Bridgetown, April 11
Some fine batting by Ryan Harris and an electrifying spell of bowling from Ben Hilfenhaus looked to have turned the first Test with the West Indies in Australiaís favour on an engrossing fourth day here Tuesday.
West Indies finished the day on 71 for five in itsí second innings, leading by just 114 runs after Australiaís tail wagged and Hilfenhaus knocked over their top order.
Earlier captain Michael Clarke declared Australiaís first innings at 406 for nine with his side still trailing by 43 runs.
It was an aggressive move allowing his bowlers to attack the West Indian batsmen either side of tea and Hilfenhaus took advantage in the 25 minutes leading up to the break removing the top three.
Harris - who had earlier hit an unbeaten 68 - added the important scalp of Shivnarine Chanderpaul shortly after tea.
"To get him out second innings for not many was a huge wicket because I think they batted around him a fair bit," said Harris.
He thought that the declaration had set the West Indies on the back foot.
"To declare and put them in straight away, it probably didnít give them a chance to get their head around batting.
"I think it showed, obviously, taking three or four quick wickets. I think it was a good declaration. We want to win the Test match."
West Indiesí coach Otis Gibson thought that the 145 overs in the field had an impact on the top order.
"Hilfenhaus came out and bowled a great spell, some tired legs, batsmen didnít move their feet and so on and he got a couple of wickets.
"This is why itís called Test cricket. Itís tough. Itís tough on you mentally, itís tough on you physically. That three hour session this morning was tough on the guys but they hung in."
However; Gibson still believed his side could win.
"We believe if we get 200 on the board itíll be a very interesting run chase tomorrow (Wednesday)"
It was a remarkable turnaround in fortunes as the Australians had at one point been 199 runs behind with only three first innings wickets remaining.
The West Indies had looked like wrapping things up quickly when they took two early wickets in the morning session especially as one was the redoubtable veteran Mike Hussey.
However, Harris steadied the ship and played positively from the start of his innings as he and Matthew Wade added 35 runs for the eighth wicket.
Wade fell for 28 in his first Test innings when he took a wild drive at a wide Fidel Edwards ball that Darren Bravo took easily at second slip.
Harris and Hilfenhaus played gutsy innings as they gradually reduced the deficit with Harris passing his top score in Test cricket, made in his last innings against India in Adelaide.