Boland barrage leaves Windies on the rack

December 10, 2022 09:26 PM AEDT | By AAPNEWS
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Scott Boland's heroics have put Australia within touching distance of a Frank Worrell Trophy clean sweep after a triple-wicket maiden over left the West Indies reeling in the second Test.

The tourists went to stumps on day three at 4-38, needing to chase down a fourth-innings target of 497 or survive two more days and avoid a 2-0 series loss.

And while both looked unlikely before their innings started under lights, Boland ensured that there would be next to no chance of either when he ripped the heart out of the West Indies top order.

After Australia began the day by taking six first-session wickets to have the West Indies all out for 214, they declared their own second innings shut at a manic 6-199 off 31 overs.

Boland brought back memories of his 6-7 last year at the MCG, claiming an incredible 3-9 off six overs and keep his Test average at 10.

The Victorian drew the edge of West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite on his first ball of the night, before trapping Shamarh Brooks lbw and getting Jermaine Blackwood to a superb Cameron Green catch in the gully in the same over.

The wickets drew rapturous applause for the right-armer wherever he went at Adelaide Oval, while his average is now the best in Test history of any player with 20 or more wickets.

It came amid debate about whether Michael Neser deserved the third bowling spot at the Gabba if Pat Cummins recovers from his injury as expected and Josh Hazlewood is ruled out.

Now there can be little doubt Boland will be there next Saturday.

Pink-ball king Mitchell Starc also claimed one scalp in the night to go with his two in the afternoon during the Windies' first innings, courtesy of a smart review to get Tagenarine Chanderpaul down legside.

The only things missing from the collapse under lights were Nathan Lyon wickets and run outs, after the two had become features of the West Indies' first innings.

Lyon claimed two more scalps on Saturday afternoon after going ahead of Shane Warne as the leading wicket-taker at the ground, with his record now standing at 59.

And when Lyon or Starc weren't going through the tourists in that first session, the men from the Caribbean were shooting themselves in the foot with top-scorers Tagenarine Chanderpaul (47) and nightwatchman Anderson Phillip (43) both run out after mix-ups.

Chanderpaul went when Phillip sent him back on the fourth ball of the day before a Starc direct hit, while Phillip's own run out where he hesitated, ran, turned around and eventually caught short was diabolical.

The drama allowed Australia to pursue quick runs, with David Warner again getting a start before falling for 28 and Usman Khawaja following on 45 in the same Roston Chase over.

Marnus Labuschagne (31 from 23), Steve Smith (35 from 36) and Travis Head (38no off 27) all went hard at the ball as Australia scored at more than six runs an over.

But their decision to slog on did draw criticism when Green was caught for five, with former skipper Ricky Ponting questioning if the team had risked denting the young allrounder's confidence.

That remains to be seen, given wickets appeared irrelevant on a day where 16 fell but only Australia had any real joy.


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