West Indies v Australia, 3rd Test, Roseau, 3rd day April 25, 2012

Cowan and Ponting steer Australia to 300-plus lead


Australia 328 and 200 for 6 (Ponting 57, Cowan 55) lead West Indies 218 (Chanderpaul 68, Lyon 4-69) by 310 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

West Indies will need to complete their highest successful chase since they rewrote the record books in Antigua nine years ago if they are to level the series against Australia. Ed Cowan and Ricky Ponting both scored half-centuries on the third day in Dominica as the Australians built a lead of 310 runs at stumps, and with four wickets still in hand there was no immediate end in sight for the Australian second innings.

Viewed in isolation, it wasn't a bad day for West Indies: their final two pairs frustrated Australia for an hour and a half in the morning and their bowlers picked up wickets early in the Australian innings and then gained some momentum late in the day. But the hosts were left to rue their miserable second day, when Matthew Wade's century gave Australia control of the match, and at stumps on day three Australia had moved on to 200 for 6 with Michael Hussey on 17 and Ryan Harris on 4.

Not since their world-record chase of 418 against Steve Waugh's Australian side in 2003 have West Indies chased down this big a target to win a Test. On that occasion, centuries to Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan set up the West Indian triumph, and the way their batting has spluttered in this series they will need something similarly special from Chanderpaul this time around.

First, they must get through the rest of the Australian batting line-up. The innings started promisingly for West Indies, whose dismissal half an hour before lunch gave Australia an awkward four-over patch to face before the break. David Warner didn't make it to safety, caught at slip off Kemar Roach for 11, and when Shane Watson was taken at leg slip for 5 off Shane Shillingford's bowling shortly after the resumption Australia were in trouble.

But Cowan and Ponting, two men who had endured a lean series, came together in a calm and controlled 87-run partnership that halted the West Indian momentum. Cowan was a little more attacking than he has been so far on the tour, but was still in no great hurry, and Ponting survived a couple of nervous moments to work his way into the innings.

Ponting was lucky not to be run out shortly before tea when Cowan called him for a single and then turned him back, and had the fielder at mid-on thrown down the stumps Ponting was gone. He also gave a tough chance on 27 when he pushed a Narsingh Deonarine offbreak past Adrian Barath at short leg, and although it was difficult it was the kind of opportunity West Indies needed to take.

Cowan's half-century, his first since the Perth Test against India, arrived from his 107th delivery with a cut for four off Deonarine, but on 55 he fell trying another cut against the same bowler when Darren Sammy at slip showed magnificent reflexes to snare a tough catch. Ponting fell for 57 in unusual circumstances - he ducked a Kemar Roach bouncer but left his bat up and unwittingly lobbed a catch to slip.

That was the start of an encouraging period for West Indies as they also removed Michael Clarke, who top-edged Shane Shillingford and was caught at short leg for 25. And an important boost for the hosts came just before stumps when Deonarine had Wade lbw for 4, and despite the umpire's decision being upheld on review - the ball struck the batsman's foot on the full and was going on to clip leg stump - Wade appeared livid with the decision as he walked off the field.

The wickets meant West Indies finished the day on a positive, and they had started that way as well. The final two West Indies pairs survived for an hour and a half and Shivnarine Chanderpaul didn't alter his batting style despite having to work with the tail-enders, striking only three boundaries in his 68 from 164 balls.

He was the last man out, lbw to a straight ball from Mitchell Starc, who finished with 2 for 29, and Australia had finally ended a 32-run partnership between Chanderpaul and Roach (9 not out). West Indies added 53 to their overnight total for the loss of their last two wickets as the Australians struggled to find a way to terminate the innings.

Ravi Rampaul fell after 21 runs had been added in the morning, when he advanced to Nathan Lyon and tried to clear midwicket but succeeded only in lobbing a catch to point off a leading edge. Lyon ended up with 4 for 69 and moved into position as Australia's leading wicket taker of the series so far.

And on a pitch offering more turn than most people expected at the start of the game, Lyon will also be an important man in the fourth innings. How many runs he will have to defend remains to be seen.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Al on April 26, 2012, 19:55 GMT

    Punter always plays when his team needs him - unlike the so-called GOD of cricket

  • Niren on April 26, 2012, 13:33 GMT

    I dont see how WI can bounce back from here on. 310 is enough for Australia to win, but it is going to be more, since Australia's main batsman are yet to come. LOL I will blame the management and selection committee for the failure. All your front line players are playing for IPL. The board just cannot hold them together. It is a shame for a country who produced legends and were kings for more than 3 decades. The retired players should replace the existing board.

  • Douglas on April 26, 2012, 13:07 GMT

    It will a tough ask for Windies given they only have 1 test batsman and five trainee batsmen of questionable quality, along with a captain who plays test cricket like it is 20/20.

  • Ali on April 26, 2012, 13:05 GMT

    lets see. I don't know how or why people are commending Sammy and Gibson for the improvements in the West Indies Team?

    what improvements?

    drop Chanderpaul and we would have lost 3-0 and not a single game (except for the rain in Trinidad) would have made it to 3 days ....

    AND WAIT .....

    Gibson and Sammy don't want Chadnerpaul on the team ....

    so it goes to show that if Sammy and Gibson got what they wanted, eg... Mautharin along with the other additions of Powell and Brathwaite ....

    Sammy and Gibson's Changes have contributed SO much to the fighting spirit of the team?

    I think not ...

    it is obvious to me, that had Sammy and Gibson got their way we would have lost 3-0 ,,, and the changes that they have made have actually prevented the WI from actually beating Australia ...

    in the ODI's ... Mauthurin, Powell, Brathwaite ... are the reasons we lost ..... had chanderpaul been playing I'm sure we would have won the ODI series ....

  • Dominic on April 26, 2012, 12:58 GMT

    I believe that West Indies is not better placed in this match and has lost the test series because the Captain has no idea, bad field placing, tactics non-existence. Please justify why DEONARIEN bowled a total of four overs in the first innings of this test. Admit it our captain has no idea he does things by the book and I wonder if his decision are prompted by the manger during the intervals. Oh, I forgot the constant referral, when even I am sitting here in my living room in Germany can see that the ball is missing the stumps. We have played a w/k who cannot, his wicket-keeping was very good in one test match in the other matches he has not come up to standard, but some how he has kept his place in the side.

  • Rex on April 26, 2012, 12:47 GMT

    jmcilhinney I assume the recent success you are talking of was England (aka United Nations) vs Pakistan. Or perhaps it was Sri Lanka. But seriously though, in your opinion are they just having a crack at the record for the team spending the shortest time ranked #1?

  • Dummy4 on April 26, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    Judging from WI recent 4th inns score, I'd say Australia already have 160 runs too many.

  • Roland on April 26, 2012, 12:02 GMT

    If Sammy is being picked as a bowler, why has bowled the least amount of overs in the swords so far and only 6 in this innings? I keep saying that he hides himself when the going gets tough

  • Ben on April 26, 2012, 11:46 GMT

    Maybe fear is too strong a word..harking back to the Australia's glory days when we feared nearly every one of their players...drawing conclusions from this series I cannot see any material improvement from the Aussies...the next Ashes is is England...Eng will have the same team (roughly) and Oz will have a less experienced team than 2009 or 2010-11. And SA have some of the best players in the World, you'd be foolish not to fear their abilities...they now have a coach that has had success with India (few foreign coaches have)...they don't play enough...that's their problem...they were cold when Aus played them last..and they'll be cold when they line up against Eng (will this be an issue? Who can say but it doesn't help)...then they go straight to Aus...should be brill..

  • Geoffrey on April 26, 2012, 11:26 GMT

    I believe in giving credit where it is due. At the moment I don't believe in hyping Australia up just because they are beating a windies team that has been trying to re-build (unsuccessfully) since the days of Mervyn Dillon.. I think that the batting has been brittle, partnerships stunted, fielding has been generally inferior, and the bowling has been helped by the general ineptitude (Chanderpaul excluded) of the windies batting especially the openers. I mean they are even making Lyon look good! I like the aggressive captaincy from Clarke, something we didn't see from Ponting. But just wait until we hit some decent bowlers (i.e. SA & Eng) and watch those Aussie wickets tumble.. PS I am Australian actually, born and raised here and haven't lived anywhere else. I even have an ancestor who sailed to Australia on the first fleet.

  • No featured comments at the moment.