain gave an early day off to the deserving bowlers. Bravo was the pick with 3 for 61 while all other bowlers did their part in sustaining the pressure. Earlier, Australia gave Test Debut to 25-year-old left arm chinaman bowler Beau Casson. This New South Wales spinner is the replacement for the recently retired Stuart MacGil. Casson is also the overnight batsman along with Brett Lee as Australia were at 226 for 7 in 56.4 overs at stumps.
Originally posted 2008-06-12 06:46:09.