And just it looks as though Indian curators have put another 'nail in the coffin' of test cricket, good old Les produces a beauty. All three results possible on the last day with lots of wickets and runs in the game - welcome to test cricket. No doubt with the result being a draw 20/20 heads will be saying 'what's the point' and I say to them 'you just don't get it'. Go eat some chicken.
With entertaining an esteemed colleague from Melbourne a priority I was less than totally observant of the day's play on Saturday. Really it wasn't a great day's cricket with both teams grinding it out a bit but an impromptu meeting with Joel Garner provided some relief from the sun. My colleague was adamant in his views on West Indies cricket and Big Bird received them well; albeit a little dismissive at times with a wave of his hand.
I continue to be proven wrong in my views on Aus' team with Watson making two good knocks at the top and less troubled by full and straight deliveries than he was in England. Johnson looked as good as he's bowled in months and brought up 50 wickets in the calendar year believe it or not! Bolly was great - I've been a big fan of his for a while and hope that he takes the rock a few more times this summer. Hussey looks very uncomfortable at the crease and Hauritz is fairly consistent. We may have to accept that he won't replicate Tim May's efforts in England in 1993 unless bowling on favourable decks but he is doing a job. While Benn toiled for a 5 for in the first innings he couldn't find rewards from a 5th day wicket so it's worth bearing that in mind when evaluating Hauritz's return.
Bravo demonstrated why Ponting rates him as West Indies' most dangerous player. I wasn't convinced of him but am now a convert. He bowls very very handy overs to complement Roach and bats with traditional West Indies' flare. This may be his undoing at times but will no doubt bring as many runs if not more than Flintoff ever did for England. Big Benn (or 'Suli' as he like to be known) performed miracles in the first innings. It wasn't hot but to bowl so many overs and remaining dangerous is an amazing feat. Roach bowls heat, consistently, and hopefully the WACA is more of the old variety so we see some fizzers past noses. I guess there's little point mentioning Chanderpaul and Sarwan which is a good sign for the West Indies as they were widely touted as their only chance.
Listening to AM radio late on day 4 the West Indies commentator was explaining that Gayle kept batting to ensure there would be no loss. This was because his team had been beaten so badly for so long that the West Indies would take a draw as a win. Gayle partly confirmed as much at the end of the test by stating preventing the loss was the first priority. However, surely when he had men all around the bat for the last session on the last day with 5 wickets to get he must have wondered if he'd made the right decision. The idealist in me says that West Indies cricket followers would have preferred their captain to put the onus on Aus to get a target and keep a result much more probable. If you lose giving it your all and being brave then that's admirable. I would have more respect for Gayle if he'd given Aus 100 overs to make 300 odd by throwing the bat earlier on day 4 and declaring. On the other side there's no doubt he did what he thought best for his team and was committed to the task. On this level, Mr Gayle, I apologise for doubting you.
With neither side making 700 over three days in one innings we had a real test match to watch and West Indies were the better side overall. Full credit to them for making Aus scrap a draw and it bodes well for WA since, while the trophy will remain in Aus, West Indies' pride will not.