At Port-of-Spain, April 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 2003. Australia won by 118 runs. Toss: Australia. Test debuts: C. S. Baugh, D. E. Bernard.
It's the sort of question likely to crop up in pub quizzes: who took seven wickets in the Second Test at Trinidad in 2002-03? Answer: West Indies. It's a fair bet that the moment the Australians caught a glimpse of their opponents' team sheet, they firmed up arrangements for the Worrell Trophy's return to Australia. This Test was decided even before the toss.
West Indies had already lost tearaway young quick Jermaine Lawson to chickenpox, and were hamstrung further when Chanderpaul and Jacobs were ruled out through injuries they sustained at Georgetown: Chanderpaul had a badly bruised knee while Jacobs's damaged thigh would sideline him till the Fourth Test. He was replaced by 20-year-old Carlton Baugh from Jamaica. Uncapped off-spinner Omari Banks had been added to the squad, but even though the Queen's Park Oval was obviously dry and bare they opted instead for a decidedly thin, second-rate seam attack.
The out-of-form pair, Dillon and Collins, were to share the new ball, with back-up from Drakes. If they failed to make inroads, it would be up to another young Jamaican, the untried all-rounder Dave Bernard, only 21, and the part-time off-spinner, Samuels, one year older. Everything unravelled on the first day: by then Australia had reached 391 for three - and two of those three wickets came courtesy of lamentable leg-before decisions from umpire de Silva, who seemed to have trouble with the law about balls pitching outside leg. In fact, de Silva, after an indifferent game in Georgetown, was the only man to look like making a breakthrough all day. Ponting and Lehmann compiled an Australian-record third-wicket stand of 315, including an overdue maiden Test century from Lehmann, in his tenth match.
The ritual slaughter continued next morning as Ponting, in the form of his life, blazed his way to his first Test double-hundred. He batted eight hours 11 minutes, faced 362 balls and hit 24 fours and a six. Gilchrist, meanwhile, celebrated his latest promotion, to No. 5, with another unbeaten century. Waugh declared at 576 for four, and his hard-working bowlers grabbed three wickets by the end of the second day, including the key scalp of Lara, bowled around his legs within sight of a first Test hundred on his home ground. By completing back-to-back Test centuries, Ganga enabled his beleaguered team to pass the follow-on mark, though it was unlikely Waugh would have asked his bowlers to start again after 100-plus gruelling overs.
Instead, he instructed his batsmen to add quick runs, which they did - if not quite at the rate of their first-innings sprint - with Hayden becoming Australia's fourth centurion of the game. To achieve his pre-match aim of a draw, Lara needed his team to bat out more than four sessions, or score 407 at a little more than three an over to snatch an improbable win. By lunch on the last day, local hopes were swollen by Lara and Sarwan batting, largely untroubled, through the morning session to narrow the deficit to 197 with seven wickets left. Lara had reached a breakthrough home-town century despite an inspired spell of brutish fast bowling from Lee, which the former West Indian pace bowler, Ian Bishop, rated the fastest he had seen in the Caribbean. But that was followed by something almost as quick: West Indies went into free fall to lose their last seven wickets for 75 in 23 overs - and the Worrell Trophy stayed with Australia.
Man of the Match: R. T. Ponting.