West Indies on top after rain-hit first day

Updated: 16 June 2008 17:13 IST

Australia were struggling at 226 for seven after a rain-shortened first day of the third Test against West Indies on Thursday.

Bridgetown, Barbados:

Andrew Symonds capitalised on two bouts of good fortune to hit for a half century on Thursday, but the West Indies restricted Australia to 226 for seven at close on a rain-shortened first day of the third and final cricket Test at Kensington Oval.

Seamer Dwayne Bravo claimed three for 48 to lead the home team. Jerome Taylor contributed two for 44 while there was a wicket apiece for fellow pacer Fidel Edwards (one for 47) and left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn (one for 33).

Symonds hit 52 off 84 deliveries, including five fours and a six.

He and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin formed the backbone of the Australian innings with a partnership of 87 that revived the visitors from 111 for five.

Haddin cracked six fluent boundaries in 32 off 66 balls.

Earlier, Australia began strongly after the returning West Indies captain Chris Gayle won the toss and elected to bowl first on a lively pitch.

Left-handed openers Phil Jaques and Simon Katich added 46 for the first wicket at a run-a-ball before Taylor made the initial breakthrough.

Jaques, strong on the back foot, hit a six and four fours before he top-edged a pull. Wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin hauled in a fine catch running back towards fine leg.

Captain Ricky Ponting signaled his intent with two pulled sixes but did not last much longer as Taylor claimed him for the third successive time in the series at 75 for two.

Ponting, dropped just before on a difficult return chance to Daren Powell, was leg before for 18 as he played across the line.

Bravo tilted the balance further towards the West Indies with two wickets in one over just before lunch.

Michael Hussey slammed one six in 12 before he tried another pull and Daren Powell hauled in a catch over his shoulder on the fine leg boundary.

Michael Clarke, fresh off a century in the second Test, went without scoring as he edged a probing defensive shot to Ramdin.

Edwards removed Katich soon after lunch as Australia wobbled to 111 for five.

Katich occupied 72 balls and hit five fours in 32 before he was the third batsman to fall to the pull stroke. His top-edged effort was well held by Chris Gayle running back 15 yards from first slip.

The West Indies should have been further on top soon afterward but Symonds benefited from two bits of luck that helped shift the momentum.

The Queenslander was seven when his flying edge off Bravo was floored by Xavier Marshall at second slip. He progressed to 14 when a clear leg side edge to wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin was undetected by umpire Mark Benson and given not out.

Symonds and Haddin gradually established their partnership with Haddin stroking a number of glorious front-foot boundaries as the stand passed a half century.

Symonds emerged from his uncertain start and left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn was carted for a number of boundaries.

The 2.01-meter (6-foot-7) Benn broke the worrying stand just before tea when Haddin swung across the line and was leg before. The wicketkeeper hit six fours off 66 deliveries.

Bravo removed Symonds just after tea as the batsman lofted a drive to extra cover.

Brett Lee survived a torrid short-pitched examination from Edwards just before persistent rain halted play 40 minutes into the final session.

Lee was dropped at slip by a combination of Marshall and Gayle and should also have been run out after a mix-up with Beau Casson.

Lee was unbeaten seven at close with debutant Casson on six not out.

Topics : Cricket Sreesanth
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