|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Shop||Mobile|
At Perth, December 1, 2, 3. Australia won by an innings and 27 runs. Toss: Australia.
Within an hour of the start McGrath had taken a hat-trick, Lara had made a duck and West Indies had lost five wickets. At times they played redoubtably in their efforts to mount a recovery, but their cause was always hopeless and they were spent before the end of the third day. It was their fourth defeat inside three days in their last six Tests, while Australia's victory broke the West Indians' world record of 11 successive Test wins between March and December 1984. Indeed, such was the Australians' mastery that McGrath was required to take only one other wicket in the match. The sole setback was the torn buttock muscle that put captain Steve Waugh out of the next Test.
West Indies' woes began even before the match began: Sarwan, dropped for Hinds, had to be hastily recalled when Chanderpaul withdrew at the eleventh hour because of stress fractures; he would not play again on tour. Australia regained Gillespie, won the toss again and, on a typically pacy WACA pitch, were soon wreaking havoc. Ganga's lbw was unlucky, but it scarcely mattered when, from successive McGrath balls, Campbell and Lara snicked away-cutters to first and fourth slip respectively, and a mesmerised Adams popped a catch to short leg. Thus McGrath joined Merv Hughes, Damien Fleming and Shane Warne among the latter-day Australians with hat-tricks. Lara's wicket was also his 300th in 64 Tests; it fell out just as he had hoped in an interview before the match.
Sarwan followed as a matter of formality, but Ponting, the unaccustomed first slip in Warne's absence, dropped two catches and Gilchrist another. Hinds made bold with seven fours in 50, then lashed once too often at MacGill, and Jacobs showed courage, discretion and a good eye in batting out the last three hours and 40 minutes of the innings. He looked set for his maiden Test hundred until Gillespie's three-wicket burst abbreviated West Indies to 196 and left him stranded four runs short.
For almost three and a quarter hours, Hayden founded Australia's reply with only his second half-century in seven itinerant years of Test cricket. West Indies fought back well, and at 208 for six Australia led by just 12. However, Gilchrist's counter-attack, some lusty hitting by Lee and MacGill, and a masterly 18th Test century from Mark Waugh, in which he combined classic batsmanship with limited-overs imagination, regained the initiative. At 200 in front, Steve Waugh declared.
Campbell, lost for footwork, again went quickly, and before nightfall the night-watchman had gone, too. Lara began the third day full of good intentions. He survived McGrath's barrage, but after almost an hour he shaped a horribly inappropriate pull shot at MacGill and was bowled. Left-handers Hinds, Adams and Jacobs put up more than six hours of stout-hearted resistance between them, raising a cheer of genuine appreciation from the crowd and causing Australia to experiment with bowling casuals. When Jacobs was foolishly run out, Lee fired out the last three in one over to help himself to a five-wicket return and summarily finish the match. The West Indians had won all their five previous Tests on this ground, and one of the stalwarts from those better times, Sir Viv Richards, was among the early visitors to the Australians' rooms to congratulate them on their record 12th straight win.
Man of the Match: M. E. Waugh.