Cricket: Waugh left to hold the fort again

AUSTRALIA HAVE been overcome by a sudden and unforeseen uncertainty these past few weeks, instigated by Brian Lara's brilliance and typified by the dropping of the once indispensible Shane Warne from the decisive Fourth Test here.

It was a condition reflected in their batting on the opening day yesterday before their resilient captain Steve Waugh once more interceded to point them on the right path. At close, he was defiant and unbeaten 52 with Australia 221 for 5, a total diminished by a slow, heavily-grassed outfield.

Waugh won the toss for the fourth time in the series - the 11th successive time for Australia - and, once more, chose to bat. Behind 2-1 in the series following the stunning West Indies victories in Kingston and Bridgetown, Australia need to win to retain the Frank Worrell Trophy.

Their goal was a substantial total to put pressure on the West Indies, whose requirement is only a draw. When Mark Waugh failed again, out for 11 in mid-afternoon, they were shaky at 96 for 3 but his steely brother came to the rescue again, batting solidly through the remaining three and a quarter hours.

On a pitch similar in appearance and character to that on which Lara amassed his record 375 against England here five years ago, Australia encountered testing bowling, not least from the latest West Indies fast bowler, the 21-year-old Corey Collymore, and were forced to fight for every run.

Michael Slater and Greg Blewett, restored to the side in place of the struggling Matthew Elliott, had added a comfortable 60 when Slater's natural aggression seduced him into square-cutting Nehemiah Perry's bouncing off-break to point in the over before lunch.

It was an unexpected breakthrough for the West Indies. Bowlers were unlikely to find much joy over the five days on a ground where seven of the previous 13 Tests have been drawn, there have been 29 individual hundreds and the average total is 376.

Such figures did not worry Collymore. He kept consistent control of length and line and had his first success when he found Blewett's edge with an outswinger for a keeper's catch. Blewett had made 32.

Unconcerned with reputations, Collymore then greeted Mark Waugh with a first-ball bouncer that flashed past his face. The ball and the stare that followed brought approving nods from Michael Holding and Andy Roberts watching in admiration from the press box.

By then, Collymore was concluding an impressive spell of 16 overs, broken only by lunch. He gave way to Courtney Walsh, who immediately found Waugh's edge so low on the bat the batsman waited for umpire Steve Bucknor's confirmation of Carl Hooper's catch at second slip. Waugh's 11 represented another significant failure for Australia's most commanding batsman. In seven innings in the series, he has passed 50 only once.

At 92 for 3, Australia's innings again needed the steadying influence of the steelier of the Waugh twins. As usual, Steve did not falter, supported, as he had been in the previous Test, by first Justin Langer and then Ricky Ponting in successive partnerships of 59 and 56.

Langer passed 50 with a stroke off Carl Hooper that pulled up inches short of the extra-cover boundary. Trying to convert two into three, he was run out at the bowler's end by Perry's long, strong, accurate return.

Ponting, who was a determined century-maker in the first innings in the Barbados Test, again batted confidently and it took the second new ball, and his misjudgement of the line of Curtly Ambrose's off-cutter, to remove him 20 minutes before the end. Padding up, he was plainly lbw for 21.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant / Credit Controller

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable