A heavy evening rain storm brought another compelling day to an early close and saved Australia from an opening day demolition against West Indies in the third and final Test yesterday.
Rain about 45 minutes after tea swiped 75 minutes from the day’s play with Australia on 226 for seven, after they were sent in to bat.
Andrew Symonds has so far hit the top score of 52, but several of the Australian batsmen got starts without carrying on — Simon Katich made 36, Brad Haddin got 32, and Phil Jaques gathered 31.
Dwayne Bravo has collected three wickets for 48 runs from 12.4 overs and Jerome Taylor took two for 44 from nine overs.
To the accompaniment of loud booing, Symonds helped to bring Australia back into the Test, after the slumped to 98 for four at lunch.
Symonds guided a delivery from Jerome Taylor to point for a single to reach his landmark, but the dreadlocked Australia batsman was fortunate to have survived until tea, after he was dropped early in his innings, and then gained the benefit of the doubt from umpire Mark Benson.
On seven, Symonds was dropped at second slip by Marshall off Bravo essaying a cut, but the moment that incensed the crowd, was when Symonds was caught behind down the leg-side from the glove off the same Bravo on 14 and TV replays suggested umpire Mark Benson had clearly erred with his decision to give him not out.
Symonds was eventually dismissed, when he was caught at cover driving a delivery from Bravo straight into the lap of fielder Sewnarine Chattergoon.
Before lunch, Australia stumbled to 98 for four, after the delivery of the first ball of the day was delayed by close to 15 minutes while the ground’s authority tried to fix a malfunction of the automated sightscreen at the Malcolm Marshall End on the southern rim of the ground.
When play got underway, Australia made a confident start with Katich putting on 46 with fellow left-handed opener Jaques.
But Australia were setback, when Jaques was caught by Denesh Ramdin for 31 when he miscued a hook at a short, rising ball from Taylor, and the West Indies wicketkeeper ran about 30m to the fine leg region to grab the catch.
Australia continued to progress smoothly, when their captain Ricky Ponting came to the crease, but West Indies struck three telling blows in the final hour 45 minutes before lunch.
Ponting was adjudged LBW to Taylor for 18 playing across a well-pitched delivery moving back before Bravo struck twice.
Left-hander Mike Hussey was caught at deep fine leg for 12 hooking at a short, rising ball from the West Indies medium-fast bowler, who also had Australia vice captain Michael Clarke, a century-maker in the second Test in Antigua, caught behind for a duck edging a well-pitched ball moving away to leave the visitors on 96 for four.
After lunch and either side of Symonds’ reprieves, West Indies managed to poached a couple of wickets, when Fidel Edwards had Simon Katich caught at deep fine leg for 36, when he miscued a hook at a short, rising ball, and left-arm spin bowler Sulieman Benn, playing his first Test in front of his home crowd, had Haddin LBW for 32.
Haddin had partnered Symonds for most of the afternoon period and put on a valuable 87 for the sixth wicket before he swung across a well-pitched delivery from Benn which straightened and hit him plumb in front.
The visitors lead the three-Test series 1-0, after they won the opening Test at Sabina Park in the Jamaica capital of Kingston by 95 runs. The second Test at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in the Antigua village of North Sound was drawn.
Australia have already retained the Frank Worrell Trophy — symbol of Test supremacy between the two sides.
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