The sporting attention in Australia has been directed towards the success of their football team, the Socceroos, who qualified for the finals of next year's World Cup in Germany by beating Uruguay in Sydney on Wednesday.
The same is true in the Caribbean, where Trinidad & Tobago advance to the finals for the first time after their win in Bahrain. That triumph has come as a welcome relief for the passionate cricket public who have endured the dramatic decline of West Indies fortunes in recent years. They have continued to dive even further over the three days at Bellerive Oval.
West Indies were out of contention once they folded in their first innings for 149 on a run-filled pitch known in these parts as the "Hobart autobahn".
Australia's left-handed openers, Matthew Hayden and Mike Hussey, comfortably erased that in a partnership of 231 on the second, rain-shortened day, both scoring hundreds.
West Indies bowled and fielded with such spirit yesterday that they dispatched Australia's last nine wickets for 150, but they had slid to 82 for 4 in their second innings, 175 in arrears, when rain and bad light ended play 26 overs short of the day's allocation.
The initial West Indies fightback began with the second ball of the day, which the Australian captain, Ricky Ponting, diverted back into his off-stump from Fidel Edwards. It continued through disciplined bowling and, not least, the fielding of a dynamic substitute, Dwayne Smith, who held two catches, one a screamer at point, and effected a breathtaking run-out.
Hussey added 21 to his overnight 117 before he drove Dwayne Bravo low to short extra-cover. It was left to Brad Hodge, in his first Test at the age of 30, to stand firm amid the clatter of wickets with 60.
Edwards' three wickets were expensive but were reward for pace and effort. Corey Collymore's 2 for 54 from 28 overs reflected the control his fellow fast bowlers lacked.
Batting a second time, Chris Gayle was bowled fourth ball of the innings by Glenn McGrath and West Indies did not recover between the showers. By the close, Devon Smith, Ramnaresh Sarwan and the captain, Shivnar-ine Chanderpaul, had succum-bed, leaving Brian Lara to carry faint hopes into the fourth day.
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