Cricket: Pace pair earn praise

Australia 219 and 122 West Indies 255 and 87-4 West Indies win by six wickets
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The Independent Online
Batsmen took a back seat to the exploits of Curtly Ambrose and Glenn McGrath in the third Test in Melbourne, a fact not lost on Courtney Walsh, the West Indies captain.

"You have to give bowlers on both teams credit," Walsh said on Saturday after his side reduced Australia's lead in the five-Test series to 2-1.

"Glenn McGrath bowled well and so did Curtly Ambrose. He bowled an inspired spell. The spells that both of them bowled were top class."

Before the match, Ambrose promised 10 wickets for the West Indies. He nearly achieved his goal, finishing with a haul of 9 for 72, including 4 for 17 in Australia's second innings.

It gave the 33-year-old Ambrose 102 Test wickets against Australia at a cost of 21.59 each while McGrath reached 101 wickets in only his 23rd Test.

McGrath's eight wickets in the match gave him a series tally of 18 and 38 in all from seven Tests against the West Indies. Featuring heavily among those victims is Brian Lara, who McGrath has dismissed five times in the current series and seven times in 14 Test innings.

Ambrose's efforts ensured that West Indies wrapped up a remarkable victory in an eventful Saturday during which 15 wickets fell. The tourists resumed on 233 for 9 and added 22 for a first-innings lead of 36.

Ambrose then helped skittle out Australia for 122, leaving West Indies to score 87, a target they achieved for the loss of only four wickets.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul calmed his side's nerves with a composed 40 after they lost three quick wickets, but it was left to Carl Hooper to hit the winning runs after he and Chanderpaul added 60 runs for the fourth wicket.

Ambrose, whose figures were all the more impressive given that he was handicapped by a slight calf muscle strain, was on target for his promised haul until fellow fast bowler Kenny Benjamin claimed the last Australian wicket.

After heavy defeats in the first two Tests, the West Indies must now win in Adelaide and Perth to regain the Frank Worrell Trophy and, despite the victory, the West Indies have to be concerned about the poor form of Lara, their vice-captain.

The temperamental left-hander has scored a paltry seven runs in his last four Test innings. With his score on two on Saturday, Lara sliced an attempted cut shot to Matthew Hayden of McGrath in the gully for a virtual repeat of his dismissal in the first innings.

"I don't think there is anything wrong with him mentally," Walsh said. "It's just that his confidence is down and he is trying too hard.

Third day; Australia won toss

AUSTRALIA - First Innings 219 (G S Blewett 62; C E L Ambrose 5-55)

WEST INDIES - First Innings

(Friday: 233 for 9)

J C Adams not out 74

*C A Walsh c M Waugh b Warne 4

Extras (lb7 nb3 b4) 4

Total (109.1 overs) 255

Bowling: McGrath 30-11-50-5, Reiffel 29-8-76-1, Warne 28.1-3-72-3, Gillespie 3-2-5-0, Blewett 9-3-19-0, S Waugh 10-5-22-0.

AUSTRALIA - Second Innings

*M A Taylor c Hooper b Walsh 10

M L Hayden b Ambrose 0

J C Langer c Hooper b Ambrose 0

M E Waugh lbw b Walsh 19

S R Waugh b Benjamin 37

G S Blewett c Murray b Walsh 7

I A Healy b Benjamin 0

P R Reiffel lbw b Benjamin 8

S K Warne c Adams b Ambrose 18

J N Gillespie lbw Ambrose 2

G D McGrath not out 5

Extras (lb4 w1 nb11) 16

Total (45.5 overs) 122

Fall: 1-0, 2-3, 3-28, 4-47, 5-64, 6-65, 7-76, 8-107, 9-113.

Bowling: Ambrose 12-4-17-4 (nb4), Bishop 10-2-26-0 (nb3 w1), Walsh 11- 4-41-3 (nb4), Benjamin 12.5-5-34-3.

WEST INDIES - Second Innings

S L Campbell c Hayden b McGrath 0

R G Samuels lbw b McGrath 13

S Chanderpaul b Reiffel 40

B C Lara c Hayden b McGrath 2

C L Hooper not out 27

J C Adams not out 1

Extras (nb4) 4

Total (for 4, 23.5 overs) 87

Fall: 1-0, 2-25, 3-22, 4-82.

Did not bat: J R Murray, I R Bishop, C E L Ambrose, K C G Benjamin, *C A Walsh,

Bowling: McGrath 9-1-41-3, Reiffel 9-2-16-1 (nb4), Warne 3-0-17-0, Blewett 2.5-0-13-0.

Umpires: S Venkataraghavan (Ind) and P Parker (Aus).

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