Windies miracle team hailed by media as fans party on

Stabroek News
May 15, 2003

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ST JOHN'S, Antigua, (Reuters) - The record-breaking victory by West Indies in the fourth test against Australia was hailed as a miracle and ``a tremendous shot in the arm for the West Indies team'' by newspapers in the region yesterday.

A young and inexperienced West Indies side made the highest-ever fourth innings winning total to beat Australia by three wickets in the final test of a four-match series on Tuesday, avoiding an unprecedented home whitewash. ``3-mendous'' read the headline in the Barbados Daily Nation, which also ran a photograph of West Indies players kissing the pitch at the Antigua Recreation Ground after the home side achieved the 418 needed for victory.

``Miracles do happen in test cricket,'' the newspaper continued. ``And lower order batsmen Omari Banks and Vasbert Drakes had the magic touch at the Antigua Recreation Ground yesterday morning as the West Indies created history.''

Drakes made 27 and 20-year-old Banks, in only his second test, a battling 47. Meanwhile the Jamaica Observer, which also quoted former West Indian players, described the victory as ``fantastic, brilliant and amazing.''

``(It was) one of the best matches I have ever witnessed,'' said Courtney Walsh, the world record holder for test wickets with 519.

``With so many inexperienced players in the side, to inflict such a defeat on Australia is really a tremendous achievement.'' he added.

Jackie Hendriks, a West Indies wicketkeeper of the 1960s and president of the Jamaica Cricket Board, said the future of West Indies cricket looked bright.


``It was a tremendous shot in the arm for the West Indies team and I expect this to boost their confidence,'' he added. ``Let's hope they grow from strength to strength.''

Chairman of selectors Viv Richards, one of the greatest of all West Indies test batsmen, described the victory as a ``tremendous effort'' in the Trinidad Express. ``A lot came expecting to see a whitewash, I just think it was a tremendous effort to (avoid it and) achieve a record doing it,'' said Richards. ``I think it is a team that can do well in the future.''

The Antigua Sun focused on the jubilant scene at the ground after Drakes cut a four to backward point off costly leg-spinner Stuart MacGill for West Indies to reach the historic victory target.

``Even at a distance...the screams of delight filtered the air as Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Vasbert Drakes continued to give the Australians hell on the pitch,'' wrote Sandra Henry in the Antigua Sun.

``It appeared like every man, woman and child who is West Indian found it extremely important to get down to the Rec grounds.

``By the time I left the cricket grounds, the crowd had barely moved,'' she added, before going on to describe the spectators who took part in an impromptu disco while music blared out from loudspeaker systems.

``Scores of people milled around dancing, drinking and chatting. The vibe was like one I had never felt before and something became evident. It's the people who make the game.''

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