Aussie skipper Clarke vows to keep pressing for victory
Sydney (AFP): Australia captain Michael Clarke vowed to keep making ambitious declarations even if it meant risking seeing his plans come back to haunt him.
Clarke set the West Indies a 215-run target off 61 overs in the second Test on Thursday, after declaring on 160 for eight early in the afternoon, only for torrential rain to wash away any chance of a result.
His decision to tempt the West Indies to force a result had paid dividends in the first Test in Barbados, which his team won by three wickets, despite declaring his team’s first innings 43 runs behind.
Thursday was also set for an intriguing finish when West Indies reached 53 for two off 11 overs before rain returned to end the weather-battered contest.
“At times with my declaration, when there is a chance for winning, you’ve got to have a go at it.
“There’s going to be times that it might backfire and we might lose every now and then. But I enjoy the brand of cricket that we’re playing at the moment.
“I know the guys are really focused on the team having success and trying to win as many games as we can. And I think it’s bringing the best out of the team.”
The draw meant that Australia retained their two-decade grip on the Frank Worrell Trophy with just the final Test to play starting in Dominica on Monday.
In an effort to win on Thursday, West Indies captain Darren Sammy switched his batting order, moving Kieran Powell to open and placing himself at number three.
But Australian seamer Ben Hilfenhaus soon had the West Indies rocking, trapping Powell lbw for just four in his second over which allowed Sammy, himself, to come to the crease.
Hilfenhaus had both openers back in the dressing room just two overs later when he produced a beautiful outswinger that took the edge of Adrian Barath’s bat and the catch was taken by Clarke at first slip.
That left West Indies on 13 for two.
Sammy, though, still had his sights firmly set on an unlikely win and launched into an attack on Hilfenhaus, striking him for two boundaries and a six over long-off.
He reached 30 not out from 26 balls with his team still needing another 162 runs to win when the weather brought an end to the contest.
“Sixty overs was enough. We thought we could get the runs. Our plan was to see how far we could get by tea and then reassess after that,” said Sammy, who believes his team are still capable of levelling the series.
“The guys believe now that we can not only compete but we can win matches against top opposition and we go into every game thinking we can.”
Sammy’s optimism was boosted by seeing fast bowler Kemar Roach bag another five wickets to become first West Indian sincde 2005 to take 10 wickets in a match.
“It was difficult. The wicket wasn’t assisting fast bowlers much. You had to be accurate,” said man-of-the-match Roach.
“I am very proud of the way we fought. Now we will practise hard for Dominica and on Monday we will be ready and raring to go.”
Australia have injury worries ahead of the third Test after fast bowlers Peter Siddle and James Pattinson were forced to return home with back injuries.
But they do have two cover in the squad — Ryan Harris, who played in the first Test, and left-armer Mitchell Starc, who last played in the Perth Test against India in January.
Published Date: Thursday, April 19th, 2012 | 10:10 PM