ROSEAU, Dominica – Four wickets – two to Narsingh Deonarine – in the final session helped West Indies keep up appearances, but half-centuries from Ricky Ponting and Ed Cowan stretched Australia’s lead to 310 in the third and final Digicel Test on Wednesday.
Deonarine snared two wickets for 28 runs from 10 overs, Kemar Roach grabbed two for 40 from 11 overs, and Shane Shillingford captured two for 69 from a marathon 29 overs, as Australia reached 200 for six in their second innings at the close on the third day at Windsor Park.
West Indies bowlers toiled effortlessly in humid conditions to keep a lid on the Australian batting, but Ponting led the way with 57 – his first half-century of the series – and Cowan made 55, fortifying the visitors’ hold on the match.
A short delivery outside the off-stump from Deonarine was cut through square cover by Cowan for his fifth boundary to carry the left-handed opener to his 50 from 107 balls.
But Deonarine soon had Cowan caught at slip, when he top-edged another cut and West Indies captain Darren Sammy held a sharp chance.
West Indies continued to meet resistance, when Australia captain Michael Clarke joined his predecessor Ponting and they added 56 for the fourth wicket in just over 1 ¼ hours.
A full-length delivery from Roach was squeezed into the covers by Ponting, taking him to his 50 from 118 balls.
Roach continued his feisty battle with Ponting and eventually had him caught at point, when the batsman ducked from a short delivery, left his bat in the air like a periscope, and the ball ballooned away for Shivnarine Chanderpaul, running around from slip to take an easy catch.
More success came West Indies’ way, when Clarke was caught at square leg for 25 from the top edge of a miscued pull, leaving his side 171 for five.
West Indies continued to hunt for wickets to slow the Aussie train and keep themselves in contention. They were unfortunate when they unsuccessfully reviewed an appeal to umpire Marais Erasmus for an lbw verdict against Mike Hussey off Roach, and fortune was against them a couple deliveries later, when the fast bowler struck Hussey again.
With no reviews remaining, West Indies could not challenge umpire Erasmus’ decision, as Hawkeye suggested the ball would have knocked over middle stump half-way up.
Roach continued to plug away and Matthew Wade failed to win a successful review, when Erasmus adjudged him lbw for four, playing across a full-length delivery from Deonarine that struck him full on the toe of the his front foot.
The fast bowler had grabbed an early wicket before lunch, as Australia reached 18 for one at the interval.
Roach had left-handed opener David Warner caught at first slip for 11, edging a loose drive at a delivery that moved away outside the off-stump.
West Indies ran into a roadblock after the interval, when Ponting and Cowan linked up to steal the joy away from the home team.
Off-spinner Shillingford struck early after lunch, but Cowanand Ponting knuckled down, as Australia reached 94 for two at tea.
Shillingford struck in the fifth over after the interval, when he had Shane Watson caught at leg slip for five, turning an awkwardly bouncing delivery around the corner.
But West Indies could make no further headway, as Cowan and Ponting grinded away for the remainder of the session to enhance the visitors’ position.
Earlier, West Indies resumed from their overnight total of 165 for eight and were bowled out for 218, replying to Australia’s first innings total of 328.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul finished with the top score of 68 and Ravi Rampaul made 31, as West Indies were dismissed about half-hour before lunch.
The pair completed a 66-run stand for the ninth wicket, putting West Indies within reach of the 200-run threshold before Rampaul was caught at square cover off the leading edge, becoming the fourth wicket for off-spinner Nathan Lyon.
Roach joined Chanderpaul and they spent just over an hour together, further frustrating the Aussies and taking West Indies over 200 mark.
Chanderpaul, whose innings contained just three boundaries from 164 balls in close to four hours, was the last West Indies wicket to fall, when he was adjudged lbw to Mitchell Starc, playing across a well-pitched delivery.
West Indies trail 0-1 in the series, following a three-wicket defeat in the first Digicel Test at Kensington Oval in Barbados, and a draw in the second Digicel Test at Queen’s Park Oval, which meant that Australia would retain the Frank Worrell Trophy, symbol of supremacy between the two sides.
West Indies are still in the hunt for their first Test win over the Aussies in nine years.
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