Watson, Katich power Australia
by Jinu Sabastian
DateLine: 5th December 2009
The second day was a balanced affair as while West Indies claimed the first half of the day Australia stormed back into the match by emphatically taking the second half. Australian born Nash ensured that West Indies put up a challenging total of 451 but the Australian openers Watson (96) and Katich (71) put on an unbeaten 174 for the first wicket.
Australia began the day on a bright note when Siddle after being unlucky yesterday struck first ball in the morning. He trapped Darren Sammy (44) plumb before the stumps only for Sammy to go for the review. The third umpire had a couple of looks and agreed with the decision of the on-field umpire. Nash and Benn put on 44 for the eighth wicket as the latter showed that he is a gutsy customer by surviving 50 deliveries for 17.
Nathan Hauritz split the pair when Benn missed a straighter ball and failed to survive when he asked the third umpire to review the lbw decision. Kemar Roach followed soon afterwards when he was adjudged to have edged behind off Johnson for 2. Meanwhile Nash looked solid and unperturbed with the happenings as he put his foot down to play a patient innings. Nash was the last man out when he missed a Johnson delivery that nipped back in and was bowled for 92. Nash missed out on a century but he and Ravi Rampaul to take West Indies to a highly competitive 451. Rampaul provided great entertainment to the crowd with some lusty blows as he scored an unbeaten 40, which was the second-highest Test score ever by a West Indies No. 11.
Australia in reply got off to a brisk start as openers Watson and Katich were off the blocks quickly. Watson though survived a confident appeal of the first ball of the innings when Roach struck him on the pads but the height factor saved the right-hander. From then on the openers played confidently on a pitch that held no demons for the batsmen. The West Indian seamers showed their inexperience by not hitting the right areas consistently as they were either too short or too full and the openers took full toll of their offering. The pair looked in no discomfort in any way as they negotiated the West Indian bowlers with ease forcing skipper Gayle to make regular bowling changes.
The openers looked very comfortable in the middle whether against pace or spin and of the two Watson was the aggressor. Soon Benn began to engage in a war of words with Watson to try and unsettle him but the right-hander displayed enough composure as not to be rattled. Watson had a satisfactory outing as there were calls to demote him down the order and Phil Hughes to be reinstated. It was only as the day drew close that Watson began to look edgy as he was also approaching a century. But he ensured that he was unbeaten and will have to wait till tomorrow to complete his century.