| Brian Lara, who made a fighting 42, survives a leg-before appeal on the fourth day of the third Test in Bridgetown. (Reuters)
Bridgetown: Australia beat the West Indies by nine wickets in the third Test Monday to go 3-0 ahead in the four-match series and stay on course for an unprecedented Caribbean whitewash.
The series win sent Australia back to the top of the world Test rankings, replacing South Africa, while the West Indies lost three home Tests in a row for the first time.
Australia can complete the misery for Brian Lara’s young team by winning the final Test in Antigua starting Friday.
Leg-spinner Stuart MacGill, following up on his four for 107 in the first innings, finished with five for 75 as the West Indies — following on in their second innings and needing 277 to make Australia bat again — were all out for 284.
Australia, set eight to win, lost a wicket in the process as Jermaine Lawson completed a split hattrick.
Lawson, who took the last two wickets with successive balls in the Australian first innings, had Justin Langer lbw for a golden duck on the first ball of the innings.
Australia reached their target in 2.3 overs, Darren Lehmann making four and Matthew Hayden two with two extras. Number three Ricky Ponting had a viral infection and did not take the field Monday.
The West Indies began the day needing Ramnaresh Sarwan and Brian Lara to bat for as long as possible to give them any chance of avoiding defeat, but they lost both batsmen almost immediately.
Omari Banks and Shivnarine Chanderpaul then offered stubborn resistance as they added 61 runs for the sixth wicket before both falling within four balls of each other shortly after lunch before the habitual collapse of the West Indies tail.
West Indies, who made 328 in their first innings, resumed on 187 for three, 90 runs behind Australia’s first innings of 605 for nine declared, but with hope of forcing a draw if Sarwan and Lara could hold on.
Instead, Sarwan departed for 58 off the first ball of the day when he was hit on the toe by a full-pitched delivery from MacGill. Sarwan had struck nine fours in 135 balls.
The left-handed Lara was then dismissed for 42 when he attempted to flick a full-length Andy Bichel delivery through mid-wicket, missed and was rapped on the pad.
The West Indies slumped to 195 for five with Lara’s dismissal, which was compounded with another pair of quick wickets after lunch to break the back of the West Indies batting.
MacGill struck again shortly after lunch as he found Omari Banks’ outside edge for Matthew Hayden to take the catch at first slip for 32.
Chanderpaul went four balls later when he lost concentration and edged Jason Gillespie to Gilchrist after making 21, leaving the West Indies on 256 for seven.
MacGill then bowled Vasbert Drakes for a duck with a delivery that embarrassingly went through the batsman’s legs and hit the base of the off-stump.
He then removed Tino Best when the Barbadian debutant hit the ball straight to Andy Bichel at mid-wicket.
Carlton Baugh and Lawson managed to avoid an innings defeat before Baugh was run out, having made 18.