Port of Spain: Australia captain Michael Clarke vowed to keep making ambitious declarations even if it meant risking seeing his plans come back to haunt him. Clarke set West Indies a 215-run target off 61 overs in the second Test on Thursday, after declaring on 160 for 8 early in the afternoon on day five, only for torrential rain to wash away any chance of a result.
His decision to tempt the West Indies to force a result had paid dividends in the first Test in Barbados, which his team won by three wickets, despite declaring the first innings 43 runs behind. Thursday was also set for an intriguing finish when West Indies reached 53 for 2 off 11 overs before rain returned to end the weather-battered contest.
"My goal my whole career has been to help the Australian team win as many games as possible, and I guess now that I am captain, I have the opportunity to show that," Clarke said. "At times with my declaration, when there is a chance for winning, you've got to have a go at it. There're going to be times that it might backfire and we might lose. But I enjoy the brand of cricket that we're playing at the moment. I know the guys are really focused on the team having success and trying to win as many games as we can. And I think it's bringing the best out of the team."
The draw meant that Australia retained their two-decade grip on the Frank Worrell Trophy with just the final Test to play, starting in Dominica on Monday.
In an effort to win on Thursday, West Indies captain Darren Sammy switched his batting order, moving Kieran Powell to open and placing himself at number three. But Australian seamer Ben Hilfenhaus soon had the West Indies rocking, trapping Powell lbw for just four in his second over, which allowed Sammy to come to the crease.
"Sixty overs were enough. We thought we could get the runs. Our plan was to see how far we could get by tea and then reassess after that," Sammy, who believes his team are still capable of levelling the series, said. "The guys believe now that we can not only compete but we can win matches against top opposition and we go into every game thinking we can [win]."
Sammy's optimism was boosted by seeing fast bowler Kemar Roach bag another five wickets to become the first West Indian since 2005 to take 10 wickets in a match. "It was difficult. The wicket wasn't assisting fast bowlers much. You had to be accurate," Man-of-the-Match Roach said. "I am very proud of the way we fought. Now we will practice hard for Dominica and on Monday we will be ready and raring to go."
Australia have injury worries ahead of the third Test after fast bowlers Peter Siddle and James Pattinson were forced to return home with back injuries. But they do have cover in the squad - Ryan Harris, who played in the first Test, and left-armer Mitchell Starc, who last played in the Perth Test against India in January.