Blessing in disguise?

Australia is in firm control of the 2nd Test in Trinidad. At stumps on day three, Australia has a lead of 199 runs with nine second innings wickets in hand.

Earlier in the day, the West Indies did well to avoid the follow-on, scoring 408 in reply to Australia’s 4/576. This has been a dry track with not much bounce from the start. The ball is now keeping low and will become increasingly difficult to bat on. I think that Australia is better off with the West Indies batting last, so it may be a blessing in disguise that Australia was forced to bat.

Not that Australia would have been obliged to enforce the follow-on, but Steve Waugh does seem reticent to turn down the opportunity to make the opposition bat again. Maybe he thinks it is too defensive, taking a backward step to bat again in such circumstances. We have seen Australia struggle to finish several times having enforced the follow-on and of course, there was that famous loss in India when we last visited – only the third time that a match has been won by a team following on. And we do have the weakest attack that we have had for some time.

For the West Indies, Darren Ganga made his second century of the series as he and Lara stand head and shoulders above their colleagues. The West Indies innings also featured a dismissal via the hit wicket mode. A real rarity, and even more unusual following Lara hitting his wicket last Test.

Lee and Gillespie were the best bowlers for the Aussie’s in both the wickets and economy. Bichel only bowled 12 overs for 58 runs and I don’t believe that our World Cup hero will be required for the Third Test with the return of Glen McGrath.

It will also be interesting to see if the selectors continue with the five bowler policy once the attack is strengthened with McGrath’s return. It is an interesting situation. The selection policy has worked well thus far. It is not as if we have struggled in the batting department. And a clear winner hasn’t yet emerged from the two spinners. Perhaps MacGill is just in front but Hogg has dismissed Lara twice.

Langer departed early, courtesy of another terrible Asoka de Silva lbw decision, as de Silva keeps Russ Tiffen off the bottom rung of the international umpiring tree. At least this was a variation of the ball pitching outside the leg stump. On this occasion the bowler was around the wicket and the ball struck Langer outside the line of off stump.

It is good to see Australia getting some bad decisions as the West Indies certainly got the worse of them in the previous encounter.

Australia to win by 200 runs by lunch on the final day.

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