The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Aussies tighten noose around WI
- Lara’s vain survival battle on deteriorating track

Port-of-Spain: Brian Lara led a desperate West Indian struggle against the odds to avoid defeat against Australia in the second Test on a treacherous Queen’s Park Oval pitch Tuesday.

The West Indies captain remained unbeaten on 52 at close on Day 4 after having survived a caught and bowled chance against Brett Lee on six.

The West Indies were 280 for nine after 88 overs. Brian Lara was dismissed for 122, while Ramnaresh Sarwan made 91. For the Aussies Andy Bichel picked up three for 21.

Steve Waugh declared Australia’s second innings at 238 for three leaving the home side to defy history and score 407 runs to win off a minimum of 127 overs over four sessions.

At stumps after a gripping final couple of hours, the West Indies were 107 for three, with opener Wavell Hinds falling in the closing minutes after a spirited vigil on a difficult track.

Playing on what had been reduced to a minefield with huge rough areas outside off-stump, the left-handed Hinds watched aghast as he played Stuart MacGill back on to his stumps.

No team in history has scored more than 406 in the fourth innings to win a Test since India’s 406 for four against the West Indies at this very ground in 1976.

The highest a West Indian team has scored in the fourth innings to win a Test is 348 for five against New Zealand in Auckland in 1969.

Judging by the substantial skill and luck needed by the batsmen to stay alive in the final session of fourth day’s play, it appears that survival will be very difficult against the savage turn and low bounce on the dusty pitch.

Waugh made the declaration shortly before tea after the dismissal of Darren Lehmann. Matthew Hayden remained not out on 100, his 13th Test century and second against the West Indies.

Lehmann provided the fireworks in his breezy knock that contained eight fours and two sixes off 96 balls. He was yorked by Mervyn Dillon. Australia, who had a first innings lead of 168 and started the day at 31 for one, added 207 more in 52.2 overs.

First innings double centurion Ricky Ponting fell for 45 before adding 106 for the second wicket with Hayden. He edged Dillon and was caught low down by wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh, but stood his ground seeking confirmation.

Dillon, on his extended follow through, appeared to brush Ponting’s helmet with his chest. Ponting turned and with his bat pointed, exchanged angry words with Dillon before talking to umpire Rudi Koertzen.

Jason Gillespie rocked the West Indian reply with two wickets in his first four overs. He trapped Devon Smith leg-before for a pair of ducks, and had first-innings centurion Daren Ganga splendidly caught low down at first slip by Hayden.

Lara, batting with technique and grit, managed to thwart the three spinners — MacGill, Brad Hogg and Lehmann. (AFP)

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