WI v Australia, 1st Test, Bridgetown, 4th day April 10, 2012

Harris turns the tide

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Drive of the day

Ryan Harris had managed one early boundary, a flash between slips and gully, but the best indicator of what was to come arrived when Darren Sammy pitched full and straight. This was a pitch on which most of the Australian batsmen had found driving difficult but Harris met the ball with a beautiful full face of the bat and timed it between the umpire and the non-striker for a pristine boundary. He was to be in for the longest haul of his Test career, dragging Australia into a position from which defeat was made far less likely than victory.

Swat of the day

Matthew Wade spent a teeth-gritting 97 balls and 125 minutes over his debut innings of 28, and was distraught when it ended with a flat-footed drive at Fidel Edwards and an edge to Darren Bravo at second slip. His first reaction was to swat his bat angrily in the general direction of the stumps, going close to emulating Curtly Ambrose on this ground in the fourth Test against England in 1994, or Chris Broad against Australia in the 1988 Bicentenary Test at the SCG - two more famous instances of a dismissed batsman whacking his wicket out of the ground. By missing them, Wade was also likely to have avoided an appointment with the match referee, Jeff Crowe.

Declaration of the day

For 77 runs and 25.4 overs, Harris and Nathan Lyon frustrated the life out of the West Indies bowlers and fieldsmen, pushing the innings past a delayed lunch, then drinks, and finally to the outskirts of tea. Michael Clarke watched much of the stand in his whites from the team viewing area, clearly mulling over the best time to declare should the last pair not be separated. In the end he waited until there was time for a mere five overs before the interval, a period the home openers stood to gain little but lose a lot. As he has so often proven during his captaincy so far, Clarke's timing was impeccable. A tired and muddled West Indian top order gave up three wickets to the precision of Ben Hilfenhaus, as the visitors made the very most of the movement and variable bounce offered to them by the new ball.

Plan B of the day

Save for Lyon's spin, Australia's first innings angle of attack to Shivnarine Chanderpaul had been primarily from over the wicket. By the time he marched off the ground with an unbeaten 103 to his name, the tourists conceded via Shane Watson that a new approach was needed. Bowling to him a second time around with the ball still new, Hilfenhaus and Harris whirred in at Chanderpaul from around the wicket, negating his opportunities to deflect through the offside and offering the possibility of an outside edge if the ball grabbed at any of the rough. Harris would carry out the plan to perfection, squaring up Chanderpaul with a ball that angled in then straightened, taking a clear edge through to Matthew Wade.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | April 11, 2012, 4:25 GMT

    Congratulations to Michael Clarke for taking advantage of the work Harris and Lyon put in and seizing the initiative with a brilliantly timed declaration. Clarke shows real leadership, so different from the indecisiveness of Ponting. Yes, the lower order gave him the opportunity, but he jumped in and made the most of it. Test cricket is fun to watch when Clarke's captain.

  • POSTED BY sidzy on | April 11, 2012, 2:03 GMT

    BOY OH BOY MICHAEL CLARKE THE BEST CAPTION I HAVE EVER WATCHED....

  • POSTED BY Mikecricket on | April 11, 2012, 0:15 GMT

    Great stuff from Harris his 60notout might haved saved the Aussies here!

  • POSTED BY Meety on | April 10, 2012, 23:41 GMT

    Wade's innings of 28 may not go down in the history books as a great innings (I was backing him for a ton on debut - LOL!), but the application he showed was top notch. He fell nearly 20 overs after the new ball was taken, which I felt shielded the tail perfectly well & he should get some credit for the late innings wag. The only concern I had is that he appeared uncomfortable against the short ball, which is not what I would of expected. All & all, well played matey! == == == Pup nailed the declaration perfectly. I think that was perfect mind games, although the timing ultimately was made possible by Harris & Lyon.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | April 11, 2012, 4:25 GMT

    Congratulations to Michael Clarke for taking advantage of the work Harris and Lyon put in and seizing the initiative with a brilliantly timed declaration. Clarke shows real leadership, so different from the indecisiveness of Ponting. Yes, the lower order gave him the opportunity, but he jumped in and made the most of it. Test cricket is fun to watch when Clarke's captain.

  • POSTED BY sidzy on | April 11, 2012, 2:03 GMT

    BOY OH BOY MICHAEL CLARKE THE BEST CAPTION I HAVE EVER WATCHED....

  • POSTED BY Mikecricket on | April 11, 2012, 0:15 GMT

    Great stuff from Harris his 60notout might haved saved the Aussies here!

  • POSTED BY Meety on | April 10, 2012, 23:41 GMT

    Wade's innings of 28 may not go down in the history books as a great innings (I was backing him for a ton on debut - LOL!), but the application he showed was top notch. He fell nearly 20 overs after the new ball was taken, which I felt shielded the tail perfectly well & he should get some credit for the late innings wag. The only concern I had is that he appeared uncomfortable against the short ball, which is not what I would of expected. All & all, well played matey! == == == Pup nailed the declaration perfectly. I think that was perfect mind games, although the timing ultimately was made possible by Harris & Lyon.

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  • POSTED BY Meety on | April 10, 2012, 23:41 GMT

    Wade's innings of 28 may not go down in the history books as a great innings (I was backing him for a ton on debut - LOL!), but the application he showed was top notch. He fell nearly 20 overs after the new ball was taken, which I felt shielded the tail perfectly well & he should get some credit for the late innings wag. The only concern I had is that he appeared uncomfortable against the short ball, which is not what I would of expected. All & all, well played matey! == == == Pup nailed the declaration perfectly. I think that was perfect mind games, although the timing ultimately was made possible by Harris & Lyon.

  • POSTED BY Mikecricket on | April 11, 2012, 0:15 GMT

    Great stuff from Harris his 60notout might haved saved the Aussies here!

  • POSTED BY sidzy on | April 11, 2012, 2:03 GMT

    BOY OH BOY MICHAEL CLARKE THE BEST CAPTION I HAVE EVER WATCHED....

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | April 11, 2012, 4:25 GMT

    Congratulations to Michael Clarke for taking advantage of the work Harris and Lyon put in and seizing the initiative with a brilliantly timed declaration. Clarke shows real leadership, so different from the indecisiveness of Ponting. Yes, the lower order gave him the opportunity, but he jumped in and made the most of it. Test cricket is fun to watch when Clarke's captain.