Waugh regains initiative for Australia

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The Independent Online

Australia 216 and 16-0

West Indies 260

Steve Waugh's surprising intervention in the middle of the afternoon changed the course of the enthralling second Test here yesterday afternoon, and regained an initiative that Australia appeared to have lost, as Brian Lara was batting in the kind of form that earned him his record 375 on the same ground last year.

Waugh's gentle medium pace that had not been used at all in the first Test, and had been eliminated by a shoulder injury throughout the recent Australian season, was introduced by the captain, Mark Waugh, with the West Indies 162 for two, and Lara 81, and heading for another seemingly huge score.

Quickly Shane Warne claimed Jimmy Adams lbw to a belated decision by umpire Steve Bucknor at 168 and, in his fourth and fifth overs, Waugh dispatched Lara and Carl Hooper. The West Indies were never allowed to recover by the fiercely competitive Australians, and were all out for 260, an inadequate advantage of 44 for a team that must bat last on a wearing pitch to either save or win the game.

Lara came in when Stuart Williams drove Warne to mid-wicket after 40 minutes play, and immediately began striking the ball with the kind of certainty familiar to England's bowlers of a year ago. He announced his arrival with two flashing square-driven fours off the tall fast-bowler, Glenn McGrath, and engaging in the contest that has received so much pre- series hype, he was also severe on anything remotely loose from Warne. Not that there was much, for the leg-spinner kept his usual control, but Lara gave him no leeway.

Richie Richardson, wearing a helmet for the first time in his lengthy Test career, perhaps to keep out the criticism of fans distressed by his reckless strokes in the first Test defeat, added 72 with Lara. But just before the interval, his sliced cut off Brendon Julian presented a catch to gully.

By lunch, Lara had reached 56 with 11 boundaries, and greeted Warne with three fours from his first three deliveries on resumption. His only alarm was a close call on a run-out that needed the clarification of a television replay to rule him in.

He and the solid Adams had put on a further 62 when the innings was transformed. Adams fell, using his pad once too often, and David Boon typified the Australian spirit when he leapt high to his left from his strategically placed position at short mid-on to clutch a breathtaking left-handed catch to remove Lara. As usual, Lara scored at a rapid rate, requiring only 101 balls for his runs.

Hooper's careless stroke off his legs in Waugh's next over popped a catch to mid-wicket that left the West Indies 187 for five, and after Keith Arthurton and wicketkeeper Junior Murray steadied the innings over the next hour, adding 53, three wickets fell at the same score to limit their advantage.

Warne had the last laugh after Arthurton had hoisted him for two huge sixes, finding his edge for a low catch at slip. At the opposite end, Murray fell next ball lbw to Paul Reiffel, who then had Curtly Ambrose snapped up at slip two balls later.

When the innings ended with Winston Benjamin presenting Taylor with his third slip catch, the Australians understandably left the field with a distinct spring in their step.

(Second day; West Indies won toss)

AUSTRALIA - First Innings

M J Slater c Adams b Walsh 41

*M A Taylor c Walsh b Ambrose 37

D C Boon b Walsh 21

M E Waugh c Hooper b Walsh 4

S R Waugh b K Benjamin 15

G S Blewett c Murray b W Benjamin 11

I A Healy c Walsh b W Benjamin 14

B P Julian b Walsh 22

P R Reiffel not out 22

S K Warne c Arthurton b Walsh 11

G D McGrath c Murray b Walsh 0

Extras (lb 12, nb 6) 18

Total 216

Fall: 1-82 2-84 3-89 4-126 5-126 6-150 7-168 8-188 9-204.

Bowling: Ambrose 14-5-34-1; Walsh 21.3-7-54-6 (5nb); K Benjamin 16-3- 58-1 (1nb); Hooper 2-0-18-0; W Benjamin 15-2-40-2.

WEST INDIES - First Innings

S C Williams c Boon b Warne 16

*R B Richardson c S Waugh b Julian 37

B C Lara c Boon b Warne 88

J C Adams lbw Warne 22

C L Hooper c Julian b S Waugh 11

K L T Arthurton c Taylor b Warne 26

J R Murray lbw Reiffel 26

W K M Benjamin c Taylor b McGrath 4

C E L Ambrose c Taylor b Reiffel 0

C A Walsh b Reiffel 9

K C G Benjamin not out 5

Extras (b6 3lb 1w nb6) 16

Total 260

Fall: 1-34 2-106 3-168 4-186 5-187 6-240 7-240 8-240 9-254.

Bowling: Reiffel 17-3-53-3 (2nb); Julian 10-5-36-1 (2nb); Warne 28-9- 83-3; McGrath 20.1-5-59-1 (1nb, 1w); S Waugh 6-1-20-2 (1nb).

AUSTRALIA - Second Innings

*M A Taylor not out 4

M J Slater not out 9

Extras: (1lb, nb2) 3

Total 16

Bowling: Ambrose 5-0-9-0; Walsh 4-1-6-0 (nb2).

Umpires: S Bucknor (WI) and D Shepherd (Eng). TV replay umpire: P White (WI).

Match referee: Majid Khan (Pakistan).