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On December 3, 2000, Australia recorded their 12th consecutive Test victory by beating the West Indies by an innings and 27 runs at Perth. Nishad Pai Vaidya looks back at events during Australia’s record breaking Test match.
It was a tale of contrasting fortunes. On the one hand, you had the formidable Australian juggernaut that steamrolled anything in its path under Steve Waugh’s shrewd leadership. They were up against their one-time competitors for world domination —West Indies — now a waning force, desperately searching for old glory. When the two sides met at Perth for the second Test on December 1, 2000, there was only going to be one winner, but West Indies would have taken hope in their record at Perth. Having said that, the main protagonist of those triumphs at Perth, Curtly Ambrose, was no longer in the side.
On December 1, Waugh won the toss and elected to put the West Indians in to bat on the typically fast surface at Perth. He backed Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie and Brett Lee to do the job for them and shoot the West Indies out quickly. Things started off with Lee trapping Daren Ganga leg-before with only a single on the board. West Indies ‘steadied’ themselves and reached 19 before McGrath joined the party. Sherwin Campbell was caught by Ponting as McGrath celebrated his first wicket. In walked Brian Lara, on whom the West Indian hopes rested. The Aussies wanted to get him early as they knew the danger he posed.
But given McGrath’s stupendous form, there was no stopping him. To top it all, McGrath was on 299 Test wickets and he was eyeing the scalp of the great West Indian batsman for the impending milestone. And, he did get it off the very first ball. As the ball was moving outside the off stump, Lara edged it to Stuart MacGill at fourth slip. For McGrath, that spilt second would have been long as MacGill fumbled, but managed to hold on. Wicket No 300!
Jimmy Adams, the under pressure West Indies captain walked in. There wasn’t much he could do as his side was plummeting to new depths. He lobbed a catch off his first delivery to Justin Langer, who pouched it at forward short-leg. McGrath celebrated the milestone with an icing on the cake — a hat-trick! At 19 for 4, West Indies were staring down the barrel on the first morning.
Wavell Hinds did everything he could to script a recovery. However, fate was by his side as a few chances went begging. He scored his 50 and Ridley Jacobs’s 96 took West Indies to 196 — a total that seemed impossible given McGrath’s early burst. McGrath and Gillespie had taken three wickets each and Lee and MacGill had two apiece.
Australia commenced their first innings with Matthew Hayden taking charge. They finished Day One on 72 for two with Hayden on 46 and Gillespie in as the night-watchman.
On Day Two, Hayden extended his charge and got his fifty. However, he was dismissed for 69 when Mark Waugh entered the platform to take charge. The West Indies fast-bowlers still kept their spirits high and picked wickets at regular intervals. With Mark Waugh at one end, they pegged the other batsman and at one stage, Australia were 188 for five and then 208 for six. Needing some stability and to extend their advantage, Adam Gilchrist and Mark Waugh took control. Their sound partnership took Australia over 300 as Mark Waugh got his ton and Gilchrist scored a fifty. Although their stand was broken, Australia were well in control and Lee then threw his bat around to take them to 396. Steve Waugh then called his men in with them being 200 ahead. West Indies had a serious challenge as their poor form was the biggest odd stacked against them.
As West Indies commenced their innings, defeat loomed large. And, the clouds only grew bigger once Campbell was dismissed by Lee. To make matters worse even the night-watchman Mervyn Dillon was sent packing. West Indies finished Day Two on 16 for two.
Although a West Indian defeat was certain, December 3 (Day Three) was going to be a historic day for Australian cricket. As West Indies kept losing wickets, there was some fight from Hinds. However, he could do nothing to stop the slide. Even Lara had a brainwave and was bowled trying to smash MacGill to the boundary. At 96 for six, West Indies were down and out. Adams held fort to fight and Jacobs also contributed to help extend the fight. However, Lee came firing in once Jacobs was run-out and with the score on 150. The tailenders were embarrassed by Lee’s pace as he wrapped things up quickly. West Indies were shot out for 173 as Australia registered a victory by an innings and 27 runs.
This was a victory of great significance as it was their 12th consecutive Test win. Under Steve Waugh’s leadership, they had imbibed a strong winning habit. Home or away, they were the side to beat and remains one of the strongest units in Test history. But, on the other side of the spectrum, West Indies made a sorry sight for a side that had once ruled the cricketing world. It was quite ironical that West Indies held the previous record of 11 consecutive Test wins. And the record was stolen at their happy hunting ground — Perth. Such is life!
West Indies 196 (Wavell Hinds 50, Ridley Jacobs 96; Glenn McGrath 3 for 48, Brett Lee 2 for 52, Jason Gillespie 3 for 46, Stuart MacGill 2 for 47) and 173 (Wavell Hinds 41, Jimmy Adams 40*; Brett Lee 5 for 61, Stuart MacGill 2 for 37) lost to Australia 396 for 8 decl. (Matthew Hayden 69, Mark Waugh 119, Adam Gilchrist 50; Courtney Walsh 2 for 74, Marlon Black 2 for 87, Mervyn Dillon 2 for 130, Nixon McLean 2 for 78) by an innings and 27 runs.
Man of the Match: Mark Waugh.
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