Windies desperate to avoid defeat


  • Other Sport
  • Thursday, 24 Apr 2003

PORT OF SPAIN (Trinidad): Champion batsman Brian Lara led a desperate West Indian struggle against the odds to avoid defeat to Australia in the second cricket Test on a treacherous Queen's Park Oval pitch here on Tuesday. 

The West Indian captain remained unconquered on 52 at the close of the fourth day having been given a life by a dropped caught and bowled chance by speedster Brett Lee when he was on six. 

Australian captain Steve Waugh declared his team's second innings at 238 for three leaving the home side to defy cricket history and score 407 runs to win off a minimum 127 overs over four sessions of play. 

At stumps after a gripping final couple of hours, the West Indies were 107 for three, with opener Wavell Hinds cruelly out seven balls before the end of play. 

Playing on a minefield pitch with huge rough areas outside off-stump, the left-handed Wavell watched aghast as he played a Stuart MacGill fizzer back on to his stumps. 

Hinds, who batted courageously with Lara after the loss of two early wickets to put on 95 runs for the third wicket, tried to kick the ball away from his stumps but was crestfallen when a bail was dislodged signalling the end of his fighting innings for 35 off 115 balls. 

Lara, batting with technique and grittiness, was battling for survival after Australia's three spinners, MacGill, Brad Hogg and Darren Lehmann were aiming for the rough outside his offstump. 

But Lara had some good fortune along the way when Lee had two grabs at a caught and bowled chance only to fumble it and let him off the hook. 

Lara, 33, has scored 19 Test hundreds, but has yet to score one on his home Port of Spain ground in his 10th Test there. 

But Lara will have to bat like a superhuman on the deteriorating Queen's Park Oval pitch on yesterday's final day to save the West Indies from going two-nil down in the four-match Frank Worrell Trophy series. 

No team in test cricket history has scored more than 406 to win a Test in the fourth innings since India's 406 for 4 to beat the West Indies at this ground in 1976. – AFP  

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