Clarke hails battling Aussies

by Setanta Staff , 12 April 2012

Michael Clarke felt Australia's victory over the West Indies in the first Test was their best display since he took over as captain.

The Windies had dominated the majority of the match after posting 449 in their first innings but, after falling for just 148 second time around, the Aussies had a chance to open up an early lead in the series.

They were left with 192 to score late in the day in Barbados and, with the light fading dramatically, they just managed to get over the line, finishing on 192-7 to earn a three-wicket victory.

The men from the Caribbean began day five on 71-5 with just a small lead, but 23 from Carlton Baugh and 25 by paceman Kemar Roach gave them something to bowl at to try and upset the Baggy Greens.

But it looked as though the visitors would cruise to their target after they reached 106-1, only for a clatter of wickets to leave the game on a knife edge as the day progressed.

David Warner fell for 22, while fellow opener Ed Cowan batted for nearly three hours in making 34.

Shane Watson upped the scoring rate with a rapid 52 but Ricky Ponting (14) and Clarke (6) fell in quick succession to breathe new life into the Windies' hopes.

But the ever-dependable Mike Hussey stoked 32 to get his side to within touching distance of glory before the tail-enders finished the job with darkness falling on the holiday island.

Clarke has overseen a transitional period in Australian cricket since taking over as skipper from Ponting and he believes that the manner in which his charges fought back over the last couple of days of the match was right up there with anything he has been involved in on a cricket pitch.

"This is as good as I've had, no doubt, because we had our backs to the wall for the first three days of the game," he told reporters after the match.

"The spirit and the character of the guys in the change room is what drives you, I guess, as a captain to make a bold decision, to declare when I declared."

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