Australia v West Indies, 3rd Test, Perth, 3rd day

Bravo picks Hauritz as main threat

Brydon Coverdale at the WACA

December 18, 2009

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Nathan Hauritz takes the praise for his fortunate run-out, Australia v West Indies, 2nd Test, Adelaide
Nathan Hauritz will be encouraged by the spin and turn on offer for Sulieman Benn © Getty Images

Nathan Hauritz looms as the key to Australia's victory hopes in Perth, where West Indies will need to follow the lead of South Africa last year to chase a hefty fourth-innings target. Sulieman Benn found some sharp turn in the final session on the third day as Australia struggled to 8 for 137, and Hauritz will be searching for similar spin to trouble West Indies.

Australia's lead had grown to 345 by stumps but in the back of their minds will be the chase this time last year, when AB de Villiers and JP Duminy took South Africa to a monstrous target of 414 with only four wickets down. On that occasion, Australia's spinner Jason Krejza leaked runs but Dwayne Bravo was in no doubt who Australia's main weapon could be this time.

"The wicket is playing pretty good," Bravo said. "It's not keeping low or anything like that. It's starting to turn a bit more, so I think Hauritz might play a big part for them in the second innings."

Hauritz will be encouraged by the two wickets for Benn on the third afternoon, especially a ball that turned and bounced significantly to catch the edge of Brad Haddin's bat. West Indies will also be hoping to capitalise on the pressure building on Australia to avoid a drawn series, and on individuals within the side. Hauritz always seems to be under the microscope despite solid performances over the past year, while the debutant Clint McKay will still be nervous following a wicketless first innings.

"We know the Australians are under a lot of pressure to perform well," Bravo said. "Some of the players in the team are also under pressure. That's good for us. We are looking forward to the challenge we have nothing to lose so were going to give it our best shot."

West Indies provided a remarkable fightback after they were dismissed with Australia still 208 runs in front, led by three wickets from Bravo and two from Benn. Australia remained in the ascendancy given their lead but Bravo was confident West Indies were still well and truly in the match.

"It's still balanced," he said. "We know the Australian team is a world-class team and 300-odd runs on the board, they have the self-belief in their bowling attack that they know they can take that and defend that. But we have the batters in our line-up also to chase down 360-plus runs with a day and a half to go. At this point in time we'd back ourselves to get that."

Doug Bollinger was a key man with the ball for Australia as he collected his maiden five-wicket haul to help dismiss West Indies for 312, and he could yet be an important player with the bat. Australia have two wickets in hand and will aim to add as many runs as they can. Bollinger jokingly said he'd like to set a target of 500 before unleashing Hauritz and the fast men.

"He's going to be pretty confident," Bollinger said of Hauritz. "As we saw, Benn bowled tonight and got a few to spin and bounce, which is a massive bonus for him. He'll just come out and bowl the way he normally does and the rest will look after itself. "

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

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Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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