Cricket: West Indies reduce degree of difficulty

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The Independent Online
Australia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .395 and 196

West Indies . . . . . . . . . . . . . .233 and 32-1

MEAN, purposeful bowling, an understandably reduced over-rate and Australia's strangely cautious tactics bought the West Indies precious time on the fourth day of the second Test here yesterday.

Whether it would earn them only a stay of execution or complete freedom from the defeat they had fought to stave off since midway through the match would be decided on a long difficult last day.

Their prospects were not encouraging. Although they restricted Australia's second innings progress to two runs an over and set out on their quest for safety an hour or more later than they had feared, they were still left to hold on for nearly seven hours to avert a loss that would mean a significant shift in the psychological balance between the teams.

Australia have not won a series against the West Indies since the days of the Chappells, Lillee and Thomson in 1975-76. But they had to favour their chances of taking the lead in this one on a pitch that has already undone several batsmen with its wide variation in bounce. Survival for long periods requires skill, savvy, form and luck and Australia have already got rid of one West Indian with the first two qualities if, at the moment, not the last two.

In the fourth of the 13 overs available to them, Merv Hughes made one leap and move away off the pitch, Desmond Haynes fenced at it and snicked to the keeper. As he trudged away West Indian hopes dipped appreciably. It was his fourth consecutive single-figure score in the series, a sequence he had never had to endure in his 105 Tests and, yet again, was a quick boost for the Australians.

Dutifully the captain Richie Richardson came to battle it out to stumps and carry his emerging team's banner into the final day. With nine wickets in hand, it was not beyond them to salvage a draw although, quite apart from the pitch, the enormous, slow resurfaced outfield put a winning target of 359 realistically out of reach.

Already 188 ahead when they resumed their second innings, Australia could not raise their scoring above snail's pace until well into the afternoon when their youngest and newest batting star, Damian Martyn, stimulated the lower order with his dashing disregard of the supposed gremlins in the pitch and the regular loss of wickets. When the innings ended nearly an hour after tea, he was unbeaten on 57. He had added 75 off 24 overs in an hour and three quarters with the three fast bowlers, where the previous 121 runs had required 68 overs in five hours as seven wickets fell.

Curtly Ambrose, Ian Bishop and Courtney Walsh, used in rotation with relief from the medium-paced Simmons, did not repeat their first-innings mistake of bowling too short and too wide until they flagged in the closing stages as Martyn and the carefree fast bowlers, Hughes, Craig McDermott and Mike Whitney, rattled them.

Martyn is an exciting stroke- maker who has rapidly risen above a batch of promising young Australian batsmen to move into the Test side and his potential was well advertised by his timing, placement and improvisation.

Until his late burst Australia showed little urgency in advancing their first-innings lead of 162. Their inactivity was epitomised by the left-handed opener Mark Taylor, whose 47 lasted four hours 10 minutes and 167 balls.

(Australia won toss)

AUSTRALIA - First Innings 395 (M E Waugh 112, *A R Border 110).

WEST INDIES - First Innings 233 (B C Lara 52, K L T Arthurton 71; C J McDermott 4-66).

AUSTRALIA - Second Innings

(Overnight: 25 for 1)

M A Taylor b Bishop. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42

S K Warne c Arthurton b Ambrose. . . . . . . . . . . 5

S R Waugh c Simmons b Bishop. . . . . . . . . . . . .1

M E Waugh c Adams b Walsh. . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

D R Martyn not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67

*A R Border b Bishop. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

I A Healy c and b Walsh. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

M G Hughes c Williams b Ambrose. . . . . . . . . . .15

C J McDermott c Arthurton b Simmons. . . . . . . . . 4

M R Whitney run out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13

Extras (b1 lb8 nb1). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .196

Fall (cont): 2-40 3-41 4-73 5-90 6-102 7-121 8-154 9-167.

Bowling: Ambrose 30-9-57-2; Bishop 20-5-45-3; Walsh 21-7-42-2; Simmons 18-6-34-2; Hooper 2.4-1-9-0.

WEST INDIES - Second Innings

D L Haynes c Healy b Hughes. . . . . . . . . . . . .5

P V Simmons not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

*R B Richardson not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Extras (nb1). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

Total (for 1). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

Fall: 1-9.

To bat: B C Lara, K L T Arthurton, C L Hooper, J C Adams, D Williams, I R Bishop, C E L Ambrose, C A Walsh.

Bowling: McDermott 5-0-24-0; Hughes 6-2-7-1; Whitney 2-1-1-0.

Umpires: S Randall and C Timmins.

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