Australia 251 & 439-5 dec West Indies 216: Katich leaves West Indies with a mountain to climb

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The Independent Online

Australia's batsmen extended West Indies' already implausible victory target to 475 by lunch yesterday on the fourth day of the third and final Test.

Resuming on 330 for 3, Australia lost two early wickets, including Simon Katich (157), to the slow left-armer Sulieman Benn. But the vice-captain Michael Clarke (48 not out) and the wicketkeeper Brad Haddin (45no) took over, adding an unbroken 79 for the fifth wicket as the tourists reached 439 for 5 at the interval.

Katich had already recorded his Test best and passed 150 with a drive for four off Dwayne Bravo in the first over of the day. But he mistimed a drive off Benn shortly after and found the substitute fielder Darren Sammy at short cover. Andrew Symonds (two) followed in similar fashion in the spinner's next over, Shivnarine Chanderpaul taking the catch in a slightly deeper position.

Benn could have had a third when Haddin was dropped at second slip by Bravo, but the Australia pair never gave another chance. Benn took some punishment off Haddin, who struck him for three fours in one over and a six in the next.

Both Haddin and Clarke were within touching distance of half-centuries by the interval, with a declaration surely not too far away. The tourists did indeed confirm their declaration at lunch, leaving the Windies to chase a mammoth 475 to square the series. Australia lead the three-Test series 1-0.

The Australia opening batsman Phil Jaques scored his first Test century on foreign soil on Saturday and credited laser eye surgery with improving his performance at the crease.

"I decided to bite the bullet and go for the laser eye," he said. "I've found that in the field the high balls were heaps better and as for batting I've got a lot more time and I don't have to worry about the contacts. It's pretty much changed my life."