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Bevan spoils WI party
Garth Wattley - 18 April 1999

It was a lovely day for cricket. But not for batsmen - unless you were Michael Bevan.

It was also a day of anniversaries-Phil Simmons's 36th and Malcolm Marshall's 41st birthday as well as Brian Lara's 5th as the world Test batting record-holder.

But they were not happy ones for the West Indies trio. Or for the maroon section of another sold-out Queen's Park Oval.

For when Shane Lee knocked back swinging Courtney Walsh's off-stump to end the Fourth Cable and Wireless One-day international yesterday, he and his mates, Bevan and Man-of-the-Match Shane Warne in particular, had spoiled the party and pulled off an excellent series-levelling win.

In his post-match talk, a disappointed-sounding Lara said he was confident that his side would get the 190 runs they needed to take a 3-1 lead.

And while he can point justifiably to three suicidal run-outs and a couple of poor shots as the reason for the 20-run defeat, the Windies skipper also had to bow to the resilient Aussie spirit and world-class skill.

Bevan's superb 59, made largely in testing conditions in a record-breaking ninth-wicket partnership with Warne, might have been good enough to make him Man-of-the-Match on any other day.

But the Earl of Twirl's allround form was the clincher.

Warne's crucial 29 came with the innings in tatters at 103 for 8. And his three wickets-including the Windies Prince for just six-helped cripple an innings already undone by the run-outs.

The final outcome must also have been tough on Mervyn Dillon.

In perhaps his most impressive performance in West Indies colours, he removed the slumber from the Sunday morning crowd with his four for 20 in ten overs.

That stunning spell that saw him start with three consecutive maidens and two wickets was reward for intelligent bowling.

But not even Merv could stop the Bevan and Warne show.

The Aussie pair found themselves in a crisis when they came together in the 29th over when a tentative Brendon Julian was given out caught behind off Dillon.

Tentative was the key word for the visitors, who found themselves struggling on a wicket of variable, often low bounce.

Opener Adam Gilchrist (25) was the first to make the unpleasant discovery. Walsh, one of two changes from the side on Saturday, trapped him lbw with a ball that kept low with the total on 39.

But Ricky Ponting owed his dismissal to the Walsh delivery that left him late and the super Ridley Jacobs taken tumbling to his right.

That left the score at 60 for 2 after 14 overs. And by over number 19, pace partner Ambrose had taken care of Mark Waugh, bowled off-stump by another low one, and Darren Lehmann, bowled leg-stump.

Ambrose was bowled out by Lara, who replaced him with Dillon.

The returns proved to be even greater.

Bowling straight on a tight offstump-line, he took out captain Waugh, lbw playing across the line, and Lee, edging a ball to Jacobs.

It was 93 for 6 and Dillon had not yet conceded a run.

And before the Concrete Stand could drink two for that, Tom Moody , bowled by a beauty that left him and hit off-stump, and Julian were on their way in the same over.

Not even the much-travelled Trini Posse would have been thinking about cricket's glorious uncertainties at that stage.

But Bevan, while hitting five boundaries, and Warne one six, made them think again, coolly collecting the singles, Bevan proving expert at finding the gaps and refusing to be panicked into big hits. So successful were they that their 78 was a new ninth-wicket ODI record for Australia against all opponents.

By the time Warne was run out in the final over, West Indian ecstacy had become quiet optimism. But that optimism would steadily be eroded. In fact, West Indian patience on and off the field ran out.

The latest WI opener Jacobs (29) and Saturday's heroes Jimmy Adams (27) and Carl Hooper (23) all committed suicide, attempting singles that were not on.

In the circumstances, those were starts the Windies could not afford to waste, especially with Sherwin Campbell the first to go, lbw to Damien Fleming for just 13.

It was the type of situation that required an anniversary present and a prolonged stay from Lara. But he made just six before he tried to sweep Warne delicately from outside off-stump and was bowled by a sharp turner.

The captain departed before both the unconvincing Stuart Williams, also bowled by Warne, and Hooper.

That left just old man Simmons to save the day. He nearly did.

Using the experience of 136 previous ODIs, he played with assurance while still delighting with the powerful drives that brought him the majority of his six boundaries in a 50-ball 42. He lifted the dragging, negative tempo when he arrived.

But ``Simmo'' could not find a solid partner in either Hooper, Ambrose, lbw swinging at the recently reintroduced Warne, or Dillon bowled comprehensively by Fleming.

Nehemiah Perry, troubled by a damaged finger on his right hand, injured when effecting the run-out of Warne, still looked capable despite a very close run-out scare.

But with 24 still to get, Simmons fell to Gilchrist's breathtaking one-handed catch low to his right, as the batsman tried to run Lee down to third man.

There was not going to be a Windies victory party.

And when Lee also conquered Walsh with three overs and four balls to go, the home side was again dancing to an Aussie tune.

Source: The Express (Trinidad)