Aussies win thriller

Bridgetown, Barbados -- Australia won an exciting first Digicel Test match against West Indies by three wickets on Wednesday at Kensington Oval to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series for the Frank Worrell trophy.

West Indies were bowled out for 148 at the lunch break on the final day, the tourists were set a victory target of 192 in two sessions. Australia were cautious before tea but with the light fading fast, they stepped up the run-rate in the final session despite losing six wickets in the process.

Off-spinner Narsingh Deonarine took career-best 4-53 on his return to international cricket as West Indies exposed the Australia tail but with Mike Hussey (32) taking an aggressive approach, Australia were able to cross the finish line before darkness fell.

The victory completed a turnaround from the tourists who at one stage in their first innings were 250-7 chasing 449-9 declared before Man-of-the-Match Ryan Harris and the tail produced invaluable resistance.

“It was very hard fought. Australian cricket has very fond memories of this ground in Barbados and I think the last five days will be added to those great memories,” said Australia captain Michael Clarke.

Harris finished with 3-31 to follow up on Tuesday’s batting heroics - he got the first breakthrough of the day when he trapped left-hander Deonarine (21) leg before.

West Indies, needing to eat up time and add runs, really needed a strong contribution from skipper Darren Sammy but he made just 14 before he was bowled by Shane Watson.

Harris then proved his worth in the field with a catch at mid-on when Carlton Baugh (23) attempted to drive Ben Hilfenhaus (4-27).

Fidel Edwards (3) skied a short delivery from Peter Siddle to Watson and Kemar Roach (25), the only tailender to produce what was needed, was bowled by Harris to end a deeply disappointing second innings from West Indies.

Australia crawled to 61-1 by tea, but the final session became a tense one as the West Indies made inroads and Australia had to keep their eyes on the light.
Deonarine grabbed the wickets of Watson, who made a 52 with a six and four fours and then opener Ed Cowan, who had made 34 from 164 balls with just one boundary.

When Ricky Ponting was bowled by Deonarine’s off-spin for 14 and then Clarke (6) returned a leading edge to the Guyanese, the tension level increased.

But Hussey took on the responsibility, making his 32 from 50 balls, before being bowled by Roach and fittingly Harris and Hilfenhaus, who had done so much to turn the game around in the first innings, were at the crease at the end to secure the win.

The second Digicel Test of the three-match series is at Queen’s Park Oval in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, on Sunday.

See full scoreboard at Cricinfo:

Wed, 04/11/2012 - 17:39