Cricket: McGrath's pace delivers final blow for Australia

Australia 303 & 306 West Indies 222 & 211 Australia win by 176 runs Four-Test series drawn 2-2
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The Independent Online
THE WEST Indies required another of the miracles that had transformed their heavy defeat in the first Test into a 2-1 lead in the series if they were to deny Australia a levelling victory on the last day of the final Test here yesterday.

However, with the captain Brian Lara, the inspiration for their triumphs in Kingston and Bridgetown, dismissed on the previous afternoon and no longer available to create another of his wonders, it was too much to expect and they were beaten by 176 runs half an hour before tea.

Set an improbable target of 388, the home side began the day on 105 for 4. This time, though, Australia would not be denied and they retained the coveted Frank Worrell Trophy they have held since 1995.

The tourists achieved their objective when their tireless and aggressive fast bowler, Glenn McGrath, finished off the West Indies' second innings for 211 with his 30th wicket of the series, a bouncer which deflected from Corey Collymore's glove to gully.

They were made to fight, mainly by the tall left-handed opener Adrian Griffith, who batted through the first three hours to carry his overnight 16 to 56 before he was ninth out, lbw offering no shot to Stuart MacGill's leg-break. But, once they had got rid of Jimmy Adams with the first ball of the day's third over, it was only a matter of time.

Adams, the left-hander with an average of just under 50 in his 37 Tests, had twice defied the Australians in the series - for six and three-quarter hours for his 94 in the second Test and for almost three hours in his second-innings 38 in the third Test. If the West Indies needed anyone to stay, it was him.

Instead, Adams fell to a piece of extremely slack cricket and slick glovework by Ian Healy. He had not added to his overnight 18 when he overbalanced aiming to turn a quick leg-side delivery from the off-spinner Colin Miller's and the Australian wicketkeeper stumped him in a flash.

Griffith took over Adams' role, to which he is technically and temperamentally suited. His strokes are limited but not his patience and he ignored repeated near misses against McGrath's probing pace to keep the Australians waiting.

The fourth left-hander in the order, the wicketkeeper Ridley Jacobs, kept him company for 90 minutes before Steve Waugh introduced the medium pace of Greg Blewett. The change was quickly effective, Jacobs falling lbw 20 minutes before lunch.

Nehemiah Perry, the tall right-hander, remained with Griffith for 40 minutes either side of lunch, cracking four boundaries off MacGill in his 26. He did not suggest permanence, however, and, flicking a leg-break off his legs, he gave a catch to midwicket.

Conscious that MacGill would bother the tail-enders, despite his penchant for a loose ball or two every over, yet still wanting to give McGrath the benefit of the new ball, Waugh solved the problem by claiming it yet still retaining the leg- spinner. Old ball or new would have made no difference as Curtly Ambrose swung wildly at MacGill and was bowled. Griffith followed before McGrath delivered the coup de grace when Collymore, who had taken several blows in over an hour's defiance, took his last and decisive knock.

Australia's only setback of the day came off the field when McGrath was fined 30 per-cent of his match fee for spitting on the wicket at the end of Tuesday's play. He was also severely reprimanded by the match referee, Raman Subba Row, over his conduct.

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