Ambrose back in the groove
CRICKET: Australia 219 West Indies 29-1
Friday 27 December 1996
Lack of form, luck and his usual self-belief had reduced the West Indies' premier bowler to a mere three wickets in the first two Tests, prompting conjecture that at 33 he was no longer capable of dismantling international opposition.
Within seven overs, on a crisp, clear morning, he had doubled his series tally, removing the new opener, Matthew Hayden, to a slip catch for five, bowling the Australian captain, Mark Taylor, off his body for seven and claiming the ever dangerous Mark Waugh plainly lbw first ball.
He added two more victims later, the first the threatening Ian Healy, and walked off the ground having kept what he later revealed was the first half of his promise to team-mates to collect 10 wickets in the match.
"I told them if I do that, we'll win easy," he said in a rare, relaxed press conference afterwards. "My team-mates have never lost faith in me and that has kept me strong."
Whether easy or not, the West Indies are in a position to dictate terms in a match they must win to retain an interest in the series they trail 2-0.
Ambrose's 5 for 55 from 24.5 probing overs, emphasised his well-established quality. It was the 15th time in his 64 Tests that he had dismissed at least half the opposition and was achieved with control, movement, bounce and variation that included the unaccustomed tactic of delivering round the wicket. Suggested to him by Malcolm Marshall, the West Indies coach, it accounted for Healy, providing Carl Hooper with the second of his three slip catches.
His efforts were mainly responsible for restricting Australia to 219, an inadequate total for a team batting first on winning the toss. It placed the onus for consolidating the West Indies' position on their batsmen who have been held by Courtney Walsh, their captain, accountable for the defeats in the first two Tests.
After Ambrose's early strikes and an efficient run-out of Justin Langer by Sherwin Campbell that left Australia 27 for 4 there was a mid-afternoon recovery.
To the encouragement of the biggest crowd at an Australian Test since the corresponding West Indies Boxing Day match 21 years ago, 72,821, compared with 85,661 then, their two most experienced and resolute fighters Steve Waugh and Healy were involved in successive face-saving partnerships with the in-form Greg Blewett.
Blewett, replacing Michael Bevan at No 6, was never entirely comfortable yet could not be moved for three and three-quarter hours until he was run out by the substitute Adrian Griffith's direct hit at the bowler's end for 62. He shared stands of 102 with Steve Waugh, who looked as if he would never get out until he did to Ian Bishop's fastest and best ball of the day, and 66 in an hour with the dashing Healy.
Once Ambrose dispatched Healy, the West Indies, for once, swept aside the tale, the last five wickets for 24.
Their effort was slightly spoiled with the loss of the in-form opener Campbell in the 13 overs they batted to close. He was replaced not by the usual No 3, the celebrated but currently struggling Brian Lara, but by another left-hander, Shivnarine Chanderpaul. Lara was held back to No 4 and there was no better time for him to fulfil his promise to Ambrose that he would get a hundred if his fast bowler got five wickets. Ambrose has completed his part of the bargain.
First day; Australia won toss
AUSTRALIA - First Innings
*M A Taylor b Ambrose 7
M L Hayden c Hooper b Ambrose 5
J C Langer run out 12
M E Waugh lbw b Ambrose 0
S R Waugh c Murray b Bishop 58
G S Blewett run out 62
I A Healy c Hooper b Ambrose 36
P R Reiffel c Samuels b Benjamin 0
S K Warne c Campbell b Bishop 10
J N Gillespie not out 4
G D McGrath c Hooper b Ambrose 0
Extras (lb8 nb17) 25
Total (74.5 overs) 219
Fall: 1-5, 2-26, 3-26, 4-27, 5-129, 6-195, 7-200, 8-203, 9-217.
Bowling: Ambrose 24.5-7-55-5 (nb9); Benjamin 19-2-64-1 (nb1); Bishop 11-1-31-2 (nb2); Walsh 14-0-43-0 (nb5); Adams 1-0-4-0; Hooper 5-1-14-0.
WEST INDIES- First Innings
S L Campbell lbw b McGrath 7
R G Samuels not out 10
S Chanderpaul not out 11
Extras (lb1) 1
Total (for 1, 13 overs) 29
To bat: B C Lara, C L Hooper, J C Adams, J R Murray, K C G Benjamin, I R Bishop, C E L Ambrose, *C A Walsh.
Bowling: McGrath 6-3-6-1; Reiffel 5-0-21-0; Warne 1-0-1-0; Gillespie 1-1-0-0.
Umpires: S Venkataraghavan (India) and P Parker (Aus).
Geoffrey Macnab reviews American Hustle, also starring Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper
newsFormer soldier taped 33 of the animals to the floor and then stamped on them one by one
Michelle Nijhuis' daughter insists (s)he is, and she learnt a valuable lesson on gender in books
news Opponents claim it would stop performers such as Beyonce and Madonna appearing on TV
It takes a platoon of chefs, litres of brandy and rum, and almost 100kg of dried fruit
food + drink
Latest in Sport
Mesut Ozil reveals he really is the Superman at Arsenal, Jack Wilshere is Batman and don't make Lukas Podolski angry - it's the Arsenal Christmas Party
Transfer news: Liverpool - January transfer targets
Brendan Rodgers says missing out on Spurs job was a 'close shave'
The most underrated players in the Premier League
Transfer news: Chelsea - January transfer targets
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 North Koreans are gasping for the truth: Let's give it to them
- 4 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 5 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: QA .NET Agile UNIX LIN...
£35000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: C# ASP.NET SQL Develop...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET SQL Developer (Software Developer, Softw...
£500 - £650 per day: Harrington Starr: Excellent opportunity for Murex Subject...