WI v Australia, 1st Test, Bridgetown, 5th day April 11, 2012

Courage and fear in the gloaming

The Barbados Test demonstrated the lesson that some Test match victories cannot be obtained without first risking defeat
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In the Kensington Oval gloaming, familiar to all who had been here for the unhappy conclusion to the 2007 World Cup final, Australia's cricketers gave themselves a far more edifying memory of victory in Barbados. In doing so they also gave the world a stirring reminder of Test cricket's capacity for the wondrous. The heroes in the dying light were Michael Hussey, Matthew Wade, Ryan Harris and Ben Hilfenhaus, all scrounging out priceless runs as the target of 192 was reached in 47 overs. The theoretical final hour had not yet begun, but given the retreat of the sun behind the Greenidge and Haynes Stand, there would scarcely have been time for another six balls.

The man who deserved as much credit for the result, and the way it was so enterprisingly pursued, was the captain Michael Clarke. It was he who on the third evening refused to concede a win was beyond his team's grasp even as they limped to 248 for five, still well short of the hosts' studiously compiled first innings. And it was Clarke who declared behind shortly before tea on day four, after his tail had responded grandly to the goal of scraping to within 50 runs of the West Indies total. At tea on the final day, after an inert afternoon session, Clarke briefed his men on how the target would be chased. Given what followed, his words cannot have been a million miles from those famously exchanged between Don Bradman and Richie Benaud at the final break in the 1960 tied Test in Brisbane.

The visitors chased the game boldly, even ravenously, on resumption. Shane Watson hammered boundaries and a six, Ricky Ponting reverse swept, and even the obdurate Ed Cowan roused himself from two hours of afternoon torpor to pull his first delivery in the evening session to the square leg fence. Hussey's innings in particular was a masterpiece in miniature, resembling his contribution to a similarly adventurous Ashes win over England at Adelaide Oval in 2006, or his blazing innings to win a World Twenty20 semi-final over Pakistan in St Lucia in 2010. His play told of a desire, and a belief, that outstrips most Test match opponents. Arguably, nowhere in the world is the yearning to perform for one's country stronger than Australia, even as Twenty20's marketeers chase its best players with evermore corporate cash.

It also demonstrated the lesson that some Test match victories cannot be obtained without first risking defeat. Courage is required to act on that realisation. More than ten years and the entire span of Allan Border's captaincy passed before the modern Australia team learned that properly. In Bridgetown, Michael Clarke's team showed Darren Sammy's West Indies the rich rewards that can be obtained by taking that very risk.

Sammy and the coach Ottis Gibson are in a similar place to that occupied by Border and Bob Simpson in the mid-1980s. They are trying to reinvigorate and educate a team that has seemingly become all too de-sensitised to defeat, and have introduced young players with the hope of steeling them for future battles. Basic lessons are being learned, though global Twenty20 competitions are stripping the team of capable players just as the South African rebel tours hamstrung Border.

But pragmatism outstripped their opportunism by such a wide margin on the final day, characterised by defensive fields and flagrant time wasting. There was an apparent reluctance to believe, even when Narsingh Deonarine's burst of four wickets had given them a window to Australia's tail, that the hosts could win it themselves. They fiddled over field settings designed largely to contain, dithered over drinks and complained repeatedly about the footmarks, though the umpires Tony Hill and Ian Gould had the good sense not to indulge their delaying tactics, nor to spend too much time pondering over the light as the result crept near. Gibson's plan for this team is clear, but it will be a welcome day when Sammy has the confidence in his players to lead them with more flair than forbearance over five days.

Test cricket, of course, needs days like this: when the IPL fades into triviality and the competing football codes into routine. Crowds and television viewers cannot fail to watch matches this compelling, with a backdrop like Barbados offering all the comforts of warmth, sun and no little history. By chasing victory so admirably, Australia chased a wider audience for their game, and a richer place for themselves in the story of its continued survival.

As Harris and Hilfenhaus scampered the winning run, the Australian balcony rose to cheer them, and the players embraced in a spontaneous moment of relief and jubilation. They have beaten better sides under Clarke, and won other games in difficult circumstances. This, though, was a performance in which a growing sense of belief was given the chance to burgeon further and become sustained, so that few of Clarke's XI will fear defeat the next time they set out in search of victory. They have come a long way since Clarke became captain, and there is still plenty to improve upon - seven catches went down to provide a salient reminder. But the confidence of the team is now at a level where the nations above them can start to be worried. The word unshakeable comes to mind.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • zenboomerang on April 14, 2012, 2:23 GMT

    @mikey76... If you have come onto an Oz/WI article just to sledge, then you have missed your mark by a long way.... SA is now the world no.1 team (on series countback)... Oz beat SL at their home with a series win... Eng lost their last series in the WI's against this "supposedly" weak WI team & got bowled out for 51 against average spin... Oz has 1 top 10 (world rankings) batsman as does Eng & Oz 2 top 10 bowlers - not bad for "your" average players... This doesn't mean that I think Oz is any more than a top 5 team atm but we are improving... Also putting down the WI's as a weak team isn't helping England fans image & the WI's are touring their soon - it may come back to bite you...

  • Rooboy on April 13, 2012, 14:04 GMT

    @mikey76 - it's all just just a matter of opinion, but in mine, Aus probably lose the next Ashes in a close contest (and the english carry on like winning a home series is a massive achievement, such is the chip on their shoulder when it comes to Australia's dominance over them the two decades past), but from then on your time is up. And ... umm ... I think Aus fans have slightly a bit bit more than Adelaide 06 to live off when it comes to Ashes series in my lifetime of following cricket. I totally agree Cowan is not looking up to it, although criticism of his 'go slow' knock last test shows some people dont understand test cricket. Agree the Aus batting is a worry but I get the feeling we won't need too many massive scores with the attack that is developing. Cummins is the most exciting prospect since Philander lol. And my contempt for swann has nothing to do with Warne, more to do with seeing swann bowl in Aus conditions and realising he's not up to it

  • sarathy_m2 on April 13, 2012, 12:58 GMT

    @Parikshit Kulkarni, Felt similar, but I watched from 7 - 11 pm only.

  • Meety on April 13, 2012, 11:31 GMT

    @mikey76 - Cowan IMO is better suited to playing in England than in the WIndies. He'll do a lot better of their than what you would imagine. As for the Swann comment - where has anybody bagged him? Rooboys comment was in response to borderline trolling by presumably a Pom. No jealousy of Swann from what I've seen - although I would look fwd to Oz articles more if Swanny was an Ozzy, the interviews would be hilarious.

  • mikey76 on April 13, 2012, 8:23 GMT

    @Rooboy. Just like the aussies are living off Adelaide 06 because they know they aint gonna win an ashes series in a while. And trying to big up Lyon the groundsman is hilarious. If he has 182 wickets from 41 tests (if he plays that many) then I'll eat my cricket box! Your refusal to acknowledge Swann's class because of petty jealousy now that Warne has retired is pretty sad. Have you stopped to consider who is going to replace Ponting & Hussey in the next couple of years? Because the players you've tried out haven't exactly looked the part. And then there is Cowan who looks sub-standard. Coming to England is going to be a lot harder than touring the caribbean.

  • on April 13, 2012, 6:47 GMT

    @Parikshit Kulkarni

    Great post, mate. Good on ya!!

  • Meety on April 13, 2012, 5:44 GMT

    On a side note - how hard was it to look up "gloaming"!!!! I assumed it meant something like gloom or darkness, wasn't too far wrong it would make a great title for a novel I want to write about vampires!

  • Rooboy on April 13, 2012, 3:10 GMT

    @RednWhiteArmy - so england drew a series against a SL side that Aus dominated just a few months ago? Without rain Aus win that series at least 2-0, certainly didn't look like losing a test as eng did. And do you think Aus will drop 7 catches in a test again any time soon? They created the chances to win this in easier fashion and when all you've got is bagging a team that WON for not winning convincingly enough, well, you ain't got much. Normal Aus-Eng service will be resumed soon, maybe not next Ashes but shortly thereafter, and then all you'll have is your few months at number 1. A bit like how the english fans lived off '81 etc all through the late '80s, all the 90's, and early 2000's. I can understand why you're talking it up while you still can. @HRman - the 'step and fetch' spin of Lyon has resulted in him having a better average than 'the best current spinner in the world' (lol) at the same time in his career.

  • on April 13, 2012, 1:19 GMT

    You don't have to pan IPL to exemply test cricket. Both forms can coexist. You must watch the CSK match of yday!

  • on April 13, 2012, 0:22 GMT

    @Giovaughn Wilson: I'm sorry but complaining about the umpiring does seem like sour grapes to me. There is no need for such comments when WI have been putting up a great fight in tests for the last few months. The umpiring in this match was exceptional 100% right. For me, it was obvious that both Clarke and Wade had bat involved because you could see the ball deviating and the seam changing direction. Surely not straightforward without HotSpot but I certainly believe the right decisions were made. Wade would have been very aggrieved if that had been given out!

  • zenboomerang on April 14, 2012, 2:23 GMT

    @mikey76... If you have come onto an Oz/WI article just to sledge, then you have missed your mark by a long way.... SA is now the world no.1 team (on series countback)... Oz beat SL at their home with a series win... Eng lost their last series in the WI's against this "supposedly" weak WI team & got bowled out for 51 against average spin... Oz has 1 top 10 (world rankings) batsman as does Eng & Oz 2 top 10 bowlers - not bad for "your" average players... This doesn't mean that I think Oz is any more than a top 5 team atm but we are improving... Also putting down the WI's as a weak team isn't helping England fans image & the WI's are touring their soon - it may come back to bite you...

  • Rooboy on April 13, 2012, 14:04 GMT

    @mikey76 - it's all just just a matter of opinion, but in mine, Aus probably lose the next Ashes in a close contest (and the english carry on like winning a home series is a massive achievement, such is the chip on their shoulder when it comes to Australia's dominance over them the two decades past), but from then on your time is up. And ... umm ... I think Aus fans have slightly a bit bit more than Adelaide 06 to live off when it comes to Ashes series in my lifetime of following cricket. I totally agree Cowan is not looking up to it, although criticism of his 'go slow' knock last test shows some people dont understand test cricket. Agree the Aus batting is a worry but I get the feeling we won't need too many massive scores with the attack that is developing. Cummins is the most exciting prospect since Philander lol. And my contempt for swann has nothing to do with Warne, more to do with seeing swann bowl in Aus conditions and realising he's not up to it

  • sarathy_m2 on April 13, 2012, 12:58 GMT

    @Parikshit Kulkarni, Felt similar, but I watched from 7 - 11 pm only.

  • Meety on April 13, 2012, 11:31 GMT

    @mikey76 - Cowan IMO is better suited to playing in England than in the WIndies. He'll do a lot better of their than what you would imagine. As for the Swann comment - where has anybody bagged him? Rooboys comment was in response to borderline trolling by presumably a Pom. No jealousy of Swann from what I've seen - although I would look fwd to Oz articles more if Swanny was an Ozzy, the interviews would be hilarious.

  • mikey76 on April 13, 2012, 8:23 GMT

    @Rooboy. Just like the aussies are living off Adelaide 06 because they know they aint gonna win an ashes series in a while. And trying to big up Lyon the groundsman is hilarious. If he has 182 wickets from 41 tests (if he plays that many) then I'll eat my cricket box! Your refusal to acknowledge Swann's class because of petty jealousy now that Warne has retired is pretty sad. Have you stopped to consider who is going to replace Ponting & Hussey in the next couple of years? Because the players you've tried out haven't exactly looked the part. And then there is Cowan who looks sub-standard. Coming to England is going to be a lot harder than touring the caribbean.

  • on April 13, 2012, 6:47 GMT

    @Parikshit Kulkarni

    Great post, mate. Good on ya!!

  • Meety on April 13, 2012, 5:44 GMT

    On a side note - how hard was it to look up "gloaming"!!!! I assumed it meant something like gloom or darkness, wasn't too far wrong it would make a great title for a novel I want to write about vampires!

  • Rooboy on April 13, 2012, 3:10 GMT

    @RednWhiteArmy - so england drew a series against a SL side that Aus dominated just a few months ago? Without rain Aus win that series at least 2-0, certainly didn't look like losing a test as eng did. And do you think Aus will drop 7 catches in a test again any time soon? They created the chances to win this in easier fashion and when all you've got is bagging a team that WON for not winning convincingly enough, well, you ain't got much. Normal Aus-Eng service will be resumed soon, maybe not next Ashes but shortly thereafter, and then all you'll have is your few months at number 1. A bit like how the english fans lived off '81 etc all through the late '80s, all the 90's, and early 2000's. I can understand why you're talking it up while you still can. @HRman - the 'step and fetch' spin of Lyon has resulted in him having a better average than 'the best current spinner in the world' (lol) at the same time in his career.

  • on April 13, 2012, 1:19 GMT

    You don't have to pan IPL to exemply test cricket. Both forms can coexist. You must watch the CSK match of yday!

  • on April 13, 2012, 0:22 GMT

    @Giovaughn Wilson: I'm sorry but complaining about the umpiring does seem like sour grapes to me. There is no need for such comments when WI have been putting up a great fight in tests for the last few months. The umpiring in this match was exceptional 100% right. For me, it was obvious that both Clarke and Wade had bat involved because you could see the ball deviating and the seam changing direction. Surely not straightforward without HotSpot but I certainly believe the right decisions were made. Wade would have been very aggrieved if that had been given out!

  • Harry_Kool on April 12, 2012, 23:48 GMT

    Actually gagagaga, from #1 to #4 in 9 months, they did lose it last August, and on percentages, the Aussies have just gone past India with 2 tests remaining. @Meety, about right, the Saffers would be my #1, but I would have them more than just a little ahead of the Poms. And the Poms just ahead of us, but staggering to hold on. The series against the Boks should make the food chain a little more clearer. I would have Pakistan ahead of India based on their current form. They are genuine contenders for the top spot, where India will now struggle to hold onto 5th when Pakistan pass them. The Indian transition plan has been a non event &, IMHO, will see the consequences hit them hard when their legends leave the game.

  • leggetinoz on April 12, 2012, 22:36 GMT

    I think Clarke has shown one thing to those who say test match is boring and T20 is where it is at (which it isn't as it rewards the mediocre). It is not the game of test cricket that can make tests boring it is the people playing and more importantly the captain. Many thought this match would peter out into a dull draw but Clarke thought differently and turned it into one really exciting test match. Hopefully other captains take note and we can get the focus on tests again.

  • orangtan on April 12, 2012, 21:50 GMT

    @Parikshit Kulkarni, you are a true cricket fan, keep it up, I have been trying to do the same from Singapore, lol !!

  • on April 12, 2012, 17:55 GMT

    You know whats a 'Great Test Match' ? 2 teams, none of which belong to your country play the game for 5 days & You watch it live all 5 days at un-earthly hours (7 pm to 3 am) after you've arrived home tired from day's work & again struggle to wake up at 7 am next morning to reach office. Every day begins with 'anticipation' of what would unfold on the pitch that day .. 'thrill' when its actually happening out there .. & 'suspense' at the end of day. Then at the very end of it all you experience contrasting feelings, that of 'Exhilaration' for the 'courage, character & will to win' of one of the teams that enrich the sport ...& 'Heartache' for what could have been for the other team. And the next day, You realise you are exhibiting withdrawal symptoms when you turn in to know whats the score ? DUNNO HOW AM I GONNA SPEND TIME UNTIL SUNDAY EVENING !!!!

  • on April 12, 2012, 16:12 GMT

    Poor tactics by the WI bowling coach and Sammy. Keeping Deonarine on so long was a mistake. Yes he got the wickets but with the WI record of pulling out a victory and the match tilting in Aus favor in light that is about to fade, Edwards should be bowling with Roach. Edwards should have bowled at least 3 overs. Then it would have been a drawn match or a WI victory. The pace bowlers would have clean Aus up or if they did not light would have been an issue because the Edwards overs would have taken twice as long as Deonarine. With another 10 minutes for Edwards' overs and it would have been different picture. Australia would have panicked because time was going and light fading.

  • HRman on April 12, 2012, 16:05 GMT

    As usual a typical one eyed aussie view. a team with the walking wickets of warner & cowan. plus the step and fetch it spin of lyon and untried wicket keeper have a long way to go before they beat england at home or away.

  • on April 12, 2012, 15:42 GMT

    So Near yet so far. It seems Gibson & Sammy need to hire a good obeah man lol. They too unlucky. Kicking ball onto the stumps, Dropped catch of Roach at gully & almost none of the reviews going in our favor and when they do they get overturned.

  • on April 12, 2012, 15:41 GMT

    I wonder If the Coach had a chat with the 3rd umpire / match referee ( a la Andy Flower) because 2 reviews decisions that went our way against Clarke & Wade were reviewed by the Australians & they were overturned . Did either of the replays show the umpire making an obvious mistake? Not from what i saw. If they didnt then on what basis were the on-field umpires decisions over ruled? The Match would have been a lot more interesting if Australia had to get those 67 runs. 52 runs gifted to Clarke & 15 runs gifted to Wade by the 3rd umpire.

  • jonesy2 on April 12, 2012, 15:37 GMT

    if this wasnt already the best team on the planet it sure is now. seems nothing can stop them. sure is going to sweet to go over and smash england next year. this has the potential to be one of the very great teams in test cricket with the likes of pattinson, marsh's, cummins, burns, khawaja, lynn waiting and waiting

  • unregisteredalien on April 12, 2012, 15:23 GMT

    @RednWhiteArmy, I can't wait for that contest. How are you feeling? Sounds to me like you're a bit nervous. I look forward to resuming this conversation with you once it gets started, if you're still around.

  • Robertjohn on April 12, 2012, 14:01 GMT

    Someone said "Gayle puts hits bank account ahead of his country".... maybe that is a part of his problem. His country doesn't play test cricket, nor does the current test team. I wonder how tempting IPL $ are when you are playing with 5 different countries and call it a test playing nation.

  • gagagaga on April 12, 2012, 13:54 GMT

    1 more win and Aus takes the number three ranking spot outright. India goes from number 1 to 4 in 18 months. Might be time for a change. The problem is, that wheel is very slow in turning at the frustration of all Indians supports.

  • Micgyver on April 12, 2012, 13:31 GMT

    As much as i love Ponting and his fighting leadership qualities whether in the field or with the bat, Clarke to me seems like a natural born tactician and sums up the game as good as anyone who has captained their country.

  • Moppa on April 12, 2012, 13:25 GMT

    I'm a massive fan of Clarke's captaincy, but are we all missing the point by focusing on the declaration? After all, we were 9 down and a good chance of losing that wicket at any moment. I think the more notable thing was the strategy employed in the 4th innings - playing safe until tea and then attacking definitely reduced the risk of losing and, paradoxically, increased the chance of a win by allowing Watson, Hussey etc to attack with freedom. In that vein, I think the criticism of Cowan is unfair - surely he was under instructions....?

  • orangtan on April 12, 2012, 13:07 GMT

    @Ramesh Shotham plaidoyer, hmmm impressive, but citing Pietersen's panegyric for the IPL does not validate it, nothing snide about it, the IPL brand of cricket is childish compared to the real McCoy, the Test genre.

  • on April 12, 2012, 11:35 GMT

    A great test match. WI played well, they were competitive & press the Aussies to the max. However when u play the 'BIG GUNNERS' u have to be consistent thru out, u cannot afford to perform poorly in a session expect to win. WI did just that & lost the match. U really would want to say Clarke is a great captain. But my question is how do they know us so well? Call the declaration a gamble, a calculated risk, a well planned move, call it what u wish. How do they know us so well? Maybe u call it CONFIDENCE!

  • mikey76 on April 12, 2012, 11:26 GMT

    @RandyOz. I think you'll find we won the last test in SL. And the so called weakest captain in world cricket was good enough to see off your bunch last winter....with ease I might add. Graeme Smith is probably the worse captain, he wouldn't know what going for the jugular meant. Beating a weak WI by this narrow margin says a lot for Clarke's captaincy but not a lot for the individual skills of this side. Batting still weak and bowling pretty average.

  • dinosaurus on April 12, 2012, 11:08 GMT

    Two comments. Dan reminded us of the total farce of the World Cup final in 2007. It was a wonderful match highlighted by a truly magnificent innings from Adam Gilchrist. The finish was totally spoiled (I wonder how the sponsors felt about their presence at the presentation taking place in the dark) by what looked like a desperate attempt by the umpires to think of some way to deny the Aussies victory and have them return the next day (right from the very start of ODIs 20 overs can constitute a completed innings). For whatever reason, the match seems to have slipped off the radar totally. I guess the Aussies have just had altogether too much success at 50 over World Cup cricket, it's become boring for other nations to watch.

    But this was a truly significant victory. WI is not as weak as their ranking suggests. England still has the wood on the Aussies, but I'm expecting a tough contest next time.

  • RednWhiteArmy on April 12, 2012, 10:26 GMT

    So the aussies fell over the line after being dominated for large periods of the game by the 8th ranked test nation....good luck against England in England, you'll need it.

    Can already see it...

    Warner c Swann b Anderson 0 (1)

  • Brickston on April 12, 2012, 10:07 GMT

    Hindsight is a great thing and the victor is always right. If the declaration had resulted in defeat Clarke would have been the villain. Was not the writer a little worried that his previous article may have backfired on him? Good test match hope the WI take tis lesson this time to heart.

  • on April 12, 2012, 10:06 GMT

    CLASSIC both the write up & the match.

  • on April 12, 2012, 9:57 GMT

    I appreciate this plädoyer in favour of Test cricket. But why the snide dig at the IPL? Have you read Kevin Pietersen's comments, "it's down to a lot of jealousy I think, which is sad. It saddens me all the negative publicity the IPL gets in the [UK] media, I don't know why."

  • RandyOZ on April 12, 2012, 9:42 GMT

    Is there a better captain in world cricket than Clarke? Absolutely not. The so-called 'number 1' who have just come of the back of 4 straight defeats, are led by the weakest captain in world cricket - coincidence? I think not.

  • on April 12, 2012, 9:39 GMT

    What a sensational match. Will they come close to the Australian team that we knew during the 90s? 3 Cheers...

  • orangtan on April 12, 2012, 9:06 GMT

    @mari2619, if the Windies players choose IPL over country in contrast to the patriotic Aussies, more power to the Aussies, don't try to dilute their creditable achievement and Clarke's bold captaincy.

  • orangtan on April 12, 2012, 9:01 GMT

    Test cricket at its brilliant attritional riveting best, and no one concerned about individual milestones. Let's hope the Windies keep it up and bounce back to win the second Test so as to provide a wonderful decider.

  • on April 12, 2012, 9:00 GMT

    @ TrumpOz - While the jury is still out on whether to call this madness or genius. I would like to call this good old fashioned Clint Eastwood style western shoot-out. Clarke threw a challenge to Sammy "Despite being 50 runs behind, we still put you in to bat, shoot us out of the game by adding on the runs at quick pace, and then win the game in front of your fans" He gave a chance to Sammy - a chance to win the game - a chance very few captains (no indian for sure) would have given him ..... But such a chance wrecked mental havoc within the fragile west indies team and they panicked. They chickened out of the game and lost not only the game but also their pride (this after dominating for the first 3 days). Hail Clarke ! May you walk tall , in defeat and in victory, for believing in yourself. Sammy Boy, ask yourself some tough questions, and ask questions of some of your country men who prefer to play in the IPL instead of being available for the nation.

  • on April 12, 2012, 8:59 GMT

    @mari2619: Have you really been following Aus's series closely? I doubt it. Aus just played SA in SA and drew 1-1. They dominated 6 out of 8 innings in the series and only lost because of 1 horrible session (47). They also beat SL in SL comfortably while Eng have struggled to draw. Aus sure aren't the most talented side around. But they are the most dangerous in world cricket.

  • Supa_SAFFA on April 12, 2012, 8:57 GMT

    I find myself admiring the Aussies and hating every minute of it.

  • spongebat_squarestumps on April 12, 2012, 8:56 GMT

    Which is worse - the lack of belief to win or the fear of failure in defeat? Who cares! This Australian team has neither. Clarke has learned from Ponting's mistakes - Nagpur 2008, anyone? - and backed his team to do the job. What people seem to have missed is that this win was made both conceivable and possible only because of tail end batting; I can't help feeling that after Clarke's 5 test series as captain, the Australian top order batting line up is still flawed. The solution? Clarke and Watson need to swap places...

  • on April 12, 2012, 8:54 GMT

    A great game with a gripping finale. This is what real cricket is all about. Forget "slog it and run" T20 and IPL. Give us more like this.

  • on April 12, 2012, 8:33 GMT

    @Dan Brettig, very good article but for one detail; your misdirected criticism of Ed Cowan. Where would Australia have been without his painstaking 34 runs on a pitch that was far from an easy featherbed and on which both Ponting and Clarke failed while the light was still good? Without Ed Cowan holding up the other end, would Watson have been able to launch the attack he did? Without the platform of 126-3 when he finally left, would the rest of the team have been able to score much more than the remaining 66 runs? Cowan's was a vital, if old-fashioned opener's contribution, yet you damn him with faint praise.

    @mari2619, you have misunderstood it completely - it's not about a win, it's about the manner of that win.

  • on April 12, 2012, 8:26 GMT

    Some very good points, Mr. Brettig. You get the feeling if the Windies team could get onto the front foot as they did at times through the one day series that they'll be well on the way toward moving up the rankings. They may not be missing Pollard and i'm sure now that Gayle is not the answer either, would be great to see Narine in there though, if Deonarine can take four quick wickets then you can't help but wonder what might have transpired with Narine playing. On the Aussie front, Watson did very well to get the runs flowing, i'm not sure anyone's convinced he's a no.3, particularly when he seems to enjoy defending with his pads... However, Clarke and Hussey's best positions are clearly 5 and 6 and they are good enough in those positions to allow Watson to continue at no.3 to see how he handles it. He certainly gets the board ticking over if he does get going. Hussey played an 11th hour blinder, to watch him bat in the gloom was to witness the essence of "Mr. Cricket" Bravo!

  • Meety on April 12, 2012, 8:19 GMT

    @blackjesuz - spot on. The contrast between the Indian approach of a year ago & here is very stark! @chicko1983 - things are looking good, but atm - I rate the Saffas marginally ahead of England who are marginally ahead of us. Then its flip a coin for 4th (probably India just), as teams 4 to 6 are not behind us. Possibly we are heading towards the most competitive decade of Test cricket since the 1970s!

  • trumpoz on April 12, 2012, 8:10 GMT

    @Ajay Sharma - Madness and Genius are often not too far apart. The fact that the Aussies picked up 3 wickets quickly after declaring turned that decision in to genius. Good on Michael Clarke for having the guts to try and force a result (I can remember Stephen Fleming doing the same thing against OZ a number of year ago and Mark Taylor wouldn't have a bar of it and Oz went for a draw). I hope the West Indies have success in rebuilding the team, a strong WI team will only be great for world cricket.

  • JustIPL on April 12, 2012, 8:07 GMT

    Well done aussies as it was necessary to show courage and not go for just a draw. Windies are surging and actually they started the downfall of the former ICC #1 test team when they did not allow them to achieve an easy target in one of the tests. That tone continued in the form of whitewashes thereafter and they gave rough ride to Indians at home as well. Here they gave aussies run for money. Still windies selection left a lot to desire as many better players are missing. If they get rid of their selection inconsistentancy they will surely surge.

  • chicko1983 on April 12, 2012, 7:37 GMT

    they say that the the best test teams win tests away from home. which test team has won the most away from home in the last year? Australia!!!I still laugh at people putting the SAs and Engs above Australia - we just drew with SA in SA and Eng as struggling against SL, where Australia won a series recently.

  • on April 12, 2012, 7:35 GMT

    Behind by nearly 50 runs and to declare is either sheer madness or sheer genius. Any Indian Captain would have steered the match towards a dull deary draw rather than take a 1% risk of a loss. I am at a loss of words to describe this act. This test match has contained more excitement than the entire IPL put together.

  • venkatesh018 on April 12, 2012, 7:19 GMT

    Hope Indian cricket, especially their captains, learn something from Michael Clarke and his men and play Test cricket the way it is supposed to be played- with passion and desire to excel in all conditions and willpower to overcome all hurdles which come their way by way of unresponsive pitches.

  • on April 12, 2012, 6:55 GMT

    it is a pity the windies cannot win easy and winnable crunches this was their best chance to annihilate the ausies

  • gagagaga on April 12, 2012, 6:53 GMT

    @mari2619. Gayle puts hits bank account ahead of his country. Narine and pollard were not included in the side. clearly the selectors don't believe they're i the best side. Why cant you just allow clarke and his team to enjoy their positive victory. This win was a win for cricket and if you actually watched the game, you would agree as well.

  • sony_sr on April 12, 2012, 6:45 GMT

    So pleased to see WI putting fight in all 3 versions. I hope they are on their way to old glory. Lots of talented guys are coming up.

  • tinkertinker on April 12, 2012, 6:40 GMT

    mari how can the windies miss pollard?

    he has never played a test match and has a woeful first class record.

    You might as well say the aussies are missing dan christian.

  • on April 12, 2012, 6:13 GMT

    Hot Rod Henry "says", great articial. I have been captivated watching Australia play over the last year or so, they certainly are a devoted bunch and will either win, lose or draw playing old fashion test cricket! England and South Africa may have the wood on them still, but you can't help feel that the game is bigger then the world rankings and ego driven star status that others have. More power to them and also well done West Indies, love the fight shown.

  • on April 12, 2012, 6:00 GMT

    great win by australia. come on guys.. keep the winniing momentum going..

  • thewayitwass on April 12, 2012, 5:46 GMT

    To some it may seem excessive, since this is just a win over the lowly windies, but the daring of michael clarke is something to laud, mostly because no captain in the world would have taken the risk clarke did, Dhoni was in very similar shoes not too long ago and closed the chase.. kudos to clarke for showing the way!

  • Vista12 on April 12, 2012, 5:42 GMT

    West Indies will wonder how they lost this and what they need to do to beat Australia in tests.I hope they learn from this and become a better team as World Cricket is not the same without a strong Winidies Team.

    As for Australia, they have the potential to be number one again - I doubt they will be so dominant as they dont have intimidating batsmen and a world class spinner but they do have Cummins and Pattinson to come - so they should be optimistic. England and SA better watch out!

  • tinkertinker on April 12, 2012, 5:37 GMT

    A positive story about the aussies on cricinfo?

    First time for everything i guess.

  • Mary_786 on April 12, 2012, 5:23 GMT

    Clarke is getting ahead of himself, the Windies were missing Gayle, Narine and Pollard, 3 of their best players, beating the 8th best team is nothing to go over the top, the big test will be the South Africans in November and POMs next year, if he wins those series then he can celebrate.

  • CheeseOnAStick on April 12, 2012, 5:17 GMT

    Michael Clarke, Michael Clarke, Michael Clarke! I am 100% sure no other current international captain would have declared when he did. "some Test match victories cannot be obtained without first risking defeat," I could not have said it better. This has been the Australian way for a long time and it is a brand of Test cricket that only Australia play. The WI play "draw cricket", which is fair enough because they need to gain some confidence before trying to win games from the start.

  • maddyjagadish on April 12, 2012, 5:14 GMT

    WOW! that's all i can say about this match. Australian cricket team is a role model for every other test playing nation.... Kudos to clarke ... one thing what i observe abt this australian side is that they love winning and they enjoy it to the fullest and they are never tired of it unlike other teams ... playing for country is the ultimate goal for any real sportsmen ... i see lot of players skipping their national duties and participating in so called T20 cricket ... this test match would have been a draw if it's not australia ... as a fan of test cricket this is what i would like see, taking risks for victory and making the game real interesting ....

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  • maddyjagadish on April 12, 2012, 5:14 GMT

    WOW! that's all i can say about this match. Australian cricket team is a role model for every other test playing nation.... Kudos to clarke ... one thing what i observe abt this australian side is that they love winning and they enjoy it to the fullest and they are never tired of it unlike other teams ... playing for country is the ultimate goal for any real sportsmen ... i see lot of players skipping their national duties and participating in so called T20 cricket ... this test match would have been a draw if it's not australia ... as a fan of test cricket this is what i would like see, taking risks for victory and making the game real interesting ....

  • CheeseOnAStick on April 12, 2012, 5:17 GMT

    Michael Clarke, Michael Clarke, Michael Clarke! I am 100% sure no other current international captain would have declared when he did. "some Test match victories cannot be obtained without first risking defeat," I could not have said it better. This has been the Australian way for a long time and it is a brand of Test cricket that only Australia play. The WI play "draw cricket", which is fair enough because they need to gain some confidence before trying to win games from the start.

  • Mary_786 on April 12, 2012, 5:23 GMT

    Clarke is getting ahead of himself, the Windies were missing Gayle, Narine and Pollard, 3 of their best players, beating the 8th best team is nothing to go over the top, the big test will be the South Africans in November and POMs next year, if he wins those series then he can celebrate.

  • tinkertinker on April 12, 2012, 5:37 GMT

    A positive story about the aussies on cricinfo?

    First time for everything i guess.

  • Vista12 on April 12, 2012, 5:42 GMT

    West Indies will wonder how they lost this and what they need to do to beat Australia in tests.I hope they learn from this and become a better team as World Cricket is not the same without a strong Winidies Team.

    As for Australia, they have the potential to be number one again - I doubt they will be so dominant as they dont have intimidating batsmen and a world class spinner but they do have Cummins and Pattinson to come - so they should be optimistic. England and SA better watch out!

  • thewayitwass on April 12, 2012, 5:46 GMT

    To some it may seem excessive, since this is just a win over the lowly windies, but the daring of michael clarke is something to laud, mostly because no captain in the world would have taken the risk clarke did, Dhoni was in very similar shoes not too long ago and closed the chase.. kudos to clarke for showing the way!

  • on April 12, 2012, 6:00 GMT

    great win by australia. come on guys.. keep the winniing momentum going..

  • on April 12, 2012, 6:13 GMT

    Hot Rod Henry "says", great articial. I have been captivated watching Australia play over the last year or so, they certainly are a devoted bunch and will either win, lose or draw playing old fashion test cricket! England and South Africa may have the wood on them still, but you can't help feel that the game is bigger then the world rankings and ego driven star status that others have. More power to them and also well done West Indies, love the fight shown.

  • tinkertinker on April 12, 2012, 6:40 GMT

    mari how can the windies miss pollard?

    he has never played a test match and has a woeful first class record.

    You might as well say the aussies are missing dan christian.

  • sony_sr on April 12, 2012, 6:45 GMT

    So pleased to see WI putting fight in all 3 versions. I hope they are on their way to old glory. Lots of talented guys are coming up.