Cricket: West Indies poised to lift depression

CRICKET: Australia 256 and 157-8 West Indies 431
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The Independent Online
THE WEST INDIES, down and out after their crushing defeat in the first Test a week ago, were closing in on a remarkable victory over Australia at the end of the third day of the second Test at Sabina Park yesterday.

Even though Brian Lara's dazzling 213, which had lifted the depression hanging over the team, came to a quick and anticlimactic end in the day's second over, they were not deflected from their goal.

Lara's demise, caught at the wicket off Glenn McGrath after adding just a single to his overnight score, led to a decline in which the last six wickets fell for 56. McGrath collected a five-wicket haul for the third time in three innings in the series.

The West Indies' 431, completed the first ball after lunch, secured them an imposing lead of 175 and, by the close, Australia were still 18 in arrears with only nine, 10 and jack remaining.

Energised by their captain's brilliant batting and his monumental fifth- wicket partnership of 322 with Jimmy Adams, the West Indies were unrecognisable from the disorganised and disunited bunch that had been so soundly thrashed in all five Tests in the preceding series in South Africa and in the first Test when they were shot out for 51, the lowest total in Tests.

Their veteran fast bowler, Courtney Walsh, began the uncharacteristic Australian slide in the second over by inducing an inside edge into his stumps from Michael Slater's rash cut after which the off-spinner Nehemiah Perry, administered the undermining strikes, finishing with 4 for 61.

He foxed the left-handed opener Matthew Elliot with a straight ball to earn an lbw verdict as the batsman padded up, produced a bouncing off- break that Justin Langer, another left-hander, edged to wicketkeeper Ridley Jacobs who then held a breathtaking catch to account for Steve Waugh.

Waugh, sweeping at a poor delivery down leg side, got an edge on to Jacobs' leg. The wicketkeeper had the reflexes and presence of mind to snare the ball with his left glove so close to the turf that the umpires, Peter Willey and Steve Bucknor, had to refer to the third umpire for adjudication off the television replay.

Mark Waugh was clinically set up by Ambrose who put two men back deep behind square-leg and fed him bouncers. Unable to resist, the Australian hooked into Walsh's lap.

Healy ran himself out for the second time in the match, trying for a second on a fumble and ending well short of his ground.

Walsh returned to removed Shane Warne for 23 to a slip catch and the only recognised batsman left, Greg Blewett, presented Perry with his fourth wicket, an edge to slip.

Third day; Australia won toss

AUSTRALIA - First Innings 256 (S R Waugh 100, M E Waugh 67; C A Walsh 4-55).

WEST INDIES - First Innings

(Overnight: 377 for 4)

*B C Lara c Healy b McGrath 213

D R E Joseph c Blewett b McGrath 14

P T Collins c M E Waugh b MacGill 13

J C Adams c Elliott b McGrath 94

R D Jacobs c Elliott b Warne 25

N O Perry not out 15

C E L Ambrose b MacGill 3

C A Walsh lbw b MacGill 0

Extras (b12 lb8 nb22) 42

Total (132.3 overs) 431

Fall (cont): 5-378 6-398 7-420 8-427 9-431.

Bowling: McGrath 35-11-93-5 (nb4); Gillespie 33-7-79-1 (nb10); Warne 30-8-94-1 (nb5); MacGill 22.3-3-84-3 (nb2); Blewett 10-1-48-0 (nb1); M E Waugh 2-0-13-0.

AUSTRALIA - Second Innings

MTG Elliott lbw b Perry 16

M J Slater b Walsh 0

J L Langer c Jacobs b Perry 24

M E Waugh c Walsh b Ambrose 21

*S R Waugh c Jacobs b Perry 9

G S Blewett c Lara b Perry 30

I A Healy run out 10

S K Warne c Joseph b Walsh 23

J N Gillespie not out 7

Extras (lb3, nb14) 17

Total (for 8, 59.2 overs) 157

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

Fall: 1-4 2-36 3-51 4-63 5-86 6-107 7-137 8-157.

Bowling: Ambrose 14-4-28-1 (nb4); Walsh 14.5-1-41-2 (nb6); Perry 22.2- 7-61-4; Collins 8-0-24-0 (nb4).

Umpires: S R Bucknor (WI) and P Willey (Eng).