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Lara, Sarwan frustrate Australia
Brian Homewood in Bridgetown |
May 05, 2003 09:21 IST
West Indies captain Brian Lara, who appeared to be suffering from the effects of a fever, and Ramnaresh Sarwan thwarted Australia's push for victory on the fourth day of the third Test on Sunday.
Lara, who came in lower down the order than usual, and Sarwan took West Indies to 187 for three at the close, helped by some slack Australian fielding, to give them a chance of batting through the final day.
The home team, bowled out for 328 in their first innings in reply to Australia's 605 for nine declared, had been in deep trouble as they crashed to 31 for two early in their second innings after being asked to follow on by Australia captain Steve Waugh.
Lara made 41 off 122 balls by the close while Sarwan was unbeaten on 58 after surviving a dropped catch and run out attempt as West Indies still trailed by 90 runs.
Opener Chris Gayle also chipped in by making 56, his second half century of the Test after he missed the previous two matches because of confusion over eligibility rules.
"I'm pretty confident (of forcing a draw), I'm sure if we care able to bat through the first session tomorrow (Monday), we can do it."
Lara, who needed to stay at the crease for as long as possible to give West Indies hope of saving the game, substituted his usual flamboyant hitting with grit and patience.
Lara, who batted at number eight in the first innings, come in at number five instead of the usual number four in the second.
He began by flicking his first delivery off leg-spinner Stuart MacGill to the deep mid-wicket boundary but managed only two more boundaries as he became bogged down in a war of attrition with the Australian bowlers.
Sarwan was equally determined, taking 85 balls and hitting eight fours to reach his 50 with two runs off a rare Ricky Ponting over.
The home team had been in deep trouble just after lunch when Brett Lee took two quick wickets, dismissing Devon Smith lbw for five and Daren Ganga, also lbw, for six.
West Indies nearly got into further trouble shortly afterwards when Sarwan attempted a risky single. He was well short of the crease as Waugh rushed in from square leg but his underarm throw missed the stumps.
Sarwan hit consecutive boundaries off Lee, then escaped again when Bichel put down a sharp caught and bowled chance.
At the other end, Gayle survived a loud appeal for caught behind by Adam Gilchrist off Glenn McGrath and then dispatched the next delivery over the bowler's head for his eighth four to complete his 50 off 105 balls as he and Sarwan added 63 for the third wicket.
Gayle's defiance ended in the first ball after tea when he charged down the pitch to a tossed up ball from MacGill, missed and provided an easy stumping for Gilchrist.
"There is only one team that can win," said MacGill adding that Lara's illness could have been a blessing in the circumstances.
"Some batsmen benefit from a slight illness or discomfort, they seem to concentrate more. He (Lara) seemed very, very patient this evening, and if he shows the same patience tomorrow, it could be a long day at the office for us."
MacGill had earlier polished off the West Indies lower order at the start of the day when he had Vasbert Drakes caught in the covers by Lee for 11 and Jermaine Lawson stumped for one by Gilchrist to finish with four for 107.
Debutant tail-ender Tino Best put up some resistance for West Indies. He faced 50 balls, including some hostile Lee bouncers, and hit two fours in making an unbeaten 20 as West Indies added 37 to their overnight total.