Rain ruins compelling fight

Bridgetown, June 13:

A heavy evening rain storm brought another compelling day to an early close and saved Australia from an opening day demolition against West Indies in the third and final Test on Thursday.

Rain about 45 minutes after tea swiped one and a quarter hours from the day’s play with Australia on 226-7. Andrew Symonds top-scored with 52, but several of the Australian batsmen got starts without carrying on — Simon Katich made 36, Brad Haddin got 32, and Phil Jaques gathered 31. Dwayne Bravo took 3-48 and Jerome Taylor took 2-44.

Symonds helped bring Australia back into the Test, after they slumped to 98-4 at lunch. Symonds was fortunate to have survived until tea, after he was dropped early in his innings, and then gained the benefit of the doubt from umpire Mark Benson.

On seven, Symonds was dropped at second slip by Marshall off Bravo, but the moment that incensed the crowd, was when Symonds was caught behind down the leg-side from the glove off Bravo on 14 and TV replays suggested umpire Mark Benson had clearly erred with his decision to give him not out.

Symonds was eventually dismissed, caught at cover from Bravo straight to Sewnarine Chattergoon. After the delivery of the first ball of the day was delayed by close to 15 minutes while the ground’s authority tried to fix a malfunction of the automated sightscreen.

When play got underway, Australia made a confident start with Katich putting on 46 with Jaques. But Jaques (31) was caught by Denesh Ramdin. Australia continued to progress smoothly, when Ricky Ponting came to the crease, but West Indies struck three telling blows in the final hour 45 minutes before lunch.

Ponting (18) was adjudged leg before wicket to Taylor before Bravo struck twice. Left-hander Mike Hussey (12) was caught at deep fine leg and Michael Clarke (0), caught behind for a duck.

After lunch, West Indies managed to poached a couple of wickets, when Fidel Edwards had Simon Katich (36) caught at deep fine leg, and left-arm spin bowler Sulieman Benn had Haddin (32) leg before wicket.

Haddin had partnered Symonds for most of the afternoon period and put on a valuable 87 for the sixth wicket before he swung across a well-pitched delivery from Benn which straightened and hit him plumb in front.