In an age that is so driven by ultra defensive Captaincy in all regards this was a bit like a sea breeze on a stiflingly hot day that refreshed you and made you feel invigorated. You cannot begin to praise Clarke highly enough for this has not been his first attacking move in his year long tenure, but a reign that has been marked by its enthusiasm, pro activity and a willingness to take a risk to win the ultimate.
He who risks often wins as seen here!
Leaving my Clarke worship for a moment- lets look at both Teams in greater detail,
The hosts were afforded a chance by Clarke's brave declaration to bat for a chance of victory or to make sure of the game being safe.
They failed on both desires, which was facilitated by their toilet of a batting line up.
Sadly for the hosts, if you were to be honest only 3 of their line up in Shiv Chanderpaul, Kirk Edwards and Darren Bravo are Test class, and even young Bravo is still coming to terms with the demands of the highest form of the game. The rest of the top 6 range from the average to the God damned awful which not only makes you wish for the golden age of the West Indies where they bedazzled all, but also makes you heap scorn on the Indian Premier League that has fractured the national Team.
Just think if you included Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard in this top 6 and the batting takes on a more menacing look.
Regrettably we live in the now and the batting is a huge concern for the hosts with little quality in its ranks and zero depth in reserve.
In the end it is what lead to the teams demise in this match with the Australian bowling fuelled by an improved 2nd innings performance over matching them.
If they could find some back bone in their batting as seen in consistency they could make a remarkable come back in this series on the back of Australia's batting being fragile as well.
That could be readily exploited by the spin corps of the host as seen by Narsingh Deonarine rather inocuous off spin looking like exploding hangrenades in the 2nd innings. Again, it is a pity young Sunil Narine is not available for selection for he would form a brilliant partner for Devendra Bishoo's leg spin to exploits the Australians weakness against it.
Away from the strength in spin, the pacemen were adequate lead by the big hearted Darren Sammy and a rejuvenated Kemar Roach. Who had a test match symbolised by an absence of any luck.
As for Fidel Edwards................well rubbish bowler with no bowling smarts, and should be replaced by Ravi Rampaul. Who not only proved himself to be a very adequate Test bowler in 2011, but also brings a useful lower order bat to the Team.
The victory was very much facilitated by Michael Clarke's attacking intents, but then it was made reality by a very accomplished bowling effort from the pace men in the West Indies 2nd innings.
They were transferred from being lacklustre in the 1st innings where the hosts rung up a big total to being back to cutting edge in the decisive second. The duo of Ben Hilfenhaus and Ryan Harris were exceptional, and ably supported by the pressure heaped on the batsmen by Peter Siddle and Shane Watson. Who were excellent in their expertise in defensive bowling to make the pressure acidic leading to a massive batting collapse.
Indeed hail the bowling, but be very concerned by the batting....
In both innings they were exposed with the top 3 that has been a concern for a good while now not inspiring any faith and then a unhealthy reliance falling on Michael Clarke again to keep the innings together. With the Team teetering on the brink at 285/8 it underlined this fragility and only was saved by some abject West Indies tactics and bowling coupled by the trio of tail enders in Nathan Lyon, Ben Hilfenhaus and Ryan Harris adding a remarkable and decisive 125 unbeaten runs.
Ricky Ponting again raised the question of his International future in the game with his very fine form against India looking more to do with their sub standard bowling and disinterested mindsets for Test Cricket. Rather than an upturn in his fortunes.
Then Shane Watson.......looks far from a number 3 batsman and would be a perfect counter attacking number 5/6.
Point blank, Michael Clarke should be at number 3
The batting and its make up certainly needs to improve or run the risk of suffering an embarrassing result in a series where the Team is expected to Lord it over their opponents.
Away from my nitpicking, the highest praise needs to be given to the Team for pulling off a victory in a Test that had a draw written all over it