Symonds lifts Aussies, W Indies still in contention

Andrew Symonds struck 79 on Sunday to revive Australia but the West Indies remained well in contention in the opening cricket Test at Sabina Park at the close of day four.

The home team, after bowling out Australia for 167, was 46 for one in pursuit of 287 when bad light halted play an hour early.

Opener Devon Smith was unbeaten on 19 while captain Ramnaresh Sarwan was eight not out.

Stuart Clark, with one for 11, provided Australia’s lone breakthrough.

Earlier, Symonds dominated the innings once he arrived in the day’s opening over with Australia tottering on 18 for five.

Symonds lashed nine fours and three sixes, batting for 118 balls and 221 minutes.

The -built right-hander shared partnerships of 52 and 74 with Brad Hodge (27) and Brad Haddin (23).

The trio helped repair the damage done by the West Indies new ball pair of Daren Powell (three for 36) Fidel Edwards (three for 40).

All-rounder Dwayne Bravo made his mark later in the innings to limit Australia’s advance and ended with four for 47.

The West Indies, energised by Powell and Edwards on Saturday, began the day well when Powell struck with his fifth delivery.

Nightwatchman Mitchell Johnson failed to add to his overnight four before he wafted outside off stump and bottom-edged to wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin.

Symonds, who made 70 not out in the first innings, again battled hard with Hodge and gradually rebuilt Australia’s innings.

Hodge, who also hit a half century in Australia’s first dig, notched four fours in 27 before Bravo claimed him to another wicketkeeper’s catch at 70 for six.

Ramdin flung himself to his right to haul in the low edge one-handed.

Symonds and Brad Haddin further frustrated the West Indies with a confident stand either side of lunch.

Symonds hit off-spinner Amit Jaggernauth for three sixes just after the break to race to his 50 off 75 balls.

The pair were starting to blossom when a magnificent leaping catch by Runako Morton at short extra cover ended Haddin’s resistance.

Haddin struck two fours off 75 balls.

Brett Lee, who felled Shivnarine Chanderpaul on day three, was shaken up and also hit on the helmet by Fidel Edwards before the same bowler deservingly claimed him to a timid waft outside off stump.

Lee’s dismissal sparked a slide as Australia lost their last three wickets for five runs.

Bravo took the last two as Symonds miscued a catch to mid-off where Darren Sammy held a running catch and Stuart MacGill swatted to backward point.

The home team began their chase after tea and Smith and Brenton Parchment added 22 for the first wicket before Clark broke through.

Parchment scored 15 off 30 balls before he edged a leg-cutter to wicketkeeper Haddin.

Smith and Sarwan were assured in adding a further 24 in just under an hour before dark clouds ensured an early finish. - Sapa-AP

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