Cricket: Australians settle for a draw

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The Independent Online
RAIN FRUSTRATED any chance Australia had of beating a West Indies' Cricket Board XI on the third and final day of their opening tour match in St John's, Antigua, yesterday.

The Board XI had reached 121 for 4 by the close after 65 minutes were lost in three separate stoppages. The match was abandoned with six overs remaining. The opening batsman Adrian Griffith scored a painstaking 38 not out in 216 minutes to ensure a draw.

Earlier, the acting captain Shane Warne had declared Australia's second innings closed at 209 for 4, setting the home side 311 to win.

Australia had resumed at 176 for 3 and Warne's declaration was prompted by the loss of Greg Blewett's wicket for 58, caught at long-on by Corey Collymore off the left-arm spinner, Ryan Hinds. Ricky Ponting finished on 61 not out.

The Board XI lost their first wicket on 34 when their captain, Stuart Williams, was bowled for 15 attempting to drive the medium pace of Colin Miller. Following his failure to score in the first innings, Williams is given little chance of regaining a place in the West Indies' side for the first Test, beginning in Trinidad on 5 March.

Wavell Hinds was bowled for 17 by Stuart MacGill swinging across the line, Reynold McLean was caught at mid-on for 15 off Warne, and Ryan Hinds was trapped leg before by MacGill for six.

Australia's next match is a four-day game against a Board President's XI at Guaracara Park in Trinidad, beginning on Saturday.

The President's XI appears a significantly stronger side than the Board XI. The captain Keith Arthurton, 34, is one of five Test players in a 13-man squad. The others are the promising batsman Darren Ganga, the leg- spinner Rawl Lewis and the fast bowlers Nixon McLean and Reon King.

WEST INDIES PRESIDENT'S XI SQUAD (Four-day match v Australia, Guaracara Park, Trinidad, Saturday): K L T Arthurton (capt), S Ragoonath, D Ganga, D R E Joseph, L A Roberts, Dennis Rampersad, W D Phillip, R N Lewis, N A M McLean, R D King, M I Black, M Persad, R Sarwan.

Scores, Digest, page 31