'When Brian is there I always feel myself lift' - McGrath
It has taken McGrath 21 Tests to reach the century mark, which he extended to 101 when Devon Smith was bowled offering no shot to a ball angled in from around the wicket. "They're definitely a team I admired growing up and they were an awesome side in the 80s," he said. "Two of my three series in West Indies went really well. I've bowled okay in Australia and well over there and the wickets added up."
McGrath said the challenge of bowling to Brian Lara, who was not part of his 4 for 58 today but received a beautiful off-cutter early in his 30, helped lift his performance against West Indies. "I always enjoy bowling to the guys that are the best in the world. When Brian is there I always feel myself lift and that helps bowling to the other guys in the team."
The Gabba pitch played slower than usual and McGrath said it offered life for the first 20 overs with the new ball, by which time he had dismissed Chris Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan with catches to Adam Gilchrist. "It was a funny day, I've bowled a lot better than that," he said. "It was the type of wicket to be patient on and I'm a little bit disappointed at the number of runs I went for. But to pick up four wickets the way I did I'll keep it any day."
After play McGrath was keen to talk about reaching his 600th Test run with his 6 not out in Australia's 435, before predicting Ricky Ponting would not enforce the follow-on. He also called Brett Lee's massive six from Daren Powell that left the ground the largest he had seen. "He showed his potential at Trent Bridge hitting Harmy and this was bigger again."
Smith was more considered in making his vital 88 and rued shouldering arms to McGrath and missing a century. "I'm a bit disappointed because we were coming to a part in the game where I could have come in fresh in the morning," he said. "It's a little bit tough."
Carrying a headache while batting from ducking into a Brett Lee bouncer, Smith said West Indies needed to be "mentally strong" for the rest of the match. "We are in a tough position but we have to get as close to Australia's position as possible."