Sarwan leads from the front to defy Australians

Published: Wednesday, June 4, 2008, 0:59 [IST]
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Australia's hunt for victory in the second Test against West Indies hit a snag, when Ramnaresh Sarwan hit his 11th Test hundred on Tuesday.

Sarwan, leading West Indies in the Test in place of the injured Chris Gayle, was undefeated on 101 and Shivnarine Chanderpaul was not out on 31, as West Indies, set 372 for victory, reached 161 for three in their second innings at the tea break on the fifth and final day of the Test at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground.

Sarwan reached his milestone from the penultimate ball before the break, when he swept his 181st delivery from Stuart MacGill, playing in his final Test for Australia, through square leg for his 14th boundary.

This followed Australia's decision to declare their second innings at their overnight total of 244 for six, and they had restricted West Indies to 95 for three in the morning period.

But the Aussies, gaining little assistance from the hard, docile pitch, endured a wicketless toil after West Indies continued after lunch.

The Aussies failed to find a way through either Sarwan or Chanderpaul, and the pair added 77 - unbroken - for the fourth wicket.

The Aussies came close to making the breakthrough, when MacGill flummoxed Sarwan on 88 with a well-flighted leg-break and the batsman appeared to have been stumped.

But a referral to video umpire Norman Malcolm was too close to call and the batsman was given a reprieve.

Before lunch, Brett Lee continued from where he left off the previous day, when he collected two wickets to carry Australia closer to victory.

Lee removed opener Devon Smith for a duck in his opening spell, and returned to add the scalp of Runako Morton for 14.

Lee softened Smith up, when he struck him on the right arm with a short, rising ball, and then took his wicket a few balls later, when the left-handed opener was caught at gully guiding another lifting delivery pitched outside the off-stump.

After Stuart Clark had Xavier Marshall caught behind gloving a rising ball for five, Lee returned for a second spell and trapped Morton lbw with a full-length delivery to which the batsman played back and across.

Lee has been the pick of the Aussies bowler with two wickets for 18 runs from 12 overs.

Australia lead the three-Test series 1-0, after they completed a 95-run victory in the opening Test last Monday at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica.

Australia have won 13 of the last 14 Tests they have contested against West Indies and need only a draw to secure their hold on the Frank Worrell Trophy - symbol of Test supremacy against West Indies.

The Aussies have not lost a Test series in the Caribbean since 1991.

The third and final Test between the two sides starts on June 12 at Kensington Oval in Barbados.

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