Rain wins, second test drawn in Port-of-Spain
Michael Clarke pulled an ace from his sleeve, so too the West Indies, but hopes of a grandstand finish were dashed by rain as the second Test finished in an unsatisfying draw in Port of Spain overnight.
The Australians retained the Frank Worrell Trophy in hollow fashion after rain stopped play shortly after lunch, at 2.10pm local time, robbing both sides the opportunity of securing an improbable victory. Play was officially abandoned at 3.34pm.
Set 215 off 61 to level the series after another bold declaration from Clarke, the Windies were brought to a screeching halt at 2-53 after captain Darren Sammy blasted a menacing 30 off 26 balls.
It left the Windies requiring a further 162 with 50 overs remaining while the Australians were eight wickets short of what would have been their sixth consecutive Test triumph.
"A few runs were crucial for us and we probably needed at least 60 overs to bowl them out on that wicket, which certainly gave them a chance to try and win the Test," Clarke said.
"I wasn't really looking at that, I was looking at how best we could win the Test. Like I said in Barbados, there's always a risk of losing in trying to win. Unfortunately the rain's cost both teams, I think it would have been a really good finish to a tough Test match."
"Darren [Sammy] and I spoke on the ground right at the end before we came off for bad light and both captains wanted to do everything we could to stay out there but as the umpires said it was just way too dark unfortunately, even though I said I'd bowl spin at both ends. It was too dark."
Kemar Roach was named man of the match after becoming the first West Indies bowler to claim 10 wickets in a Test against Australia since the great Curtly Ambrose in 1993.
Although Clarke's declaration appeared generous to the Windies, no team had scored higher than 2.58 runs an over in the first three innings of the match which made the hosts' asking rate of 3.52 very challenging.
Ben Hilfenhaus made two early breakthroughs, removing opening pair Kieran Powell and Adrian Barath in consecutive overs.
Promoted from No.3 to take the more conservative Kraigg Brathwaite's opening berth, Powell was trapped plumb in front by a delivery which swung back into the left-hander.
Barath edged a well pitched up delivery, which seamed late, to Clarke at first slip.
The underdogs, however, showed they would not be content to merely play out a draw when they pushed renowned hitter Darren Sammy up from No.8 to first drop.
The Windies skipper caused almost immediate concern for the Australians, blasting Shane Watson for a pair of consecutive boundaries with the third and fourth balls he faced.
Three overs later he clubbed Hilfenhaus for two fours and a six.
His freewheeling was at odds with the trouble Australia's middle order had earlier in the day.
Resuming on 3-73, the Australians added 87 from nearly 32 overs, losing wickets at regular intervals, before Clarke called his team in at 8-160.
Ricky Ponting top-scored with 41 before he holed out in the deep trying to hook a short and wide delivery from Fidel Edwards, while Matthew Wade made an unbeaten 31.
Roach, with the aide of some reverse swing, completed his second five-wicket haul in the game when he claimed the wickets of Michael Hussey and Hilfenhaus.
He finished with 5-41 and match figures of 10-146.
- Sydney Morning Herald