Ponting and Hayden dominate

Australia’s assault on the final four West Indian wickets was delayed by almost an hour on the third day by lingering morning rain, but when the players did get onto the field the Australian bowlers picked up where they had left off on the previous evening. In just the third over of the morning, Warne got Powell with a wide leg-break that the West Indian quick attempted to cut, and Gilchrist took a sharp catch from the resulting edge. Warne had found turn and some drift and bounce immediately, and with McGrath bowling an impeccable line and length at the other end it seemed impossible that the West Indies could manage the fifty runs they needed to avoid the follow-on. Some solid defence from Fidel Edwards helped Ramdin take the West Indies score past 200, and a dropped catch off the bowling of Lee helped the West Indies further, but Warne was showing all his variations, and when he tossed up a wrong’un to Edwards, the number 9 could not resist playing a tail-enders shot, swung hard and missed it and was bowled. Ramdin continued his resistance, but it didn’t take long for Warne to account for Collymore, drawing the tail-ender to play across the line, and Michael Clarke took a reflex catch at second slip. It was the Warne of 1994 once more, when after taking a wicket with a leg-break, another with flight and another with a wrong’un, he completed the circle by trapping Jermaine Lawson in front with a perfectly pitched flipper. Warne picked up his 33rd five wicket haul, just his second against the West Indies, and completed a complete destruction of the West Indian tail in the process. Australia were left with one over to face before lunch, and Michael Hussey dealt with it in style, smashing two Edwards deliveries to the boundary and sending Australia to the break at 0/8, having not enforced the follow on, with a huge lead in sight.

Hussey and Hayden greeted Daren Powell into the attack after lunch with a blistering assault, as the first over after the break yielded 18 runs. When Hayden cut an Edwards outswinger to the fence to complete the next over, Australia had progressed to 0/31 in just 3 overs, and already the lead was above 250. The Australian openers continued to force the pace through the afternoon session, though some improved bowling from Powell in particular did reduce the scoring rate. Chanderpaul sought just one over from Lawson before he turned to Collymore and Gayle in tandem to attempt to strange the scoring rate, and it had some success when Mike Hussey threw everything into a pull shot against Gayle and hit it straight to midwicket.

What followed Hussey’s dismissal was the complete demoralising destruction of a bowling attack. Hayden and Ponting slipped into gear immediately, with the Australian captain continuing the stunning form that saw him score runs in each of the Super Series matches and make a century in the first innings, and by the tea break the West Indies seamers were tired, out of ideas and their figures were a sore sight. The 187 run stand for the second wicket was not without blemishes, though. Jermaine Lawson, the bowler most regularly attacked, could have had both batsmen when he first had Hayden dropped in the gully on 54, and then had Ponting caught safely in the slips off a no-ball. He was repeatedly sent to the fence before tea, though, and after the break Chanderpaul appeared to have given up on attacking play, and resorted to bowling his spinners for many overs to defensive fields to slow the onslaught.

Edwards and Powell never returned after their opening spells, even Collymore went for five an over, and Lawson went for almost 8 despite his two near-misses. Gayle and Samuels bowled 39 of the 66 overs between them, and did a fair job compared to the seam attack, but at the expense of never threatening a breakthrough. With the opposition pushed firmly on to the back foot, Hayden pushed more sedately towards his century while his captain ensured that Chanderpaul was unwilling to change the bowling as his score raced along. Hayden brought up his third century in as many tests with a risky single to mid-on, and while the partnership was eventually broken for 187, the game was all but over as a contest as soon as Chanderpaul opted to simply slow the bleeding.

Ponting made his second century of the test, his 5th of the year and his 25th of his career before the day’s play was done, and when bad light was offered the Australians happily took it, more than 500 runs clear with two days to play, and with the invincible aura of before the Ashes series well and truly back.

Australia 435
Ricky Ponting 149, Shane Warne 47, Brett Lee 47
Corey Collymore 4/72, Daren Powell 3/100

West Indies 210
Devon Smith 88, Dinesh Ramdin 37*
Shane Warne 5/48, Glenn McGrath 4/72

Australia 2/283
Matthew Hayden 118, Ricky Ponting 104*
Chris Gayle 2/74, Marlon Samuels 0/46

Australia lead by 508 runs with 8 wickets in hand.

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