Johnson, Lee put Aussies in control

Published: Saturday, June 14, 2008, 3:24 [IST]
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Bridgetown (Barbados): Mitchell Johnson captured a Test career best four wickets for 41 runs from 11.5 overs to help Australia take a 35-run first innings lead over Windies in the third and final Test at the Kensington Oval here on Friday.

Left-arm fast bowler Johnson bowled easily his best spell in the series to allow Australia to dismiss the hosts for 216, replying to the visitors' first innings total of 251, on day two.

Australia's fast bowling spearhead Brett Lee gave Johnson support with three for 64 from 15 overs.

But it was Johnson that triggered a dramatic West Indies batting collapse which saw the home team lose their last six wickets for 48 runs in the space of 86 balls.

The Aussies were again denied having things all their way by left-hander Shivnarine Chanderpaul, whose unbeaten 79 in close to four hours of defiant batting was the top score for West Indies.

Like Australia the previous day, a few of the other West Indies batsmen got starts, but failed to carry on with Xavier Marshall making 39, Dwayne Bravo getting 29, and Ramnaresh Sarwan 20.

In an hour before stumps were drawn, left-handed openers Phil Jaques, who not out on 13, and Simon Katich, unbeaten on 17, carried the Australians to 35 without loss in their second innings to extend the visitors' lead to 70.

But the first hour-and-a-half after tea proved to be crucial for Australia, after West Indies reached 167 for four at the break.

Johnson had Bravo caught behind down the leg-side in the second over after the break, and this dismissal opened the floodgates for the Aussies, after the West Indies all-rounder and Chanderpaul had added 60 for the fifth wicket.

Johnson had further success and prolonged Denesh Ramdin's dry spell with the bat, when he had the West Indies wicketkeeper caught at second slip for one.

Australia made sure there was no come back from the rest of the West Indies' batting - Jerome Taylor, Sulieman Benn, Daren Powell, and Fidel Edwards - despite a couple of dropped catches by Katich at first slip off Johnson.

Australia had earlier been dismissed about an hour and 40 minutes before lunch, after they continued from their overnight total of 226 for seven in their first innings.

Edwards made the breakthrough, having Test newcomer Beau Casson lbw for 10.

Johnson was caught at gully for a duck fending away a lifting delivery from Taylor, who was the pick of the West Indies bowlers with three for 46 from 12 overs.

The Aussie innings came to a close when Edwards bowled Stuart Clark for one to end with three for 55 from 17 overs.

Australia then captured three wickets before lunch to put their noses in front and leave West Indies on 89 for three at the interval.

Lee removed West Indies captain Chris Gayle and fellow left-handed opener Sewnarine Chattergoon in an energetic opening spell, and Clark added another key scalp of West Indies vice captain Ramnaresh Sarwan.

Lee struck an early blow, when he had Chattergoon caught behind for six nibbling at a delivery that moved slightly away, and then caused West Indies further grief, when Gayle drove majestically at a loose delivery and was caught at mid-off for 14 to a spectacular diving catch from Casson.

Australia gained the edge, when Sarwan, a century-maker in the second innings of the drawn second Test in Antigua, sliced a drive and was also brilliantly caught by a flying Mike Hussey at gully for 20.

After lunch, Australia had limited success, and encountered Chanderpaul, their usual stumbling block, as West Indies tried to recover from the early damage.

Australia managed to remove Marshall before tea, after their bowlers extracted plenty bounce from the hard, true pitch, but failed to gain very little sideways movement and pace.

The visitors had to turn to Andrew Symonds' medium pace to make the strike, when Marshall tried to thread a delivery through mid-wicket and was caught.

Bravo came to the crease and with Chanderpaul carried West Indies through to tea, but things swung Australia's way after the break.

Australia lead the three-Test series 1-0, after they won the opening Test at Sabina Park in Jamaica by 95 runs.

The second Test at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in the Antigua village of North Sound was drawn.

As a result, Australia have already retained the Frank Worrell Trophy.

Brief Scores (D-2):

Australia 251&35/0 Vs West Indies 216 (Chanderpaul 79 n o, Xavier Marshall 39, Bravo 29, Sarwan 20; Johnson 4/41, Lee 3/64, Clark 1/41, Clarke 1/3).


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