Australia seal historic 2nd Test win

by Tony Cozier in Perth
Stabroek News
December 4, 2000

All the slackness that has led to the West Indies' recent abysmal record overseas was on show here yesterday as they lost the 15th of their last 17 Tests on the road, surrendered their 100 per cent record on the WACA ground and allowed Australia to complete an unprecedented twelfth successive victory.

The wasteful strokes that cost Brian Lara and Wavell Hinds their wickets and the shambolic run out that cut Ridley Jacobs' innings short were typical of much of their cricket of late.

Until the fiery Brett Lee finished off the match 20 minutes after tea with three wickets in one over of fast, direct, full-length deliveries, Australia's bowling was unusually flat. McGrath unusually failed to get a wicket and captain Steve Waugh even called for two overs of Matthew Hayden's speculative medium-pace and two overs of off-spin from brother Mark in the mid-afternoon partnership of 54, the best of the innings, between captain Jimmy Adams and Jacobs.

It provided no relief for the West Indies whose batsmen proved capable of achieving Waugh's objective for him. Lara entered three-quarters of an hour into the day at 42 for three when opener Daren Ganga, who had batted with calm assurance, was spectacularly taken at third slip by Matthew Hayden in Jason Gillespie's first over, aiming to leg. Lara brought previous scores of 0, 4 and his first ball 0 of the first innings with him, all caused by Glenn McGrath who was immediately brought back by Waugh.

He managed to see off his tormentor after five overs, if not without the discomfort of a blow on the bottom hand, a close lbw decision and an exchange of words.

When MacGill reappeared for Gillespie, Lara seemed to relax and he essayed an expansive pull second ball. It was far too close to him for the stroke. He missed and heard the rattle of broken stumps and falling bails behind him, gone for 17. As he headed for the team room, there was a wry grin on Lara's face. He knew it was a dismissal unbecoming of his standing and ability but he must be wondering whether his potential for big scores has deserted him.

Apart from a blow to the helmet from Lee that deflected for four inappropiately designated leg-byes, the tall, left-handed Hinds enjoyed an ideal batting pitch on a clear, sunny morning. He had thumped six boundaries, mostly powerful drives down the ground, and had reached 41 to add to his first innings 50 when he took the last over before lunch from MacGill.

Any primary school boy knows to bat with additional care prior to an interval but Hinds ignored that simple dictum. Off the fifth ball of the over, he swung wildly, missed and was bowled.

It was nothing more than a vup, a swipe, a wahoo. If there was a place for it at all, it was in a Sunday fete match, not in a Test, and not with the clock denoting lunch. South American footballers have been shot for lesser mistakes.

The pity of it was that Hinds was batting with such authority that his second Test hundred beckoned. His dismissal brought Ramnaresh Sarwan in on resumption after lunch. Five balls later, he was gone, prodding uncertainly and defensively at Lee and getting a faint edge to Gilchrist.

There has been much to depress West Indians these past few weeks but nothing more than the psychological destruction of this most talented young batsman. He would not have played here but for Shivnarine Chanderpaul's late withdrawal. He has the match against the Prime Minister's XI in Canberra on Thursday and against Australia 'A' in Hobart next Saturday through Tuesday for rehabilitation but he would be better away from the Tests for the remainder of the series.

Jacobs, whose unbeaten 96 in the first innings was a saviour and a relevation, again played with positive intent. He was more like the top-of-the-averages batsman from the South Africa tour than the more recent struggler.

With Adams also appreciating conditions, they stayed together for an hour and 40 minutes without bother. It even appeared as if the Test would carry into the fourth day.

It was wishful thinking. The way things have gone for the tour, something foolish was not far away. It came when Jacobs played Gillespite through mid-wicket for a comfortable two.

As he turned at the bowler's end, Jacobs stumbled. Regaining his feet, he had to shift the avoid Adams coming the other way. It was enough for MacGill to chase, slide, pick up and return to Gilchrist before the diving Jacobs.

Adams batted with more positive intent than for some time and Nixon McLean signalled tea with a huge six over long-off from MacGill. But the end was always near.

Lee hastened it with the dismantling of the late order that is one of the standards by which true fast bowlers are judged. He hit McLean's off-stump, yorked Marlon Black and, finally, gained a clearcut lbw decision against Walsh from umpire John Hampshire that sealed the match, the record and, almost certainly, the series too.

Follow the goings-on in Guyana
in Guyana Today