Wed, May 14, 2003 - Page 19 News List

West Indies come back to challenge the Australians

AP , ST.JOHN'S, ANTIGUA

Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul hit key centuries Monday igniting a West Indies charge toward an unlikely and historic victory over Australia in the fourth and final cricket test.

Vice-captain Sarwan hit a superb 105 and Chanderpaul, a crucial, unbeaten 103 to lead the home team to close at 371 for six, just 47 runs away from their mammoth target of 418 with one day remaining.

No team has ever scored as much to win in the final innings in 125 years of test cricket.

Captain Brian Lara chipped in with 60 but when he was fourth out at 165, an Australian triumph and a 4-0 series sweep seemed a foregone conclusion.

If Australia wins, it would be the first ever whitewashing of the West Indies in the Caribbean.

Sarwan, Chanderpaul and levelheaded rookie Omari Banks (28 not out) powered the spirited effort with excellent partnerships.

The latter part of the day was also punctuated by a number of nerve-racking moments.

There was a furious confrontation between Sarwan, then 75, and Australian fast bowler Glenn McGrath which had to be cooled by umpires David Shepherd and Srinivas Venkataraghavan.

Once Sarwan fell, the dubious dismissal of Ridley Jacobs next ball prompted a 10-minute delay as bottles and plastic contains were thrown onto the field.

There was also a crucial dropped catch by Martin Love off Banks early on at 290 for six. There was even a short break for rain to stall the tension.

But it was not enough to cool Sarwan and Chanderpaul, who brought the crowd to life with their blazing fifth wicket stand of 123 in just under two hours.

Sarwan brought up his second test century as he and Chanderpaul, both from Guyana, rattled the Australians.

But the right-hander, reeling off a volley of fluent strokes, fell to the second new ball and Brett Lee.

The 22-year-old once again fell to a miscued pull, lobbing a catch back to the bowler. Sarwan lashed 17 boundaries off 139 deliveries in 3 1/2 hours.

Next ball, the thousands of Australians in the crowd were jumping for joy leaving the West Indians incensed as Lee benefited from what appeared to be a poor decision from Shepherd.

Jacobs, an Antiguan, was caught behind but television replays shown around the ground, clearly showed that Lee's bouncer had deflected off the arm and not bat. Many sections of the crowd vented their anger by throwing bottles and other debris onto the field. The disruption managed to be contained and the home crowd began cheering again as Banks' edge off the fiery Lee was floored by Love at first slip.

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