Rampant Australia race to historic victory

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West Indies 265 and 213

Australia 531

Australia win by an innings and 53 runs

Australia took four hours to complete an emphatic victory, inevitable at the start of the day, that ended international cricket's longest unbeaten sequence and signalled an undeniable sea change in the balance of the game's power.

Having established a first-innings lead of 266 and reduced the West Indies to 63 for 3 by the end of the third day on Monday, Australia's major concern would have been the weather. But after the rest day's torrential rain, the skies were clear, the sun bright and hot and the West Indies were left to their own devices to deny their eager opponents a triumph for which they have long waited.

They were held up mainly by the night watchman, Winston Benjamin, who batted through the first session before he was out for 51 just after lunch, and the new wicketkeeper Courtney Browne, who was unbeaten on 31 after an hour and a half's batting when Shane Warne's leg break found the edge of Kenny Benjamin's bat and the captain, Mark Taylor, appropriately held the catch to formalise the margin by an innings and 53 runs.

It was the first defeat in a home series for the West Indies since 1973, their first anywhere since 1980 and, if their captain Richie Richardson described his opponents after as "the weakest Australian team I have played against," they were committed, determined and purposeful throughout the series while the West Indies lacked every one of these attributes.

The Australians showed what could be achieved by outstanding fielding and steady controlled bowling to a plan. They had taken the lead in the series by winning the first Test by 10 wickets within three days and this triumph was the first West Indian loss by an innings since they went down to Australia at Sydney in 1984-85 in Clive Lloyd's last Test.

The Australians' performance has been all the more creditable since they were denied the services of their leading fast bowler, Craig McDermott and his useful, and youthful support Damien Fleming, who both had to return home with injury even before a ball was bowled.

For the West Indies it was a crushing end to a glorious era. They have managed over the past four years to keep their record intact, in spite of the simultaneous exits from the scene of Viv Richards, Gordon Greenidge, Malcolm Marshall and Jeffrey Dujon in 1991.

Now that they have dispensed with the services of another of the great players from the 1980s, Desmond Haynes, their batting has been prone to repeated collapse because of the uncertainty at the top. Their highest score in six completed innings was 265 and, while Courtney Walsh remains capable of destroying any opposition, even at the age of 32, Curtly Ambrose managed to impose himself only on the exceptionally green and difficult Port of Spain pitch where the West Indies secured their only win to level the series.

The West Indies leave for England within a few days for a series of six Tests that will determine whether this reversal is simply an aberration or whether their awesome strength with which they so dominated international cricket for so long has now been utterly diminished. On the evidence of the past two months it appears they are now in for lean times.

(Fourth day; West Indies won toss)

WEST INDIES - First Innings 265 (R B Richardson 100, B C Lara 65)

AUSTRALIA - First Innings 531 (S R Waugh 200, M E Waugh 126, G S Blewett 69)

WEST INDIES - Second Innings

(Overnight: 63-3)

J C Adams c S Waugh b McGrath 18

W K M Benjamin lbw b Reiffel 51

C L Hooper run out 13

K L T Arthurton lbw Warne 14

C O Browne not out 31

C E L Ambrose st Healy b Warne 5

C A Walsh c Blewett b Warne 14

K C G Benjamin c Taylor b Warne 6

Extras (b13, lb8, nb6) 27

Total 213

Fall (cont): 4-98 5-134 6-140 7-166 8-172 9-204.

Bowling: Reiffel 18-5-47-4 (3nb), Julian 10-2-37-0 (1nb), Warne 23.4- 8-70-4, M Waugh 1-0-1-0, S Waugh 4-0-9-0, McGrath 13-2-28-1 (2nb)

Umpires: S Bucknor (WI) and K Liebenberg (SA).

THE BEST TEAM IN WORLD CRICKET: WEST INDIES' RECORD OF DOMINANCE

The West Indies last lost a Test series when they were beaten 1-0 in New Zealand in 1980. Until yesterday the West Indies were unbeaten in 27 Test series. The full record is:

1980 England (a) W 1-0

1980-81 Pakistan (a) W 1-0

1981 England (h) W 2-0

1981-82 Australia (a) D 1-1

1983 India (h) W 2-0

1983 India (a) W 3-0

1984 Australia (h) W 3-0

1984 England (a) W 5-0

1984-85 Australia (a) W 3-1

1985 New Zealand (h) W 2-0

1986 England (h) W 5-0

1986 Pakistan (a) D 1-1

1987 New Zealand (a) D 1-1

1987-88 India (a) D 1-1

1988 Pakistan (h) D 1-1

1988 England (a) W 4-0

1988-89 Australia (a) W 3-1

1989 India (h) W 3-0

1990 England (h) W 2-1

1990 Pakistan (a) D 1-1

1991 Australia (h) W 2-1

1991 England (a) D 2-2

1992 South Africa (h) W 1-0

1992-93 Australia (a) W 2-1

1993 Pakistan (h) W 2-0

1993 Sri Lanka (a) D(1 Test)

1994 England (h) W 3-1

1994 India (a) D 1-1

1995 New Zealand (a) W 1-0

1995 Australia (h) L 2-1

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