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Australia v West Indies (3rd Test)
Tony Cozier in Bridgetown - 26-30 March 1999

Day 1: Aussies wage Waugh on West Indies

Steve Waugh, whose immense record and reputation have been built on such missions, once more turned a position of worrying weakness into substantial strength for Australia on the first day of the Test here yesterday.

His 19th Test hundred began, as so many have done, with his team in dire straits, this time at 36 for three with Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh on the rampage on a favourable and familiar pitch.

When it was temporarily interrupted by the close of play, five hours 25 minutes later, it was worth 141 priceless, unbeaten runs with Australia an imposing 322 for four.

They are the foundations of a total that will present a daunting challenge to the West Indies batsmen against Australia's two leg-spinners, Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill, in the later stages.

In his first series as captain, Waugh's example so inspired positive responses from Justin Langer and Ricky Ponting, two young men with tenuous places in the team, that each shared significant partnerships with him.

The left-handed Langer helped him add 108 that ensured there was no repetition of the batting shambles of the Second Test at Sabina Park when his first innings hundred was the only Australian innings of note.

A moment of rashness led to Langer's dismissal for 51, cutting at off-spinner Carl Hooper's first, straight ball from round the wicket midway through the second session. It let in Ponting who, given a welcome chance by a hand injury to Greg Blewett, capitalised on a pitch that rapidly lost its early morning life under the influence of a hot sun and strong breeze. Their unbroken stand was worth 178 at close when Ponting was 65.

With his uncomplicated method, determined manner and vast experience, captain Waugh battled through engrossing scraps with his old adversaries, Ambrose and Walsh, when conditions were at their most difficult before lunch and immediately after tea when he lost his momentum, but never his focus.

Between the intervals, after Ambrose and Walsh had been blown by their exertions of the morning and in increasingly favourable conditions, Waugh assumed complete control.

He exposed the inexperience of the support bowling of the left-arm Pedro Collins, in his third Test, and off-spinner Nehemiah Perry, in his second, with batting as close to perfection as is possible.

His driving down the ground and through the covers, with a straight, broad bat, was the stuff on which coaching manuals are based. He let no loose ball go unpunished, put away others that deserved more respect and, as always, disregarded the invitation to hook the few bouncers that came his way.

He resumes this morning with 15 fours to his name from the 241 balls he has received.

In a desperate effort for a conclusive breakthrough, Ambrose went for 13.3 overs, Walsh nine. But, once more, they found Waugh an immovable obstacle.

They made an encouraging start after Waugh, committed to his two leg-spinners, was obliged to bat for the third time in the series on winning the toss.

Walsh induced a tentative prod outside off-stump from left-handed opener Matthew Elliott and an outside edge to the keeper off the last ball of the eleventh over after switching ends from north to south with Ambrose.

After a few typically belligerent blows-including a six onto the roof of the Challenor Stand in Perry's solitary over to allow the change of ends-Michael Slater diverted a classic Ambrose outswinger to first slip. Then after the day's first break for drinks, Mark Waugh, uncertain and fixed to his crease, dragged his second ball, an off-cutter, onto his leg and into his stumps.

For the remaining 50 minutes to lunch, taken at 78 for three, Waugh played and missed half-dozen times and inside-edged Ambrose inches past the leg-stump. But he could not be shifted.

The nearest the West Indies came to removing Waugh after lunch was at 53, through an outside edge that fell on the half-volley to Hooper at second slip during a long and accurate spell from Collins.

He arrived at his hundred, his fourth against the West Indies, in just under three and a half hours with an edged single to third man off Ambrose 35 minutes after tea. It triggered the usual unimpeded invasion of the ground by Australian fans who, we have been admonished, should not be called what they certainly are, idiots, for fear of offending them. One of these days such nonsense will end up with a serious injury to a player.

For the moment, Waugh extricated himself from the throng to modestly accept the acclaim of the crowd of around 11,000 and settle back down to the business at hand.

He was, at the time, passing through a wobbly period. At 112, he missed an attempted cut against Perry's off-break that narrowly missed off-stump; at 116 he was dropped at cover by Brian Lara off a Collins no-ball and at 125 cleared Walsh at mid-on by inches on a lofted drive off Perry.

Ponting's contribution was scarcely more than a third of their stand but its value could not be assessed in statistical terms. He appreciated his role and played it to perfection, in many ways even more solid, if not more assertive, than his captain.

While Waugh had his anxious moments, Ponting had none except a run-out chance on Jimmy Adams's throw at the bowler's end before he had got into double-figures.

For the remainder of the match, the anxiety is more likely to be on the West Indian side.

Day 2: West Indies in familiar situation

The West Indies find themselves in a situation of disturbing familiarity after two days of the Third Cable & Wireless Test.

The bare statistics are as unsettling as those that recurred with such regularity prior to the wonder of Sabina Park two weeks ago. Australia amassed 490 in their first innings and, in the final 26 overs yesterday, reduced the West Indies to 80 for four, among them Brian Lara whose departure has so often translated into terminal collapse.

In South Africa, without any undue pessimism, such numbers would have added up to only one conclusion, a heavy and inevitable defeat.

They are bleak enough now but there are two factors that prompt hopes of at least a determined West Indian fight.

The pitch has been a batsman's delight once it lost its early moisture by lunch on the opening day and shows no obvious signs of deterioration.

Not least, there is clear evidence that this is an altogether more committed and determined team than the disunited, rudderless bunch that went from bad to worse to the 5-0 whitewash in South Africa.

For all that, three difficult days are ahead against opponents proud of their current standing as the best Test team in the world and stung by their defeat in the Second Test that slackened their grip on the Frank Worrell Trophy, the cherished symbol of supremacy between the teams they finally regained four years ago after 18 long years.

Australia owe their position of invincibility principally, if not wholly, to their captain Steve Waugh's typically single-minded epic 199 and his fifth wicket partnership of 281 with Ricky Ponting, whose 104 was his third and most significant Test hundred.

Waugh dictated the course of the game from his arrival an hour and 10 minutes into the first day at 36 for three until he was eventually out after eight hours 25 minutes determined resistance with Australia 429 for seven.

By then, he knew his efforts, along with those of Ponting and, on the previous day, Justin Langer had secured Australia control.

Even though their last six wickets fell for 65 against opponents who never lost their focus, great teams seldom spurn such sizeable totals and the chance of a late afternoon burst at shaky batting. It took just three balls for them to press their advantage.

Sherwin Campbell turned the first, from Glenn McGrath, for a single, bringing his left-handed partner Adrian Griffith, returning for his second Test after an absence of two years, into strike.

Griffith ducked a bouncer first ball and confidently pushed his second into what he perceived as a vacant midoff. Eager to get off the mark, he called for the run that never was.

Ponting, a challenger to Jonty Rhodes as the game's fastest fielder and most deadly thrower, swooped to his left from extra-cover and, on the run, flicked an underarm return that broke the stumps with Griffith two feet short of the line.

Umpire Eddie Nicholls' request for the TV replay was redundant and Griffith trudged back enveloped in understandable gloom.

So Dave Joseph, who asked to be relieved of the No.3 position at Sabina, found himself marching in as a virtual opener.

His response was typically swashbuckling, banging McGrath through the covers off the backfoot for three meaty boundaries, swishing and missing as many times as he connected and sweeping Shane Warne for a fourth boundary in the leg-spinner's solitary over that allowed the fast bowlers to change ends.

Charging in with the pavilion at his back, McGrath got his man through umpire Dave Orchard's clear cut lbw verdict as Joseph missed an in swinger.

The sight of Pedro Collins emerging as night watchman in bright, clear sunlight on a true pitch with eight overs remaining could only have delighted the Australians and McGrath needed only one ball, another full length inswinger, to remove him, lbw.

Collins' promotion hinted at Lara's reluctance to join the fray, a strange decision for one of the game's finest batsmen whose last innings was 213 of the very best.

The captain stayed for 25 minutes, scoring 8, before the lively Jason Gillespie surprised him with a bouncer that took the glove and lobbed into in waiting gloves of Ian Healy as Australians on the field and around it celebrated wildly.

Thankfully, Campbell batted through to the end, more composed than he has been all series. Hooper was his partner stroking two boundaries in the final over off Shane Warne to whet the appetite for today.

The West Indies' first target will be the 290 needed to avoid the possibility of a follow-on.

Their optimistic aim will be a fifth wicket partnership to equal Australia's. If they can match Waugh's luck, dedication, concentration and composed style, it is not out of the question.

Australia's captain had played and missed outside off-stump at least a dozen times the previous day and continued to tease the worthy Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh with his evasive edge. Not once was it found and he demonstrated the attribute of all great batsmen of disregarding the previous delivery to concentrate on the next.

He and Ponting passed two records during their stand.

They first lowered the ground standard for the fifth wicket, 185 between Everton Weekes and Collie Smith for the West Indies against Pakistan in 1958 and then went past the 220 between Keith Miller and Ron Archer at Sabina Park that had stood as Australia's standard for the wicket in all Tests against the West Indies since 1955.

Ponting's dismissal triggered the transformation after the West Indies had gone nearly 24 hours without a wicket.

His composed 104, that occupied 290 balls, ended when a sweep against Nehemiah Perry's off-spin, intended as his 11th four, skewed off the top edge to Hooper at backward square leg.

Ian Healy, who had waited patiently with the pads on since Ponting joined Waugh, was a first ball lbw victim, padding away Walsh, and Waugh's vital vigil came to an anti-climactic end in the next over when umpire Eddie Nicholls ruled him lbw on the backfoot to Perry's off-break.

Waugh, whose main scoring strokes were a swept six off Hooper and 20 fours off 376 balls, marched back to a standing ovation in obvious personal disappointment but must have known by then his team already had enough to seriously test the West Indies.

Warne, Gillespie and Stuart MacGill took easy runs off the tiring bowling either side of tea before the innings was ended.

Their principal role would be with the ball, not bat.

Perry finished with the best figures, three for 102, but Ambrose and Walsh were always the most threatening West Indian bowlers whose statistics did them no justice at all.

It was tough work for the two veterans, both in their mid-30s, in the 30 degree heat of a day of typical Caribbean sunshine.

Day 3: Campbell calms Kensington

Two unheralded fighters of West Indies cricket transformed Kensington Oval from a Sunday morning morgue into a joyous Caribbean carnival on a rousing third day of the third Cable & Wireless Test yesterday.

Counter-attacking with a volley of exciting boundaries when the West Indies were on the ropes against the menacing hostility of Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie, opener Sherwin Campbell and the forthright left-hander Ridley Jacobs thumped 21 fours in a seventh wicket partnership of 153 off 125 balls.

Before 12,000 of his ecstatic fellow Barbadians, Campbell made 105, his third and most notable Test hundred, an innings divided into two distinctly different parts.

Jacobs scored a typically belligerent 68 and their stand was the catalyst for later merry resistance from the tail.

The 231 raised by the last four wickets not only allowed the West Indies to pass the follow-on total of 291 but shook the Australians' self-confidence, so buoyant when McGrath despatched Carl Hooper and Jimmy Adams to slip catches at the same total and within 10 minutes of each other after three-quarters of an hour.

Eventually all out for 329, a still substantial deficit of 161, the durable fast bowlers Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh returned after their entertaining last wicket partnership of 38 to claim a wicket each in the last eight overs of the day.

The tall left-hander Matthew Elliott snicked Walsh's third ball into Jacobs' gloves, as he has been inclined to do all tour, and was out for his third 0 in six innings. The other left-hander, Justin Langer, was pinned on the back foot by Ambrose and lbw so that Australia resume this morning 18 for two, 179 to the good with two days remaining on a pitch that has remained faithful to the batsmen, but not entirely unsympathetic to the bowlers, throughout.

It is an intriguing tactical situation. Not only has it prompted hopes of avoiding defeat over the last two days but thousands were streaming up Fontabelle last night speculating over a remarkable victory. It is an unrealistic expectation but, after Sabina Park, West Indian optimism knows no bounds..

Such an equation seemed beyond the faith of even the most optimistic West Indies when Jacobs joined Campbell 45 minutes into the day.

McGrath and Gillespie, fast, aggressive and controlled, had tightened Australia's already vice-like grip and the West Indies had declined from 80 for four to 98 for six as Hooper and the left-handed Adams steered catches into the slips off balls that deviated away from them, Adams' accentuated by the over-the-wicket angle.

Campbell, meanwhile, was trapped at the opposite ends by the controlled pace and swing of Gillespie. He could manage only one scoring stroke off the seven consecutive overs he faced from the slim South Australian over the first hour and even that was a streaky boundary through the slips off the day's third ball. Two overs later, he survived a stinging boot-high catch to Matthew Elliott at third slip.

But, as has been evident throughout his rise to the top and more especially on the ill-starred tour of Pakistan 18 months ago, Campbell is a warrior. He diligently stuck it out and when captain Steve Waugh turned to his two spinners, Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill, the forthright Jacobs initiated the offensive.

He had already set out his stall with a hook fine off McGrath for the first of what would be nine fours and Campbell quickly took the cue. For the next two and three-quarter hours, the two emphatically changed the course of the innings and the mood of the crowd.

Campbell's bat, strokeless for the first hour, became a flashing blade, reeling off rasping cover-drives and square cuts. Jacobs, more muscular and blunt, dealt roughly with the loose balls, using the sweep to effect against the leg-spinners.

The day's first hour yielded 25 off 14 overs from the fast bowlers. The second brought 46 off 17 from the spinners.

Campbell spent some of his lunch time knocking up on the outfield and he and his pugnacious partner deliberately set about the Australians on resumption.

Warne, a shadow of Test cricket's most prolific spinner, was hammered for five fours in four overs that cost 26. Waugh quickly replaced him with McGrath but Campbell greeted his highly rated adversary with some of his most thrilling boundaries, a couple of stinging square-cuts and a cover-drive of pure perfection.

Waugh seemed to be at his wits' end when he speculated with Ricky Ponting's occasional medium-pace with Campbell 90. His first ball asked to be cut and Campbell duly obliged by his fourth streaked off the edge to the third man boundary to bring him to within two of his landmark.

More carefully, he nudged Ponting to third man for three in the next over and was there. Remarkably not a spectator defied the police lines and Clive Lloyd's repeatedly broadcast pleas to clear the fence and acclaim their hero, as hundreds did three years ago when Campbell completed his first Test hundred - and then his second - against New Zealand. They must have been sorely tempted.

Filling in for a few overs to rest McGrath prior to the second new ball, Ponting earned Australia a bonus, ending the partnership 25 minutes to tea when Jacobs under edged his cut low to Mark Waugh at second slip. The wicket-keeper's 68, spanning two and three-quarter hours, included nine fours and further emphasised the temperament that was so obvious in his debut series in South Africa.

Campbell's vital contribution was ended quarter-hour after tea, appropriately by the persevering Gillespie. He failed to keep down a square-cut that had earned him so many of his boundaries and Steve Waugh caught him at deep gully.

The statistics emphasised the structure of his innings. His first 50 took him 162 balls with five fours; his second required only 78 balls with 10 fours. First in, he was eighth out within 37 of the follow-on target.

As he walked back to the acclaim of the fans, and his teammates, another 26 were needed to deny the Australia the follow on option.

Nehemiah Perry, with 24, and Ambrose and Walsh, with their free-swinging strokes and antics, ensured his diligent work was not wasted.

Day 4: Fight to the finish

WI need 223 to make it 2-1

A critical match that has embodied all the finest attributes of Test cricket is appropriately poised for a tense and enthralling climax at Kensington Oval today.

The West Indies have fought with the tenacity and determination of which they seemed incapable less than a month ago and earned themselves a real-if outside-chance of converting a situation which looked utterly hopeless an hour into the third day into unlikely victory.

Their destiny, once more, is largely in the hands of captain Brian Lara. He resumes this morning after surviving an anxious final 20 minutes of the day amid the lengthening shadows with his team on 85 for three, 223 away from their distant winning goal of 308.

History, if not local sentiment, favours Australia. The West Indies have totalled as many to win only three times in their previous 350 Tests but they are encouraged as much by their new-found attitude as an outstanding Test pitch that has scarcely changed character throughout and a glasstop of an outfield.

Their astonishing triumph in the Second Test in Kingston buried most of the ghosts of their tortured tour of South Africa for the West Indies. Since Lara's 213 that was the catalyst for that victory, they have been a determined and united team.

In South Africa, the dire straits of the first innings, when they were 98 for six replying to 490, would have inevitably led to a swift and massive defeat. Here, adversity has brought the best out of them.

After their last four wickets had ensured they avoided the follow-on and reduced their first innings deficit to 161 on Sunday, their bowlers, led by the indomitable Courtney Walsh's five wickets, dismissed Australia for 146 by tea yesterday.

It left their batsmen the job of securing a result as significant as Sabina's that would put them ahead 2-1 with one Test remaining.

In 47 overs over the final session, they lost first innings century-maker Sherwin Campbell, lbw to Glenn McGrath for 33 on the backfoot after a sound and encouraging opening stand of 72 with the tall left-hander Adrian Griffith, Dave Joseph and Pedro Collins.

Collins's second promotion of the match to No.4 needs detailed explanation. After his resistance of the first two Tests, he is obviously the assigned nightwatchmen but nightwatchmen are not employed in broad and bright daylight and certainly not with eight overs remaining, as in the first innings, and seven and a half in the second.

He came in when Joseph's torture and confusion against Stuart MacGill's sharp leg-breaks and googlies was ended with an inevitable lbw decision. McGrath needed one ball to despatch him in the first innings, three more to do so this time with an identical lbw verdict.

Griffith, who began on a pair after his first innings run out, kept his head and his wicket through the tension and comes back with Lara this morning, unbeaten on 35.

When the fourth day began, Walsh and Ambrose had already removed two Australian wickets for 18 and it took some bold, clean hitting by Shane Warne, with 32 off 48 balls at No.8, to prevent a complete second innings rout.

The West Indies were initially energised by Campbell's dazzling run out of the dangerous Michael Slater after 35 minutes. The fleet-footed opener charged through for a second run from a stroke to third man off Collins but Campbell's fast, flat throw from 60 yards broke the stumps with the opener's outstretched bat inches short of the mark, a decision that could only be made by the television replay.

Ambrose then uprooted nightwatchman Jason Gillespie's off-stump and Walsh won a clearcut verdict on his second lbw appeal in the over against Mark Waugh, falling across his crease and gone for three. Out for a duck in the first innings, Waugh has never seemed properly focussed throughout this series.

His brother's presence has always been a more worrying obstacle for the West Indies and was again, especially after Ambrose and Walsh had to be rested after an hour and a quarter's exertion in the hot sunshine. But, after scoring 11, he failed to spot Collins's rare inswinger and, cutting, he chopped the ball back on to his stumps.

When Collins dismissed Ian Healy fourth ball after lunch, caught behind cutting as well, Australia were 87 for seven and their lead was an inadequate 242. But Warne's no-nonsense approach quickly loosened the West Indian strangehold.

Cutting and pulling the ill-advised short bowling with gusto, he dominated a partnership of 52 with Ricky Ponting, the first innings century-maker and the last of the recognised batsmen.

Eventually, Walsh found his Achilles heel, literally, gaining Dave Orchard's agreement on an lbw appeal to an ankle-high full toss. His fourth and fifth wickets soon followed, MacGill swatting a hook high to square-leg and Ponting charging down the pitch and hoisting a slower ball to deep extra-cover.

Walsh's return of five for 39 brought his count in Tests to 418. He led the side off, as he has so frequently done over the year, hoping he would not be required again in this match.

So does every other West Indian.

Day 5: King Lara steers West Indies to thrilling win

What a win!

Kensington has witnessed a host of sensational matches and nerve-jangling finishes through the years. But the famous old ground has never hosted a Test as consistently fluctuating and close and surely never a day as tense, exciting and emotionally draining as yesterday when the West Indies completed victory by one wicket over Australia in the third Test.

It is also certain that it has rarely seen an innings as brilliantly skilful and positively crucial as captain Brian Lara's unbeaten 153. Virtually on its own, it was responsible for the completion of one of the most stunning turnarounds in the history of Test cricket.

Australia were all but invincible after their first innings 490 and the West Indies hopeless when they were 98 for six in reply on the third morning. But Lara's revitalised team refused to buckle under the pressure, as it frequently did only a few months back in South Africa, and doggedly fought their way back into contention.

Even so, they were set the demanding challenge of scoring 308 for a result that would earn them a 2-1 lead in the series and place a firm grip on the Frank Worrell Trophy that has been in their opponents' possession since 1995.

Ready again

Two weeks ago, Lara, then under a two-match probation from the West Indies Board following a disastrous tour of South Africa, scored a dazzling 213 in the second Test in Kingston that inspired a series-levelling win for his beleagured team and renewed their - and his own - shaken self-belief.

Under the demanding expectations of faithful, never-say-die fans who filled their favourite Kensington and Eric Inniss Stands with their flags, their whistles and their optimism from early morning, he was ready for the challenge again.

He batted through from first ball at 10:05 to the last at 26 minutes past four when he stroked the winning boundary, his 19th, a flourishing covr-drive off Jason Gillespie. It gave immediate release to the strain felt throughout nearly six-and-a-half hours by everyone on the field, not least himself, the 14 000 or so who filled the stands to overflowing and the millions following on radio and television.

As with all great batsmen, he made a difficult task look easy. It never was.

He had to withstand the yeoman efforts of fast bowlers Glenn McGrath and Gillespie to convert Australia's advantageous position into the result that had seemed in their grasp so frequently over the five days.

He had his luck, offering a stinging, unaccepted return catch to leg-spinner Shane Warne when he was 101 with 70 more needed and three wickets remaining, and a more straightforward chance to wicket-keeper Ian Healy off the persevering Gillespie when 145 with seven required and two wickets to fall.

To the noisy backdrop of the enthralled fans, hundreds of them Australian, and the constant calypso and reggae beat from the huge speakers under the Greenidge and Haynes Stand, he engaged in a stirring battle with his old adversaries, McGrath and leg-spinner Shane Warne.

The indefatigable McGrath, who had 27 overs on another day of sweltering heat, snarled and growled and cussed as usual every time he passed the edge or failed to persuade the umpires on lbw decisions. When Lara ducked into a McGrath bouncer with the second new ball just after lunch and got up to complete a leg-bye off the helmet, he and the bowler exchanged words before Lara's level-headed partner, Jimmy Adams, arrived from the opposite end as peace-maker.

Within 70

Lara and Adams, his trusted fellow left-hander with whom he had shared a partnership of 322 in the second Test, checked an early Australian breakthrough with a sixth-wicket stand of 133 that carried the West Indies to within 70 of their imposing target of 308.

Lara had to battle through a compelling opening hour from McGrath and Gillespie in which Gillespie accounted for opener Adrian Griffith, lbw without adding to his overnight 35, and Carl Hooper, caught behind driving at an outswinger for six.

He spent 47 careful balls over his first ten runs but, once the two fast bowlers were rested, his approach changed. He danced on his feet and opened his shoulders to launch a withering attack on the two leg-spinners, the out-of-sorts Warne and Stuart MacGill.

He greeted MacGill with three boundaries in his first over, pulled Warne on to the Shell sign on the roof of the Greenidge and Haynes Stand, and forced Steve Waugh to recall McGrath for more work than was good for him in the sunshine. It might also have finally persuaded him that his policy of sticking to such a unbalanced attack is folly.

The last 90 runs on his way to his 12th Test hundred - and his first at Kensington - needed only another 121 balls.

Adams was characteristically restrained and his only scoring shot off his first 47 balls was a single off a mis-field by MacGill. As at Sabina, he gradually picked up the momentum with drives on both sides of the wicket against the unthreatening spinners.

A back strain that kept the impressive Gillespie in the pavilion half-hour before lunch was another constraining factor for the Australians. Under the regulations, he was unable to share the new ball with McGrath right away, so Waugh used it instead, starting with a wide and conceding 11 off two overs before he could hand over to Gillespie.

McGrath came back later to change the course of the game in his fourth spell. He conjured up a perfectly pitched off-cutter that passed Adams' defensive stroke on the outside to hit off-stump for 28, and gained umpire Eddie Nicholls' lbw verdicts against Ridley Jacobs and Nehemiah Perry with successive balls in the space of ten runs.

The sudden collapse left Lara with the two veteran fast bowlers, Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh, to gather the 60 runs still required as best he could. By now, the crowd was in a frenzy, the previously-muted Australians now on their feet, happily displaying their stuffed kangaroo again; the neighbouring West Indians shouting advice to the middle, arguing points among each other, cheering every run as if it was the winning one.

As Ambrose loped to the wicket, the DJ's speakers blasted out Bob Marley's refrain: ``Don't worry 'bout a thing, every little thing's gonna be all right''.

For the next hour and 20 minutes, every little thing was all right as Ambrose remained with Lara while the score moved to within six runs of the goal against several changes of bowling.

Gillespie, the tall, slim South Australian, was the most threatening Australian bowler, in spite of his back problem, and when he returned from the pavilion end, he immediately had Lara dropped by Healy, wide to his left. It was a decisive error by Test cricket's most successful wicket-keeper who has had a shocking series.

Undeterred, Gillespie removed Ambrose to a third slip catch at the same score so that Lara remained with only Walsh as company.

The great Jamaican fast bowler has closed off several close West Indian Test victories throughout his career, but none with the bat. His 32 ducks are a comfortable Test record, a statistic that was of no comfort to those around the ground willing him to hold on.

He did, with no difficulty, for five balls as the nervy Australians conceded two runs with a no-ball from Gillespie and a wide from the tiring McGrath in his 44th over.

Lara tied the scores with a hooked single off McGrath and fittingly completed the match at the opposite end with a trademark cover-driven boundary off Gillespie, triggering a stampede of sheer joy across the ground and celebrations well into the night.

It was a day and a match no one who followed it will ever forget.

Source: The Express (Trinidad)