/ 17 June 2008

Australia finish off West Indies resistance

Australia won the third and final Test against the West Indies on Monday to complete a 2-0 series victory after a battling fourth-innings display from the hosts.

The West Indies were all out for 387, 87 runs short of their victory target, but their score was the highest fourth-innings total made on the ground.

Debutant spinner Beau Casson and seamer Stuart Clark picked up three wickets each for Australia, but the tourists, while on top throughout, were made to fight every step of the way.

Resuming on 235-3, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Dwayne Bravo made good progress before both were dismissed just before lunch with the score on 303.

After lunch, Jerome Taylor made a spirited 31, his highest score in tests and then injured Sewnarine Chattergoon batted with a runner in a bid to keep the chase-hope alive.

But after Mitchell Johnson got Taylor caught behind and then Brett Lee did the same for Chattergoon, Ricky Ponting’s side were sure of their victory.

”When you’re in a situation like that in a Test match, it’s just to do with being really patient,” said Ponting.

”It was a patience game for us to hopefully try to get all the momentum in the game going our way.

”When there’s a team that has a little bit of interest like that, they want to keep the scoreboard ticking over, hence a few more chances probably going your way,” he added.

If the West Indies were to chase down a record winning total of 475 they needed the fourth-wicket partnership between Chanderpaul and Bravo to be long and fruitful, and the pair started with that intent clear.

Three sixes
With the crowd filling up in anticipation of a possible upset, there were some signs of consternation among the Australians as the hosts passed the 300 mark without the loss of a further wicket, particularly given Chanderpaul’s record in this series.

The Guyanese batsman has not been dismissed in his three previous innings, has made two centuries against the tourists in this campaign and once again he looked well set for a marathon innings.

Bravo showed the restraint he has often been criticised for lacking, although he did let free some aggression as he hit Casson for three sixes over extra-cover.

But it was Casson who had the last laugh as Bravo, on 69, pushed defensively at a ball outside off stump and prodded it straight into the hands of Phil Jaques at silly point.

At 303-4, the West Indies were once again relying on Chanderpaul, who passed 8 000 career Test runs during the session, but this time the left-hander succumbed.

Having just reached his 50, the left-hander was trapped leg before off Stuart Clark and the tourists celebrated with as much relief as joy.

Wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin, who has had a miserable series with the bat, provided some support to Taylor who produced some sparky batting after lunch.

The rearguard action began to fade, though, when Ramdin went lbw to Clark (8) and then Taylor nicked a Johnson delivery to keeper Brad Haddin.

Chattergoon’s courage was applauded by the crowd but he was caught behind off Brett Lee for 13 and that just left the tail to be cleaned up. — Reuters