Cricket: West Indies faced with uphill task

Australia 490 West Indies 151-6
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The Independent Online
AUSTRALIA TIGHTENED the screws on the West Indies with ruthless efficiency typical of their approach on the third day of the third Test here yesterday. By lunch they had reduced the home team to 151 for 6 in reply to their imposing first innings total of 490 and seemed certain to gain the option of enforcing the follow-on during the afternoon. Sherwin Campbell was not out 43 and Ridley Jacobs 32.

The vice, already firm when play resumed, was twisted a few more notches in the first hour by fast bowling of menacing, yet controlled, hostility by Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie.

In 14 overs - seven by McGrath from the north, seven by Gillespie from the south - the West Indies batsmen were held to 25 unconvincing runs and were lucky not to lose more than the wickets of Carl Hooper, for 27, and the left-hander Jimmy Adams, for 0.

Both fell to McGrath to slip catches, Hooper edging to Shane Warne at first slip the ball after a typically elegant boundary backward of point, Adams sparring outside off stump to be taken by Mark Waugh at second slip.

Only bad luck and the determined application of Sherwin Campbell denied Gillespie his just reward. The diminutive opener faced all of Gillespie's 42 deliveries and his only scoring stroke, off the third, was a snick that snaked through the slips to the boundary.

Two overs later, with Campbell 27, Gillespie again induced an edge but Matthew Elliott at third slip could not latch on to a stinging chance low to his left. But Campbell's resolve could not be shaken and relief came when Steve Waugh turned to his two leg-spinners after the first drinks break.

Jacobs, the belligerent left-handed wicket-keeper, announced his mood as soon as he replaced Adams, hooking McGrath fine to raise the hundred. The landmark was greeted by cynical applause from a Sunday crowd of 10,000 that almost filled the small stands around the famous ground from early morning but were disgruntled at the familiar failure of the fragile batting.

Jacobs lifted their spirits by going after the two spinners. He swept and cut Warne and drove through extra-cover, square-cut and lifted MacGill through mid-wicket, all for boundaries.

Only Justin Langer's hardy left knee prevented him counting another four in the over before lunch. His meaty pull off MacGill's long-hop struck Langer, two yards away at forward short-leg, with a crack that might have been heard by the tourists on their cruise liners in the nearby Bridgetown port. Somehow, Langer jumped to his feet again and resumed his position as if nothing had happened.

When on 14, Jacobs carelessly steered Warne through Mark Waugh's usually safe hands at slip but Warne once again lacked his zip and menace of old. While MacGill made his leg-breaks fizz and bounce at the opposite end, the champion leg-spinner struggled to pass the bat.

Warne has only taken one wicket in the series - and three in the four Tests since his return following his shoulder operation last October. Captain Waugh has proclaimed his faith in him - but the time will come when he must decide between Warne and MacGill. Right now, the preference would have to be the latter.

Third day; Australia won toss

AUSTRALIA - First Innings 490 (S R Waugh 199, R T Ponting 104; N O Perry 3-102).

WEST INDIES - First Innings

S L Campbell not out 43

A F G Griffith run out 0

D R E Joseph lbw b McGrath 26

P T Collins lbw b McGrath 0

*B C Lara c Healy b Gillespie 8

C L Hooper c Warne b McGrath 25

J C Adams c M Waugh b McGrath 0

R D Jacobs not out 32

Extras (lb2 nb15) 17

Total (for 6) 151

Falls: 1-1, 2-50, 3-50, 4-64, 5-98, 6-98.

To bat: N O Perry, C E L Ambrose, C A Walsh.

Bowling: McGrath 18-2-64-4 (nb 9); Gillespie 18-9-28-1 (nb 3); Warne 10-2-38-0; MacGill 9-2-19-0 (nb 2).

AUSTRALIA: M J Slater, M T G Elliott, J L Langer, M E Waugh, *S R Waugh, R T Ponting, I A Healy, S K Warne, J N Gillespie, S C G MacGill, G D McGrath.

Umpires: E Nichols, D Orchard. TV replay umpire: H Moore.