Unbeaten Katich puts Australia in command

Australia opener Simon Katich batted all day for an unbeaten 148 to lead his side to a commanding 330 for three at the close of the third day of the third Test against the West Indies on Saturday.

Phil Jaques scored 108 in an opening partnership of 223, Australia’s second best opening stand in a second innings and one which helped Australia to an overall lead of 365.

Katich’s innings surpassed his previous best Test performance of 125.

With the Kensington Oval wicket settling down after the lively bounce of the opening two days, Australia’s batsmen took full charge and now have an excellent chance of winning the Test and taking the series 2-0.

Resuming on 35, the New South Wales pairing had little trouble from the West Indian pace bowlers and then dealt comfortably with the spin of Chris Gayle and Sulieman Benn.

Their approach, studied and conservative, was in marked contrast to the first innings when they both got into the thirties rapidly before getting out as they attempted to pull short pitched deliveries.

“We both got set and got out in similar fashions. I know from my own point of view I was keen to make amends for that,” Katich told reporters.

“We’d spoken about trying to keep working in tens and keep the momentum going our way and it happened. It was nice to get in that partnership.
It certainly takes the pressure off you individually when that happens.

At lunch Jaques was on 78 while Katich had advanced to 74 and in the afternoon session the pair continued to frustrate the home side.

Jaques completed his third Test century, in 196 balls with nine fours, but after 303 minutes at the crease he finally went, caught behind swiping outside off-stump to Fidel Edwards.

Skipper Ponting then joined left-hander Katich who went on to score his second successive Test century, following his knock in Antigua.

Ponting made 39 before he departed, pulling Daren Powell to substitute Runako Morton at mid-wicket.

Barbadian slow left-armer Benn had laboured throughout the day with little joy and his frustration grew near the close when Dwayne Bravo failed to catch Katich at leg-slip, the only chance the Australian batsman offered all day.

But Benn gained some reward for his efforts on his home ground when he claimed Mike Hussey (18) )in his 35th over with Dwayne Bravo taking a catch at leg-slip.

West Indies’ miserable day was compounded by the loss of their opening batsman Sewnarine Chattergoon who was stretchered off and taken to hospital after turning his ankle badly in the outfield.

A team spokesperson said the Guyanese batsman, who had just returned to the side after suffering a shoulder injury, had suffered an acute sprain of the left ankle.

Australia’s best opening partnership, 382 by Bill Lawry and Bob Simpson, also came on this ground against the West Indies in 1965. - Reuters

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