Mike Hussey ... on the way to his highest score in the Caribbean. Photo: AP
MICHAEL CLARKE dipped into his bag of tricks to pull another rabbit out of the hat, but it was Michael Hussey who led his team out of jail as Australia wiggled free of West Indies' hold to take control of the second Test on Monday.
A day which began with Australia precariously placed finished with the boot on the other foot after Hussey, with a determined 73, spearheaded a late revival with the bat and the Windies top order surrendered meekly for the second time in as many innings.
Hussey shared an 89-run stand with James Pattinson, who made 32 after more than three-and-a-half hours at the crease, which allowed Australia to post an increasingly imposing first innings total of 311.
The home team will resume on the third day 3-49, still 262 in arrears, on a wicket which is providing generous assistance to the spinners.
So encouraged was Clarke but the amount of turn in the Queen's Park Oval wicket, he threw the new ball to left-arm spinner Michael Beer, who is playing his first Test since making his debut in early 2011.
And, as has become habit for the innovative captain, Clarke's strategy reaped fruit when Beer pocketed the wicket of Adrian Barath, trapped plumb in front.
There was a double bonus for Clarke when Pattinson, who was denied the new ball by Beer, removed Kieran Powell leg before wicket with his first ball of the game, in the 16th over of the innings.
Powell incorrectly chose not to seek intervention from the video umpire, who would have seen the ball pitching outside of leg stump and reprieved the No.3.
Again, it will be left to run machine Shivnarine Chanderpaul to lift the Windies off the canvas.
The home side have only themselves to blame for letting Australia off the hook. A first-innings total of 250 seemed in doubt for Australia when Matthew Wade departed in just the second over of the morning, for 11, but Hussey, as he has for much of his international career, and Pattinson swung the match back in the visitors' favour with a vital 89-run stand.
The importance of their union was magnified when Australia lost 4-14 in 26 balls, highlighting what could have been for the Windies had they not wasted their chances.
Dropped on five by Carlton Baugh on the first day, Hussey was given another life, on 47, by the Windies gloveman, whose fumble bungled what appeared a straightforward stumping opportunity. Off-spinner Shane Shillingford was the unlucky bowler on both occasions.
Hussey and Pattinson survived a testing spell in the morning session from Fidel Edwards, who beat both batsmen with his most impressive spell of the series.
Shillingford was the best of the Windies bowlers, though his figures of 3-92 from 49 overs did not accurately reflect the constant threat he posed.
Instead, Kemar Roach finished with a flattering five-wicket haul after he bundled over Australia's tail.
Play will start at 9.46am local time tomorrow (11.46pm AEST) to make up for the near two hours of play which was washed out by rain.