Cricket: Slater takes total control

Australia 269 and 227-7 West Indies 167
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THE first Test followed its inevitable course towards a predictable Australian victory here yesterday, ordained by Sunday afternoon's customary West Indian late order disintegration.

Australia secured a commanding lead of 102 when Glenn McGrath wrapped up the West Indies' first innings with the sixth ball of the day's opening over, the last of seven wickets to tumble for 18 runs. They then built on it with typical efficiency to reach 227 for 7 in their second innings when fading light ended a rain-interrupted day with 11 overs left, an advantage of 329 with two days remaining.

The opener Michael Slater was at the core of Australia's consolidation with a controlled 106 out of 192 while he was at the wicket. his 12th hundred in his 46th Test. He spent four and three-quarter chanceless hours making light of a slow pitch of uncertain bounce, stroking 12 fours, before he became a rare statistic in a West Indian scoreboard, stumped as he charged down the pitch to the occasional left-arm spinner, Jimmy Adams.

Slater and Mark Waugh checked the potential trouble of the cheap loss of Matthew Elliott and Justin Langer with a partnership of 81 but there was more encouragement for the West Indies when Mark and his brother Steve, the new captain, fell in successive overs.

In the last hour, Adams accounted for Slater and Greg Blewett, another Ridley Jacobs stumping victim for 33, while Ian Healy fell to Ambrose, the 11th lbw decision of the innings. By then, the match was realistically out of West Indies' grasp.

Third day; Australia won toss

AUSTRALIA - First innings 269 (G S Blewett 58; C A Walsh 3-60, C E L Ambrose 3-35).

WEST INDIES - First innings

S L Campbell lbw b McGrath 9

S Ragoonath run out (McGrath) 9

D Joseph lbw b McGrath 50

*B C Lara run out (Langer) 62

J C Adams b MacGill 13

R D Jacobs lbw b MacGill 6

P T Collins lbw b McGrath 1

R I C Holder lbw b MacGill 0

C E L Ambrose c Slater b McGrath 0

M Dillon b McGrath 0

C A Walsh not out 0

Extras (b4, lb2, nb11) 17

Total 167

Fall: 1-16, 2-28, 3-116, 4-149, 5-156, 6-163, 7-163, 8-163, 9-167.

Bowling: McGrath 14-3-50-5; Gillespie 12-3-34-0; MacGill 16-5-41-3; Warne 14-4-35-0; Blewett 1-0-1-0.

AUSTRALIA - Second innings

M T G Elliott c Joseph b Walsh 0

M J Slater not out 106

J L Langer c Jacobs b Dillon 24

M E Waugh lbw b Ambrose 33

*S R Waugh c Jacons b Collins 0

G S Blewett st Jacobs b Adams 28

I A Healy lbw b Walsh 0

S K Warne not out 18

J N Gillespie not out 0

Extras (b4 lb6 w1 nb7) 18

Total (for 6) 227

Fall: 1-7, 2-45, 3-126, 4-127, 5-193, 6-194, 7-227.

To bat: S C G MacGill, G D McGrath.

Umpires: E Nichols, P Willey. TV replay umpire: C Cumberbatch. Match referee: R Subba Row.

Bowling (to date): Walsh 13-2-27-1 (nb1); Ambrose 9-3-14-0 (nb1); Collins 11-1-34-0 (nb1); Dillon 10-1-34-1 (w1); Adams 3-0-14-0.

n Mark Taylor, the former Australian Test captain, expects to play the final game of his first-class career this week, for New South Wales in the Sheffield Shield against Tasmania.