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West Indies hang in as Aussies seek series victory

07:36 PM May 31, 2019 | Free Press Journal Correspondant

Melbourne: The West Indies were hanging on with Australia six wickets away from a series-clinching victory at tea on the fourth day of the second Test in Melbourne today.

The Australians, big winners in the first Test in Hobart, grabbed three wickets in the middle session with a fifth day still open.

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At tea, the tourists were 146 for four and trailing Australia by 313 runs with Jermaine Blackwood on 16 and Denesh Ramdin not out 19.

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Australia dismissed Darren Bravo, Rajendra Chandrika and Marlon Samuels after lunch to take a firmer grip on proceedings.

Bravo, the first-innings top-scorer with 81, was caught behind off Peter Siddle for 21 and Chandrika’s 130-ball vigil ended when he was trapped leg before wicket to James Pattinson for 37.

Senior batsman Samuels continued his dismal tour when he prodded at Mitchell Marsh and was snapped up by wicketkeeper Peter Nevill for 19.

Blackwood has attempted to play his shots, while wicketkeeper Ramdin is searching for form after being in the batting doldrums for the last two seasons.

Australia’s no-ball wicket curse had earlier continued when Bravo survived on 12 after he was given out caught behind only to be saved by a front-foot no-ball by Josh Hazlewood.

Pattinson had two wickets denied to him for overstepping on Sunday’s third day, and to Australia’s frustration it was the wicket-less Hazlewood’s turn on the fourth day.

Skipper Steve Smith declared on Australia’s overnight second innings total of 179 for three for a 459-run lead.

The Australians removed Kraigg Brathwaite in the 12th over for 31 when he was coaxed to cut spinner Nathan Lyon only to be snapped up by Smith at slip.

Smith remained 70 not out when he made the declaration atthe start of the fourth day and finished 2015 with most Test runs of 1,474 at 73.70.

Only Joe Root (1,372) was in a position in England’s current Test match against South Africa in Durban to overtake him in the final Test of the year.

The longest Test fourth innings in Australia was India’s 445 off 1,132 balls at the Adelaide Oval in 1978.

The West Indies will need to survive a minimum of 1,080 balls to draw in Melbourne.

The tourists have yet to pass 300 in seven Test innings against Australia this year.

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