Steve silent on career, bat talks with double century

Published: Thursday, February 6, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Melbourne (Australia): Steve Waugh refuses to say it but his bat is screaming loud and clear that he will continue his international career and lead Australia to the West Indies in April. The 37-year-old Australian skipper continued his rich scoring form with a double century for New South Wales in the Sheffield Shield match against Victoria at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Thursday. Coming to the crease on Wednesday with his side reeling at 2-0, Waugh unleashed an eight-and-a-half-hour batting lesson before being dismissed for 211, five runs short of his highest first-class score made 12 years ago, and he departed as the most in- form Australian batsman not at the World Cup. Since the critics had the knives out for him prior to the fifth Ashes Test in Sydney last month, Waugh has scored three first-class centuries in five weeks. His run of tons started with his unforgettable fifth Test effort, silencing those who said Waugh was old, past it and should retire. Then he thumbed his nose at his World Cup omission with a Limited Overs century for NSW, before his stunning double century over the past two days at the MCG. Still, he won't give anything away about his future - refusing requests for interviews on Thursday and stonewalling the issue when asked on Wednesday. At the close of the second day's play, Victoria was 132 without loss in reply to NSW's 544 for eight declared. Tasmanian cricket suffered a major blow on Thursday as an unsafe Bellerive Oval pitch caused abandonment of the Shield match with Western Australia. The extraordinary move was announced by Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) chief executive David Johnston after lunch on the second day after several players were struck by erratic balls in the morning session. Western Australia was 52 for three at lunch, chasing Tasmania's first innings of 179. No result was declared but WA was expected to get all six points when the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) completed an investigation. South Australia beat champions Queensland by an innings and 125 runs inside three days at Adelaide Oval. After scoring 118 in reply to SA's 464 in the first innings and being forced to follow on, the Queenslanders were bowled out for 221 in their second knock, breaking a run of five outright victories.

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