West Indies turn down Australia's double declaration offer, opt to play safe
West Indies declined an opportunity to make the final day of a rain-hit third Test interesting after turning down Australia’s offer of double declaration followed by a chase of 370 from 70 overs at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
West Indies who started day five on 248/7 were given the opportunity by Steven Smith to turn what going to be a dull draw into an exciting finish after three days of almost non-stop rain.
"I offered him 370 in 70 overs, which I thought was pretty generous," Smith told reporters. "It would take some good batting to get that on a day five SCG wicket but they weren't up for the challenge, unfortunately.
"They would have had to declare this morning, I would have declared nought for nought and then bowled lob ups for seven or eight overs or whatever it was, 370 off 70 I offered but they weren't willing to take it.
"(Holder) said 'give me five minutes', went over to their team and had a little huddle, chat and he said their boys weren't up for the challenge."
The 26-year-old also explained how the “lob-ups” would have worked and said he discussed the legality of his offer with Australia coach Darren Lehmann.
"We want to try and win every game we play and today was a perfect opportunity to set the game up for a good chase and for the fans who stayed out this afternoon.
"So for us, potentially that could have been me bowling with three slips and two gullies and leaving every man up to try for them to hit as many as they can to make sure we got (what) was promised to them.”
Although West Indies have won just five away Tests in the last decade, captain Jason Holder decided not to accept the offer and said that it was a collective decision.
"He came to us and made an offer and I went back to team and we just felt at this stage of our development it wasn't the best thing for us," he told reporters.
"We set out at the start of the series to bat out 90 overs each time we batted and to get past the 300-mark and that was one of the things that we wanted to achieve today and we achieved that.
"It was a team vote, team decision. It was about our development and the phase we were at. I just think it was the best thing for the team.”
Had Australia won the match, they would have wrapped up a 3-0 series win that would have sent them into second place in the ICC Test rankings, above India.