Simpson sets his victory target

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Australia 216 and 134-2

West Indies 260

Australia hold a slight advantage going into today's fourth day of the second Test against the West Indies in Antigua. Australia went into yesterday's rest day on 134 for 2 in their second innings, a lead of 90.

"I think we're in a great position now," the Australian coach, Bob Simpson, said. "I think for the first time in the match you can say that we're in a stronger position."

The West Indies dismissed both Australian openers before they had wiped out a first-innings deficit of 44 on Monday's rain-affected third day. But an unbroken third-wicket stand of 91 betweenDavid Boon, playing in his 99th Test, and Mark Waugh tilted the balance in favour of the tourists. Boon is unbeaten on 60 and Waugh on 42.

"A lead of 250 on this wicket would be a winning score," Simpson added. "We're looking toward that target and a little bit more."

The West Indies manager, Andy Roberts, is confident his team can fight back. "If we can make an early breakthrough that would put us back on top," the former Test fast bowler said. "The match is evenly balanced and the pitch is still playing well, so batting last should not be too much of a disadvantage."

The West Indies have depended heavily on their 32-year-old vice-captain, Courtney Walsh, for their bowling inspiration. The Jamaican fast bowler took six wickets in the first innings and has taken both wickets to fall in the second.

"He's the one who seems to be getting more out of the wicket than anyone else," Simpson said. "Ambrose has been used so sparingly and hasn't had his normal punch. The Benjamins [Kevin and Winston] seem to be just a little bit below the standard of the great [West Indian] bowlers of the past."

(Third day; West Indies won toss)

AUSTRALIA - First Innings 216 (C A Walsh 6-54).

WEST INDIES - First Innings 260 (B C Lara 88).

AUSTRALIA - Second Innings

(Overnight: 16 for 0)

*M A Taylor c Murray b Walsh 5

M J Slater c Richardson b Walsh 18

D C Boon not out 60

M E Waugh not out 42

Extras (b1 lb2 nb6) 9

Total (for 2) 134

Fall: 1-22 2-43.

To bat: S R Waugh, G S Blewett, I A Healy, B P Julian, P R Reiffel, S K Warne, G D McGrath.

Bowling (to date): Ambrose 12-1-33-0 (1nb); Walsh 15-5-39-2 (3nb); K Benjamin 5-1-20-0 (1nb); W Benjamin 10-1-38-0 (1nb); Arthurton 1-0-1-0.

Umpires: S Bucknor (WI) and D Shepherd (Eng).

Match referee: Majid Khan (Pak).

n Australian cricket officials have taken sworn statements from players that contained additional details about alleged bribes offered by the former Pakistan captain, Salim Malik, the Australian Cricket Board said yesterday. Graham Halbish, the ACB chief executive officer, said the players, Mark Waugh, Shane Warne and Tim May, provided the statements to the ACB legal adviser, Graeme Johnson, during the current Test match against West Indies in Antigua. He said the statements containing "more detail about the matter" would be forwarded to a Pakistan Cricket Control Board inquiry through the International Cricket Council.

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