Cricket: Lowest of the low for W Indies

Cricket: Australia inflict sixth successive defeat as Lara's team are dismissed for a record 51; Australia 269 & 261 West Indies 167 & 51 Australia win by 312 runs
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The Independent Online
AUSTRALIA administered yet another crushing blow to the already fractured spirit of West Indies cricket here yesterday, sweeping to victory by 312 runs in the first Test.

They brushed aside the feeble West Indies second innings in an hour and three quarters for 51, their lowest total in their long and distinguished Test history, inflicting the sixth successive defeat on their once proud, but now broken, opponents.

It was the West Indies' sixth successive loss, following the 5-0 drubbing in South Africa in the series that ended six weeks ago that undermined their resolve for the powerful, uncompromising Australians, who are acknowleged as the best in the world, ahead of South Africa. It was the first Test for Australia under their new captain Steve Waugh, who has taken over from Mark Taylor.

On the same ground where the West Indies had routed England for 46 for a famous victory five years ago, the West Indies managed to hold out for only the same 19.1 meagre overs their opponents did then. Nine of the 10 wickets tumbled to the probing pace of Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie in 11.4 overs once opener Sherwin Campbell edged Gillespie for a low catch to Mark Waugh at second slip.

The previous lowest total recorded by the West Indies was 53 recorded by the West Indies against Pakistan in Faisalabad in 1986.

The frailty of the West Indies batting, and spirit, was further emphasised by their first innings collapse of the last seven wickets for 18 in 12.1 overs.

Captain Brian Lara, manager Clive Lloyd and coach Malcolm Marshall, all berated by the West Indies Cricket Board for their "lack of leadership" that contributed to the South African debacle, faced the press afterwards. All insisted that there was still hope of a revival in the remaining three Tests but the assertion had a hollow ring to it. The second Test is only five days away at Sabina Park in Jamaica.

Lara, who was appointed captain for only the first two of the four Tests in the series said: "Our batting is struggling at the moment. We, as a team, need to look at that immediately and see how we can get out of it."

Lara top-scored with 62 in the first innings but fell second ball for three yesterday. Only wicketkeeper Ridley Jacobs reached double figures, scoring 19, but he was responsible for the suicidal run out of Merv Dillon. The next highest was Curtly Ambrose with six.

"Getting 50s and 60s is not enough," Lara said. "I need to get 100s, especially with so many inexperienced players in the team."

Australia, 227 for 7 at the start, stretched their lead to 362 before they were all out for 261 half an hour into the day.

It took McGrath and Gillespie half-way through the eighth over before they could initiate the rout. After that, there were interrupted only by two short breaks for rain. Had it not been for four byes from a McGrath bouncer that sailed over wicketkeeper Ian Healy's head and two sets of overthrows by Greg Blewett that reached the boundary, the West Indies would not have passed England's low of 46 on the same ground in 1994.

The two Australian fast bowlers matched each other wicket for wicket through the innings. After Gillespie removed Campbell, McGrath responded with a perfectly directed bouncer that Dave Joseph could only fend off his chest to first slip.

That dismissal brought Lara to the wicket. He pulled his first ball from McGrath with a confidence that brought a cheer of relief from the small crowd. The three runs took him down to the opposite end where, lunging forward, he edged the first ball of Gillespie's next ball into Mark Waugh's safe clutches at second slip.

Lara's demise triggered the first innings collapse. Suddenly the West Indies had no one to lean on.

The left-hander Jimmy Adams, a shadow of the batsman who averaged in the 70s only four years ago, was lbw to McGrath on the back foot and, at the same score, the new, uncertain opener Suruj Ragoonath fell by the same route to Gillespie.

Light rain and lunch came as a temporary relief for the West Indies and, thanks to the extras, the overthrows and a couple of boundaries by Jacobs, the total mounted to 31 on resumption before Roland Holder, hindered by a sprained ankle, provided Mark Waugh with his third slip catch, off McGrath.

McGrath broke the sequence of wickets by claiming Ambrose and Jacobs with identical lbw decisions, of which there were 15 in the match, Dillon's run out separating them.

By now, the only noise for the usually boisterous ground was coming from the few dozen young Australians, waving their flags, singing their songs and consuming quantities of beer.

The victory was completed when fast bowled Pedro Collins swung wildly at the first ball of Gillespie's tenth over and had his off-stump plucked from behind them.

It was a fine way for Steve Waugh to begin his spell as captain following the retirement of Taylor. "I'm pretty pleased. The bowling was fantastic," Waugh said. He felt Australia's first innings of 269 laid the foundation for what became an easy and famous victory.

"I thought it was a great team effort but the first day really set it up for us nicely."

Yesterday had begun well for the West Indies.

Courtney Walsh took his Test match haul to 404 with the wickets of Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill, but the touring team hit back immediately, ripping through the brittle West Indies' top-order.

LOWEST WEST INDIES TEST SCORES

51 v Australia Trinidad 1999

53 v Pakistan

Faisalabad 1986-87

76 v Pakistan

Dacca 1958-59

77 v N Zealand

Auckland1955-56

78 v Australia

Sydney 1951-52

86 v England The Oval 1957

89 v England The Oval 1957

90 v Australia Sydney 1930-31

91 v England

Edgbaston 1963

97 v England Lord's 1933

99 v Australia

Melbourne 1930-31

PORT OF SPAIN SCOREBOARD

Fourth day; Australia won the toss

AUSTRALIA - First Innings 269 (G S Blewett 58; C E L Ambrose 3-35)

WEST INDIES - First Innings 167

(B C Lara 62, D R E Joseph 50; G D McGrath 5-50, S C G MacGill 3-41).

AUSTRALIA - Second innings

(Overnight: 227-7)

S K Warne b Walsh 25

J N Gillespie c Lara b Ambrose 22

S C G MacGill b Walsh 0

G D McGrath not out 4

Extras (lb7, w1, nb11) 19

Total (all out, 86.2 overs) 261

Fall (cont): 8-257, 9-257.

Bowling: Walsh 25.2-2-71-4 (nb7); Ambrose 18-8-25-2 (nb1); Collins 21- 2-72-1 (nb2); Dillon 14-1-57-1 (w1); Adams 8-1-29-2 (nb1).

WEST INDIES - Second Innings

S L Campbell c M Waugh b Gillespie 0

S Ragoonath lbw b Gillespie 2

D R E Joseph c Warne b McGrath 5

*B C Lara c M Waugh b Gillespie 3

J C Adams lbw b McGrath 5

R D Jacobs lbw b McGrath 19

R I C Holder c M Waugh b McGrath 4

C E L Ambrose lbw b McGrath 6

M Dillon run out (Blewett) 0

P T Collins b Gillespie 0

C A Walsh not out 2

Extras (byes 4, leg-byes 1) 5

Total (all out, 19.1 overs) 51

Fall: 1-3, 2-8, 3-11, 4-16, 5-16, 6-31, 7-47, 8-47, 9-49.

Bowling: McGrath 10-3-28-5; Gillespie 9.1-4-18-4.

Man of the match: G D McGrath (Australia).

Umpires: E Nichols, P Willey.

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