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Australia evade rain and decaying light to squeeze 3 wicket win in Barbados Test

shane_watson_test_batBridgetown, Barbados served up a mighty feast of Test cricket on the final day of the 1st Test as Australia managed to evade the rain, the decaying light and a late fightback from the West Indies to sneak over the finish line by 3 wickets. Chasing 192 to win the match, Australia were cruising home at 105/1 before Narsingh Deonarine took 4 wickets with his innocuous off-spin and Kemar Roach knocked over 2 more to set up a tense finish. The match overshot the 5:30 cut-off that had been the benchmark for calling time on each of the first four days and the game finished under the shadows, with the West Indies left to rue how 15 minutes of poor cricket before Tea on the fourth day cost them the match.

In hindsight one must shower generous praise on the captaincy of Michael Clarke, whose gutsy decision to declare just prior to Tea yesterday despite his team being 43 runs behind the West Indies' first innings total proved to be not just a masterstroke but also decisive in the end.

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West Indies in trouble at 71/5 on Day 4 of Barbados Test

ben_hilfenhausAn incredible fourth day of test cricket in Barbados saw the match completely turn on its head with Australia's fast bowlers putting them in a strong position to squeeze out a result from this game, thanks to their heroics with both bat and ball.

Resuming from their overnight score of 248/5, Australia slumped to 285/8 losing both overnight batsmen Michael Hussey (48) and Matthew Wade (28), in addition to Peter Siddle falling for naught. Hussey added just one run to his overnight score before Kemar Roach got him caught behind before Fidel Edwards got amongst the wickets to dismiss the other two.

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West Indies take 5 wickets, Australia score 204 runs on slow Day 3 of Barbados Test

michael_clarkeDay 3 in Barbados was not the greatest advertisement for the dying art of test cricket with neither Australia nor the West Indies doing enough to push the first test of the series towards any sort of conclusion. Resuming from their overnight score of 44 for no loss, Australia meandered on to 248/5 on a day that would have tested the nerves of even the most ardent fan of this format of the game. After having shown genuine intent late last evening by scoring at close to 4.5 runs per over, Australia progressed at a snail's pace today, making adding just 204 in the entire day. Ricky Ponting will perhaps be the most disappointed man in Barbados, having been sold down the river for just 4, becoming the only player out of the 18 who have visited the crease thus far not to reach double figures on a placid track.

The West Indies made a good start to the day with Darren Sammy removing both openers, Ed Cowan for 14 in just the third over of the morning, and David Warner for 42 later in his spell. The often under-rated West Indies skipper ensured that he bowled a consistently good line and length and egging the batsmen to play at deliveries they would otherwise leave. A few overs later, Australia were in trouble at 84/3 when Ponting was run out for 4, due to some poor communication between him and Shane Watson.

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Warhorse Chanderpaul guides West Indies to 449, Australia 44/0 in response

shiv_chanderpaul.jpgAn outstanding unbeaten century from Shivnarine Chanderpaul, his 25th in test cricket, took the West Indies to a commanding 449 in their first innings before skipper Darren Sammy declared the innings closed with 9 wickets down late on Day 2. The visiting Aussies had 10 odd overs to survive before the close of play, and their openers did so with elan, eliminating 44 runs from their target. It was a challenging day for the bowlers on a wicket that offered them little help, and the West Indies batsmen did their job exceptionally well, building partnerships and crucially never losing wickets in a clutch. With three full days of cricket yet to be played, all three results remain a distinct possibility.

Resuming day two on a promising 179/3, the West Indian overnight pair of Darren Bravo and Shivnarine Chanderpaul got things moving smoothly in the first hour, getting their team past the 200 run mark with no hassles. Bravo was severe on some loose stuff from Nathan Lyon at the start of the day while Chanderpaul was typically nudging and working his way to another fine half century. Just before drinks, in what was an extended session, Bravo seemed to lose his concentration and was eventually dismissed for 51, caught in the gully off Shane Watson.

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Rain brings early end to opening day of Barbados Test; West Indies post 179/3

Half centuries from Kraigg Brathwaite and Kirk Edwards kept the Aussie bowlers at bay for large periods on the opening day of the first of 3 test matches in Australia's tour of the West Indies. Bridgetown, Barbados gave a warm welcome to the two sides, with the West Indies skipper Darren Sammy winning the toss and chosing to bat first on a hard wicket that promised some good carry with dry grass on it. The weather was not that friendly at the close of play with the West Indies 179/3 in 73 overs before rain brought an early end to proceedings. 

The West Indies went in with Kemar Roach ahead of fellow speedster Ravi Rampaul and opted for left handed batsman Narsingh Deonarine in place of the recently dropped Marlon Samuels, while the Australians chose opener Ed Cowan over middle order batsman Peter Forrest which meant Shane Watson would slot in at No.3 behind Cowan and David Warner. Swing bowler Ben Hilfenhaus got the nod over James Pattinson in the wake of his recent run of good form.

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