West Indies, set 462 to win, slumped to 10 for three at the close of the third day of the fourth test with Australia on Thursday. Brian Lara made a duck.
The disastrous West Indies display left Australia just seven wickets away from their 14th consecutive test victory.
The home side declared late in the final session at 262 for five, setting a massive target.
Australia had made 364 in their first innings then bowled West Indies out in their first innings for 165 at close of play on Wednesday as West Indies avoided the follow-on by one run.
Mark Waugh (78 not out) and Justin Langer (80) provided the backbone of Australia’s second innings while Ricky Ponting made a cameo appearance at the end, scoring 26 not out off 22 balls including five fours and some dazzling pull shots.
With just 11 overs to negotiate, West Indies lost wickets in each of Jason Gillespie’s first three overs.
Daren Ganga was lbw in the second over of the innings, then left-hander Wavell Hinds was caught at fourth slip by Andy Bichel.
Lara, West Indies’ best bat who made 182 in the third test, unwisely shouldered arms to a straight ball from Gillespie and lost his off-stump, making his third duck of the series.
Gillespie took 3-8 off his five overs. He captured 3-48 in the first innings and despite missing the first test through injury has taken 15 wickets at an average of 15.67.
Glenn McGrath failed to take a wicket but conceded only two runs in his five overs in another lethal display, keeping enormous pressure on the West Indies batsmen.
In the first innings McGrath played a similar role, taking 0-15 off 13 overs. Lara’s demise
Lara’s demise came as his team mates were looking to him for a miracle as the tourists were faced with the almost impossible task of making the victory target or somehow surviving for 11 overs then another two full days on a wicket that was providing assistance to the pacemen.
Opener Sherwin Campbell, who has made 48 runs for the series at an average of 6.86, was unbeaten on nought at stumps after struggling to keep the bowlers out in 50 minutes of batting.
Australia had gone to lunch at 44 for one after Michael Slater had been caught at slip by Lara off the bowling of Mervyn Dillon for four.
Australia scored 121 runs in the session after lunch with Mark Waugh sharing a 116-run third wicket partnership with Justin Langer in 139 minutes off 193 balls.
Langer was eventually out caught at slip by Ganga off the bowling of Jimmy Adams on the last ball before tea.
Steve Waugh could not repeat his first innings century heroics, making 20 before he was caught behind by Ridley Jacobs off Colin Stuart. Australia produced one of the day’s surprises when the next man in was tailender Colin Miller, who had smashed an entertaining 29 off 35 balls at number 10 in the first innings. Miller hit the fourth ball he faced, from Adams, over the long-on fence but was soon out for 11 off 13 balls at 228 for five, bringing Ponting to the crease.