Aussies Complete Easy Victory
Australia completed a 103-run victory in their rain-delayed Super Eight clash with West Indies at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
Australia easily withstood some of the best of Brian Lara to continue their 100% record in the 2007 World Cup with a 103-run win over West Indies in their Super Eight match.
Lara (77) was one of two masters of the game to shine at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, as Glenn McGrath moved within one of Wasim Akram's record of 55 World Cup wickets.
Yet, even the West Indies captain's best efforts could not achieve the miracle required for his team to pull off a sustained run chase of a required rate that soon topped nine an over.
Instead, the 322 for six Australia made on the back of Matthew Hayden's second successive century before rain intervened on Tuesday proved more than enough as the sun shone on the reserve day.
Lara's innings was a telling microcosm of much of his career, left to his own brilliant devices to try to make up for a lack of support from his team-mates – and eventually unable to manage what looked impossible all along.
He came in at a debilitating 20 for three in the 10th over – and once he went in the 36th, his team's first defeat in four matches so far in this tournament was a certainty.
The 37-year-old left-hander hit eight fours and one six from 83 balls before he fell lbw, trying to make something from nothing by squeezing a full-length ball from Brad Hogg fine on the off side.
The Windies lost Shivnarine Chanderpaul in only the fourth over when he missed an attempted on-drive at Shaun Tait and was adjudged lbw by umpire Aleem Dar.
That was the first of three wickets to fall for the addition of just nine runs – the second two courtesy of McGrath, who struck in each of his first two overs.
Chris Gayle had been unable to launch any of his trademark big shots at the top of the order, and if he decided he could relieve the pressure when McGrath came on, he was mistaken.
He went for a pull but managed only to lob a catch to mid-on; then Marlon Samuels became the third single-figure departure when he too went after McGrath and miscued a skier to cover, where Andrew Symonds made no mistake under a very high ball.
Lara and Ramnaresh Sarwan did their best to repair the situation in a stand of 71.
But Sarwan, who escaped on 15 when he pulled Shane Watson to midwicket and was dropped by a diving Mike Hussey, became the first of three victims for Hogg – caught off a full-toss at short midwicket by Ricky Ponting.
Still more therefore rested on Lara, and it was no help to see McGrath (three for 31) return and have Dwayne Bravo also caught in the ring by the Australia captain.
Denesh Ramdin (52) was to manage a defiant 41-ball half-century.
But, once Lara went down fighting, the only remaining issues to be resolved were the margin of victory – and whether McGrath would bag his record in this match, or against Bangladesh over the weekend.
As Ponting rang the changes with his attack – the hosts eventually bowled out for 219 with more than four overs unused – it transpired the veteran pace bowler would have to wait until Saturday after all.
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