Aussies in Adelaide arm wrestle

Dwayne Bravo took the morning, Mike Hussey won the afternoon and in the end Australia had probably taken the driver’s seat by stumps on the third day of third Test in Adelaide.

The West Indies finished the day on 2/68, a lead of 45 runs in the second innings, after the most competitive day of cricket this summer has seen.

There must be something very special in the water in the Trinidad village of Santa Cruz because just one day after the town’s favourite son, Brian Lara, rewrote the record books, a burdgeoning talent from the same village tore into the vaunted Australian attack this morning.

Dwayne Bravo, whose century in the Hobart Test had been the first sign of West Indian resistance in this series, bowled a superb spell before and just after lunch to have the Australians staring down the barrel of an unexpected first innings deficit.

After a Fidel Edwards inswinging yorker dealt with Brad Hodge (18) early in the morning session it was time for the Bravo show as he sparked yet another Australian middle-order collapse.

First to fall to the mercurial all-rounder was Andrew Symonds, the brutish Queenslander struggling to 9 before a sharp off-cutter passed between bat and pad and removed off stump.

Two balls later, Australia’s danger man, Adam Gilchrist, should have been on his way without scoring but Danish Ramdin dropped a regulation chance and it looked like the cricketing gods were again deserting the Caribbean outfit.

But Bravo was having none of it, in a magnificent final over before lunch, Gilchrist (6) flayed at a wide delivery outside off stump and was superbly caught by Shivnarine Chanderpaul in the covers.

The action wasn’t over though. Bravo bustled in and rapped Shane Warne on the pads with two consecutive deliveries.

Rattled, the great legspinner then chipped the third ball of his innings back towards Bravo, the Trinidadian launching himself to his left and, with one hand, snaring a brilliant catch to put his team in the ascendency and the Aussies in deep trouble.

When Bravo returned to remove Lee (9) shortly after lunch the Australians were 8/295 and staring at a first innings deficit of around 100.

Suddenly though Bravo was out of the attack and the remaining pace trio of Fidel Edwards, Daren Powell and Corey Collymore struggled to maintain their line and length as Mike Hussey and Stuart MacGill frustrated the West Indies.

The jubilation of the morning was quickly forgotten as the tide turned inexorably towards the home team.

Hussey continued where he had left off after a maiden Test century in Hobart, adding 93 with MacGill before the number ten was bowled by Edwards for 22.

Faced with the prospect of being stranded in the 90s, Hussey exploded, eventually finishing with 133 not out including 13 fours and three sixes before Glenn McGrath played all over a straight ball by Dwayne Smith and was bowled.

Australia had somehow gained a lead of 23 and things didn’t look much better when Brett Lee got Devon Smith to edge a sharp catch to Ricky Ponting with the Windies score on just two.

But a patient Wavell Hinds and an in-form looking Ramnaresh Sarwan added 58 before Hinds suffered a mental block and was stumped off the wily bowling of Shane Warne for 15.

Daren Powell was sent out as night watchman and managed to survive the final overs but with Sarwan on 53 off just 61 balls, a lead of 45 runs and eight wickets in hand there’s still hope for the visitors.

Another day of topsy turvy cricket like today and predicting the final result could be anyone’s guess.

West Indies 405
Brian Lara 226 Dwayne Bravo 34
Glen McGrath 3/106 Brett Lee 3/111

Australia 428
Mike Hussey 133* Justin Langer 99
Dwayne Bravo 6/84 Fidel Edwards 3/114

Second Innings

West Indies 2/68
Ramnaresh Sarwan 53* Hinds 15
Brett Lee 1/25 Shane Warne 1/17

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