Australia dominate Day One
by Jinu Sabastian

Ground:Western Australia Cricket Association Ground, Perth
Scorecard:Australia v West Indies
Player:MEK Hussey, SM Katich, SR Watson
Event:West Indies in Australia 2009/10

DateLine: 16th December 2009


The first day of the third Test at WACA ended in Australia's favour as the hosts compiled a massive 339 for the loss of three wickets. Shane Watson and Simon Katich gave the Australian side a strong platform and Hussey made sure that it was not lost. Ponting was unfortunate to be injured by Roach but the scans showed that he had not received any major injury.


Ponting won an all important toss and had no hesitation in electing to field first on a track that looked hard and promised runs. West Indies were forced to make two changes as Chanderpaul and Barath had not recovered from their respective injuries and their place was taken up by Travis Dowlin and Narsingh Deonarine. With Peter Siddle not fit for the match Clint McKay was handed the baggy green for the first time.


Openers Simon Katich and Shane Watson continued their healthy contribution at the top of the order as the duo adopted the safety first approach. The openers exercised restrain and were content only to put away the loose balls rather than take the Windies attack by the scruff of the neck. Watson had a life when on 7 as Gayle failed to latch onto the edge from the right-hander's bat. Watson then took full advantage of the drop as he flayed the bowlers to all parts of the ground. Katich was happy to play the second fiddle and during his stay he showed that he had no intention of doing what Watson was doing. Watson was in no mood to relent as he brought up his 50 in 76 balls with a couple of powerful pull shots as the pair took the Australian side to lunch without any damage.


Post-lunch the pair looked in no discomfort and it seemed that Watson would get to his maiden Test ton this time. The right-hander survived a very fortunate run-out chance but an out swinger from Roach found the outside edge of Watson's bat and was gleefully snaffled up by Ramdin behind the stumps. Watson had scored 89 in 130 balls with 15 hits to the fence. The opening pair had added 132 for the first wicket in 35.2 overs. A confident Ponting strode out to the crease but he was immediately put to test by the pacy Roach. Roach employed some quick short pitched bowling against the Australian skipper and struck him once on his elbow that required treatment. Ponting was kept on his toes by the quickie and it seemed that an interesting contest was brewing between the two.


But the inexperience of Roach soon told on the pacer as he employed the short pitched deliveries constantly and soon Ponting was winning the battle. A misdirected short ball was worked of Ponting's hips to fine leg boundary, then the skipper latched onto another short one and deposited over backward square leg for a huge six and off the fifth ball of the over again glanced another short one through the vacant fine leg to bring Roach onto his knees. But Ponting's injured elbow prevented him from continuing and after one more over Ponting retired. Michael Hussey, the next man in, was hardly troubled by the toothless West Indian bowlers as he along with a stubborn Katich held firm and took the Australian side to tea without further damage.


Twelve balls into the final session West Indies nearly had the wicket of Katich who played a loose defensive shot and the ball lobbed up to Dowlin at short leg only for the fielder to juggle a couple of times before grassing it. Katich was on 82 at that time and he raced through the nineties with a couple of boundaries and quick singles. Katich went past 100 runs in the calendar year of 2009 with a powerfully struck sweep and also reached 99 but when he tried to repeat the shot off the next ball he found an alert Roach at square leg who scooped up a low catch. The New South Wales batsman looked crest-fallen and stormed off the field as he missed out on a well-deserving century. A twinkle footed Clarke joined Hussey in the middle but the right-hander never looked at ease in the middle.


Clarke was anxious to come down the wicket at every possible opportunity but Benn and Deonarine did well to keep him quiet. Clarke did play a fierce cut through point for a boundary but his next boundary was a streaky one through the slips. The vice-captain did not last long when a smart piece of captaincy from Gayle did him in. Gayle positioned himself at short midwicket and Deonarine flighted the ball enough to tempt Clarke (11) to dance down the track but the batsman could only chip it to Gayle who was quick enough to snap the catch just in front of his face. Gayle delayed taking the new ball till the 83rd over. Hussey meanwhile quietly worked his way to a fluent half-century in 96 balls with five hits to the fence. Hussey and North added 62 in 17.3 overs as Australia finished on 339 for the loss of three wickets.


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