The third day of the 2nd test between Australia and West Indies saw the visiting team take full control over the game. They rolled the West Indies over in the first innings, came out and scored runs quickly. Michael Clarke is so confident on his bowlers that he declared his 2nd innings after the loss of just 2 wickets with still more than 2 days to go. He set West Indies a target of 392.
The second days play at Jamaica saw 14 wickets fall as West Indies were reduced to 148/8 still needing 52 runs to avoid follow on. With yet another batting failure, the hosts were looking at another embarrassing defeat after the Roseau disaster.
Holder and Roach started the 3rd day with a huge responsibility. They still needed 52 runs to avoid follow and a humiliating defeat for the second time. Holder started the day on 13. He looked confident stroking the ball to all parts of the ground as Roach played a patient innings where he defended with purpose.
The Australian bowlers rarely troubled the pair as they crossed the 200 mark and avoided the follow on. Holder was going great guns and reached his half century in no time.
He scored 69 runs of just 39 balls on the morning of the 3rd day before Roach and Taylor were picked up by Hazlewood in the space of 3 deliveries. WI were all out for 219 and were trailing by 179 runs.
Warner and Marsh walked in with purpose and even as Taylor and Roach were bowling beautifully with the new ball, both of them looked comfortable. By lunch on the 3rd day, Australia were 20/0.
After the break, Warner and Marsh put on an aggressive partnership of 114 before the first wicket fell. Roach got one to bounce a bit more and found the top edge of Warner’s bat and he went for 62. This was Warner’s highest score against West Indies.
In walked Steve Smith who has been in form for ever. He started positively and by tea, Australia were 137/1. Marsh completed his 50 and Smith was looking positive.
After the break, Marsh played a smart innings but was picked up by Permaul for 69 at short mid wicket. Clarke joined Smith in the middle with Australia at 163/2.
Clarke and Smith played sensibly putting the bad ball away. The partnership too Australia past the 200 mark and extended the lead past the 350 mark. This was when Clarke, the Australian skipper surprised everyone.
With aggression the name of the game in the recent times, Clarke took a step ahead and declared his innings with more than 2 days to go. He declared at 212/2 with Smith on 54. This meant that West Indies needed 392 runs to win in more than 2 days.
The brave and aggressive move by Clarke was complimented by Starc who was looking in ominous form. With 392 needed, WI had to play at least 8 over’s in the day. But the first over itself produced two wickets with just a run on the board.
Brathwaite dragged a wide ball onto his stump of the 3rd ball to give Starc and Australia their first wicket. Just 3 balls later, Chandrika edged one to the slips and was gone for another duck. Chandrika managed a pair on his debut.
With WI already at 1/2, Australia pressed hard for more wickets. But Bravo and Dowrich played the 8 over’s in the day and took West Indies to 16/2 by the end of the day. WI still need 376 runs to win and with 2 days still to go, time is not a problem in the game.
With just 8 wickets left, Australia would want to wrap it up as quickly as they can on the 4th morning. WI on the other hand have a huge job at hand if they are to get anything out of the game.
Barring a miracle, Australia would be firm favorites to win the game tomorrow but West Indies are more than capable of putting up a fight. It will be good to see how the game pans out on the 4th day.