Aussies to risk defeat chasing an unlikely victory
Ed Cowan ... says Australia are pushing for victory. Photo: AP
Australia are prepared to risk a series-levelling defeat in order to secure an unlikely victory in the second Test which will ensure they retain the Frank Worrell Trophy, says opener Ed Cowan.
And Cowan said he saw enough from the non-striker's end to be convinced Ricky Ponting was back among the runs.
A draw appears the most likely result at Queen's Park Oval after two sessions of play were lost on Wednesday due to rain, but Cowan said Australia could set a fourth-innings target as low as 230 from 70 overs in order to win the Test.
But with more unsettled weather forecast on Thursday it appears long odds all of the designated 98 overs will be bowled.
Australia needed 104 overs to dismiss the hosts the first time but a trademark Windies collapse would leave them vulnerable.
"But we'll still push if we get a full day's play, I don't think there's any doubt about that," Cowan said.
"We'll open up the game at some point, probably willing to lose it for the chance to win it. It will depend on whether they're willing to risk the game, I guess.
"I have a number in my head. I don't know if it's the same, I'm not the captain.
"I haven't spoken to Mickey or Michael but on that wicket we've seen scoring rates at a little over two for the game so 230, 240 even off 65, 70 overs, that's long enough for us to bowl them out if they're willing to have a go, we'll see.
"I don't quite know how the brains trust is playing it. That's what I'd be thinking."
For Cowan's scenario to play out, Australia, currently tracking at 2.43 an over, will have to score at above 3.5 an over to set the Windies 230 off around 70 overs.
That will be easily achieved if Ponting breaks loose on day five after showing promising signs on Wednesday to reach 32 not out.
"We've seen it's a hard wicket to start on, so I dont think he was scratchy. It's bloody hard coming into facing a spitting ball like that," Cowan said.
"When we see Ponting's trademark down-the-ground drives, which we saw a few of today, it means his balance is spot on.
"When he's struggled in the last couple of years that's probably been the issue. If he's playing those shots it means he's in good touch.
"If you spoke to him he'd probably say the same thing.
"He's probably felt a little bit unlucky, it only takes something to go your way and you're away. He's probably out of runs but not out of form as people have made out."