St Johnís: Record-breaking West Indies made the highest-ever fourth innings winning total to beat Australia by three wickets in the fourth and final Test Tuesday and avoid an unprecedented home whitewash.
West Indies, set 418 to win and 3-0 down in the series, reached the historic target with an unbeaten eighth-wicket partnership of 46 from lower order batsmen Omari Banks and Vasbert Drakes.
Drakesí winning hit set off wild celebrations when he cut a four down to backward point off costly leg-spinner Stuart MacGill.
The triumph surpassed the previous record ó Indiaís 406 for four to beat West Indies in Port of Spain in 1976 ó and handed captain Brian Lara his first success in his second stint as captain.
Drakes made 27 and 20-year-old Banks, in only his second Test, a battling 47. It was a remarkable performance by West Indies, who early on the fourth day had slumped to 74 for three, before they were boosted by centuries from Guyanese pair Ramnaresh Sarwan (105) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (104).
Chanderpaul batting with a broken finger was named the Man of the Match. This was Chanderpaulís second century of the series following his blazing 69-ball hundred in the first Georgetown Test.
Australian vice-captain Ricky Ponting was named as the Man of the Series after three centuries in the first three Tests and finishing with an aggregate of 523 at an average of 130.75.
West Indies resumed Tuesday on 371 for six, needing 47 to win, but suffered a quick blow when they lost Chanderpaul, their last recognised batsman.
In a tense atmosphere, Brett Lee made the early breakthrough in the fourth over of the morning. Bowling around the wicket, Lee delivered a ball around two feet wide of the off-stump which found the edge of Chanderpaulís bat and Adam Gilchrist took a low catch to his left to remove the Guyanese left-hander.
But Drakes and Banks steered West Indies home in a dramatic session which included several loud appeals and a massive six by Drakes off MacGill who ended the innings with just one wicket for 149 off 35.5 overs.
The home had never been whitewashed in the Caribbeans, hence this was a victory that was desperately needed. Lara also chipped in with a belligerent 60.
Brett Lee had put Australia back on top by dismissing Sarwan and Ridley Jacobs with successive balls, the second a controversial dismissal that sparked bottle-throwing from the crowd, to leave West Indies at 288 for six.
But Chanderpaul and Banks then combined for their potentially match-winning partnership to leave the Test on a knife-edge heading into the final day.
Lara had earlier revived the West Indies innings after they slumped to 75 for three in the morning session. The West Indies captain had been initially circumspect but after the lunch break he hit three fours and three sixes before leg spinner MacGill deceived him in the flight to have him bowled.
Sarwan and Chanderpaul, as reported briefly in the Late City edition Tuesday, then combined for a 123-run fifth wicket partnership in which the pair dispatched the Australian attack to all corners of the ground with a flurry of boundaries and gave West Indies renewed hope of winning the Test.
Their partnership also included several fiery incidents, notably when Glenn McGrath and Sarwan were involved in a heated finger-pointing exchange.
Other players like Justin Langer also got involved and umpire David Shepherd had to intervene to ensure normalcy.
McGrath was later moved in from the boundary following abuse from West Indies supporters before Sarwan completed his second Test century, and first in the Caribbean, off 137 balls with 16 fours. But Sarwan then gave his wicket away shortly after when he miscued an attempted pull and offered a simple caught and bowled to Lee.
Lee then greeted Jacobs with a bouncer which struck the batsman and looped high into the gloves of Adam Gilchrist to controversially leave West Indies 288 for six.
Television replays suggested Jacobs had been hit on the forearm and angry fans hurled plastic bottles onto the outfield, halting the game for five minutes.
Chanderpaul and Banks, helped by a brief rain interruption, then steadied the home team after Banks escaped when Martin Love dropped an easy catch. Chanderpaul hit successive boundaries off MacGill then completed his century in the next over with a quick single. (Reuters)