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

Ponting performs on poignant day

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the third day of the third Test in Dominica
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Observance of the day

Australia's players took to the field on day three in Dominica with poppies fastened to their shoulders, in recognition of the Anzac Day commemorations that had taking place back in Australia and in New Zealand. It is rare for the Australian team to be engaged in a Test match on April 25, and the squad marked the occasion before play with a team huddle that also included two New Zealanders - the match referee Jeff Crowe and the umpire Tony Hill. They were addressed by the opener Ed Cowan, who gave a speech about the values implicit in the Anzac story, which began with the landings at Gallipoli on this day in 1915. The wicketkeeper Matthew Wade then recited the Ode of Remembrance.

Change of angle of the day

Nathan Lyon very seldom bowls at left-handers from over the wicket, preferring to angle and drift the ball in from around the stumps then spin it away, enhancing his chances of an lbw decision if the ball decides not to turn. However Ravi Rampaul showed early comfort against this angle of attack, drawing Lyon to inform umpire Hill that he would try from his less preferred line. Previously calm against the spinning ball, Rampaul suddenly panicked, the ball now pitching in his blind-spot on or outside leg stump then screwing across towards first slip. A first slog attempt resulted in a play and miss, and the second resulted in an ineffectual edge that settled gently in David Warner's hands at backward point.

French cut of the day

Without a significant score all series, Cowan lived on his wits early on, and was fortunate to escape several tight scrapes against the new ball delivered by pacemen and spinners. Kemar Roach strained particularly hard to dismiss him, having already found a way past Warner. In his seventh over of a spell that bookended lunch, Roach coaxed Cowan into a drive at a ball from around the wicket that was onto him a little quicker than desired, and drew an inside edge that flew centimetres wide of the stumps on its way to the fine leg boundary. Roach reacted with all the disappointment of a bowler who had given his all, and it was to prove his final over of the stint - Rampaul replacing him for the next over.

Periscope of the day

Ricky Ponting looked relaxed and comfortable across most of what was his first significant innings for the series. But as stumps drew near he again fell to Roach, though in circumstances that were as much the result of happenstance as the bowler's hostility. It was perhaps out of recognition of previous pain inflicted on him by Roach's short ball that Ponting chose to duck rather than pulling a delivery that did not get up particularly high. However in going down to his haunches, Ponting left his bat hoisted dangerously above the shoulder, and in keeping with Roach's hold over him, the ball unerringly found it. The chance looped as if in slow motion to Shivnarine Chanderpaul, leaving Ponting to walk off the field after what was surely his last Test innings in the West Indies.

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

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  • zenboomerang on April 28, 2012, 9:29 GMT

    @hyclass... Yes I was aggrieved when Forrest was selected for ODI duty - ahead of many much more credentialed batsmen... I realise that the NSP wanted to give him international experience, but it was definitely the wrong way to do it (at the expensive of the Oz team & our record) - S Marsh is a case in example... Surely Forrest should go the Aust A route... Saying that, Steve Smith & Hughes are in the 2012 AIS (CoE) squad, so expecting them to being looked at for the Aust A squad to Eng this winter...

  • OzMongrel on April 27, 2012, 15:18 GMT

    @5wombats - a couple of things: 1. Ponting has played in over 100 Test victories. 2. Ricky just made a half century on Anzac Day, when someone had to dig in and focus on the series win. Topscored, by the way. 3. This bloke has more experience than Clarke and Hussey COMBINED (165 Tests vs a combined 156 Tests) - why on Earth would you consider dropping him right now? 4. You might not be old enough to remember, but when Lillee, Marsh and G Chappell all left the team we got smashed. 5. He is still worth his spot, as there is no-one to take it from him. 6. While he is there in the dressing room you know there is an absolute legend from whom to learn. 7. Have a look at the role he is modelling now - he just keeps working to get Australian Test match wins. 8. Earned the right for a dignified exit? Perhaps the only dignified way for Ricky to exit is to be carried out on a stretcher, for only that would correctly display the skill and pugnacity of this ruthless competitor.

  • Aussasinator on April 26, 2012, 14:32 GMT

    Looks like this misguided team will drop Watson and Mike Hussey before Ponting. England will love Ponting's presence, as will SA. Morne Morkel especially, to dish out some more Roach style.

  • Gunnerseleven on April 26, 2012, 14:28 GMT

    @snowsnake: you want Ponting and Hussey to bat at no 6 or No 7...Get a life man.Ponting has scored more than 13k runs batting at number 3 and for a few failures in the tour you are saying he has batting skills of average number 6 batsmen..go to youtube and watch his innings against india..

  • hyclass on April 26, 2012, 14:27 GMT

    I don't believe that this team is anything other than mediocre. There was some suggestion that Forrest has succeeded in the ODI side and validated his selection.Is an average of 32 and a S/R in the 60s really considered success these days. Have standards fallen so far? The selection of players with modest 1st class records over time is surely a fools paradise.Langer and Hayden,despite their early years of struggle,had spectacular 1st class records to encourage perserverence.The current selection practice ignores this long standing tenet.Who will be able to believe after he retires,that D.Hussey never played a Test but Marsh and Cowan did?Intelligence is timeless. Until there is a return to those long standing values of integrity of process,purpose and action,I expect the national team to abjure from its former highs.The India series was irrelevent and its outcomes obvious. Like @featurewriter,I rate Hughes.His original unorthodox style was genius.I hope he has the courage to resume it.

  • Divinetouch on April 26, 2012, 13:41 GMT

    What a comical way for a supposedly great batsman to get out.

  • sun_20 on April 26, 2012, 13:37 GMT

    Ponting definetely best batsman of last decade. He should bat with same freeness as he used to. He still has t to contribute to world cricket.

  • Nerk on April 26, 2012, 13:03 GMT

    @ featurewriter - agree with you re: Cowan. I think you're right about him being a Mark Taylor style, and he may be great foil for Warner's Slater. Or, if so inclined, a Justin Langer to Warner's Hayden. Agree with Meety, MJ has to put some consistent performances on the board. I also think MJ is now behind Pattinson, Cummins, Hifly, Siddle and Harris. Cutting can be added to that list, he is a good young bowler who is at the same level as Pat, Starc and Cummins.I would still rather Ponting end his illustrious career to give young players a chance to make a career of their own, but he did play well and a few months off may bring his hunger back and hopefully we will see a Ponting of old next summer. South Africa will be RP's acid test. Needs to score against them.

  • 5wombats on April 26, 2012, 12:56 GMT

    Sorry - we just don't get it about Ponting. How is it that this guy is still there? First of all he is levered out of the Test captaincy because once again he had led Australia to Ashes defeat (3rd time). His captaincy was rank awful and he was a very poor role model on the field for Aus cricket. After the World Cup he was relieved of the captaincy there. Then he finally packed his rods altogether out of the ODI team. Most other people would start getting the message. We really thought he would quit at the end of the india series - finish with big runs - nice way to go, even if it was only india. He'd earned the right to a dignified exit. But did he go? No. Sure - if he wants to come back to England next year, fine and you're welcome Ricky - but Turkeys don't usually vote for Christmas, do they?

  • SnowSnake on April 26, 2012, 12:20 GMT

    You cannot say that Ponting is best Aussie batsman and be satisfied with his 57 @ at strike rate less than 50%. Ponting looks good because people expect less of him. He should be batting at no. 6 or 7 for his batting skills. Australia's tail end is better at batting. Hussey and Ponting currently have batting skills of average #5 or #6 batsman.

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