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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cricket: Ponting and Cowan put Aussies in control


Half-centuries from Ed Cowan & Ricky Ponting left Australia in control at the finish of the third day of the third & final Check against the West Indies here at Windsor Park on Wednesday.
Australia completed the day on 200 for six in their second innings & with a healthy lead of 310 runs in a match that they only require to draw to take the series having won the opening Check.
Cowan believes that Australia ought to go on to wrap it up in style.
"I think we are in control, definitely. I think 300 already is a large score.
"Fifty on a wicket like that can be as lovely as a hundred. Positive the runs don't show on the scorebook but over 300 to chase is a helluva lot of runs."
West Indies had looked to have got back in to the match having added some important runs in the morning session before being bowled out for 218 & then took fast wickets with David Warner going before lunch & the hazardous Shane Watson after the resumption.
The hosts total owed much as ever to a usually obstinate innings of 68 by veteran Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
West Indies had been 165 for eight overnight with Chanderpaul & Ravi Rampaul having already put on 45 for the ninth wicket.
They took their partnership to 66 before Nathan Lyon broke through.
Rampaul came down the wicket but got a thick outside edge & the ball flew up to Warner at point.
The visitors took the new ball after 83.1 overs & in the finish it was Chanderpaul that fell.
Mitchell Starc was bringing the ball back in off the seam & finally got past the obstinate West Indian's bat & trapped him lbw.
Chanderpaul's 68 makes him the highest scorer in a low scoring series with 277 runs at an average of 92.33.
It left Australia to face a difficult overs before lunch & the West Indies got the breakthrough that they would have wanted.
Warner had already struck Rampaul for boundaries. However, in the last over before the interval they drove loosely at a Kemar Roach delivery & edged to the only fielder in the slip cordon, Chanderpaul.
Shane Shillingford, who had taken six wickets in the first innings, came on to bowl straight after lunch.
In his second over they found the fringe of Cowan's bat but Carlton Baugh, who has had a poor series behind the stumps, put down the knee-high chance.
In his next over, though, Shillingford struck.
Watson guided a ball off the face of the bat straight to leg slip where Darren Sammy held on to a sharp chance & the tourists were looking shaky at 25-2.
Cowan & Ponting settled & commenced to build a useful partnership with the former bringing up his third check half century with a cut through point.
However, one time again they failed to build on a nice base & was out for 55 as they got a thick edge to a Marsingh Deonarine delivery & the ball flew at shoulder height to Sammy at slip who took a terrific catch.
Ponting took another dicy single to bring up his fifty, also his first half-century of the series.
Soon afterwards his luck ran out. They had made 57 when they ducked under a Roach bouncer but had left his bat sticking up like a periscope.
The ball hit it & looped up for Chanderpaul to scoot around from slip & take the catch.
Cowan hadn't witnessed such a dismissal before.
"Unbelievable, I guess in case you play cricket long you are going to be dismissed every which way, I guess they was due for a periscope," said Cowan.
"I feel sorry for the man because they has been batting beautifully & again it will give ammunition to some bloody journalist back home.
"Ammunition to lampoon, but you guys have seen how well they is playing in hard conditions but what a weird dismissal, but I guess you can only shrug your shoulders & say that is the game'."
Shillingford slowed Australia's progress when they had Michael Clarke caught by Darren Bravo & first innings centurion Matthew Wade fell for this time round trapped lbw by Deonarine.
The West Indian all-rounder knows that it is going to be hard for his team to get the win it needs.
"Whatever Australia put on the board they must go there & look to get it," they said.
"The first thing is to try & get those wickets for as low as feasible tomorrow morning & when the time comes to bat you are going to must fight very hard because the pitch is not conducive to strokeplay as we have seen.
"Everybody will must dig in there, score some runs & hopefully when they receive a chance to bat again they knock off the runs"

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