Windies rally but face huge task to beat Aussies

ROSEAU, Dominica, CMC – West Indies hit back in the last session with key wickets but Australia’s extended their lead significantly to leave the hosts with an enormous task of winning the third and final Test here yesterday.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul acknowledges his 58th Test half century. (photo Courtesy DigicelCricket.com/Brooks LaTouche)

At the close of the third day at Windsor Park, Australia were 200 for six – a lead of 310 runs with two days left in the contest.

Left-hander Mike Hussey was unbeaten on 17 and was accompanied by Ryan Harris on four.

Former skipper Ricky Ponting, in surely his last innings on Caribbean soil, top-scored with 57 while opener Ed Cowan got 55.

However, off-spinners Narsingh Deonarine (2-28) and Shane Shillingford (2-69), along with fast bowler Kemar Roach (2-40), all picked up two wickets apiece to limit the damage.

Earlier, West Indies conceded a first innings lead of 110 runs after being dismissed for 218, about 25 minutes before the scheduled lunch break. Ageless left-hander Shiv Chanderpaul marched to his 58th Test half-century and to within 14 of 10 000 career runs when he stroked a top score of 68.

Starting the day on 165 for eight, West Indies progressed well as Chanderpaul and Ravi Rampaul (31) extended their overnight ninth wicket stand to 66 before being separated.

Chanderpaul held the innings together after resuming from his overnight 34, before being last out in what was another tremendous effort by the veteran campaigner.

He faced 164 balls and struck three fours.

Rampaul continued to play his shots but played one too many when he attempted to hoist off-spinner Nathan Lyon (4-69) and got a leading edge to David Warner at point.

He hit five fours and faced 50 balls.

Chanderpaul found a worthy ally in Kemar Roach (nine not out) to add a further 32 for the last wicket, and frustrate the Aussies.

Half centuries from Ed Cowan, above left and Ricky Ponting have put Australia in a strong position.

He reached his half-century with a single to cover off seamer Ben Hilfenhaus but became left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc’s second wicket when he was plumb lbw to one that swung.

In the four overs available before lunch, West Indies snatched a wicket when fast bowler Roach found the outside edge of Warner’s bat for Chanderpaul to take a low catch at first lip.

The left-hander got 11 from 13 balls with two boundaries.

When vice-captain Shane Watson popped a catch to captain Darren Sammy at leg slip off off-spinner Shane Shillingford for five in the fifth over after lunch, West Indies’ tails were up.

However, Ponting and Cowan combined in a 87-run, third wicket stand to blunt the Windies attack and grind Australia into a strong position. Ponting struck four boundaries off 130 balls while Cowan faced 123 balls hit five fours.

Deonarine ended the partnership when Cowan slashed outside off-stump for Sammy at slip to hold a very sharp catch at shoulder height, in the seventh over after tea.

Ponting added further 56 for the fourth wicket with captain Michael Clarke (25) before he was out in unfortunate circumstances. He ducked to avoid a short delivery from Roach but left his bat suspended and the ball took the toe edge of his bat and lobbed to Chanderpaul running around from first slip at 168 for four.

Clarke then top-edged a pull at Shillingford to be taken by Darren Bravo at square leg before first innings century-maker Matthew Wade was trapped lbw to Deonarine for four.

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