Sport

Scott Boland rips heart from West Indies to leave Australia awaiting victory

Scott Boland’s heroics have put Australia within touching distance of a Frank Worrell Trophy clean sweep after a triple-wicket maiden left West Indies reeling in the second Test.

The tourists went to stumps on day three at 38 for four, needing to chase down 497 or survive two more days and avoid a 2-0 series loss. While both looked unlikely before their innings started under lights, Boland ensured 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 second innings after a manic 199 for six off 31 overs. Boland brought back memories of his six for seven last year at the MCG, claiming an incredible three for nine off six overs to keep his Test average at 10.

The Victorian drew the edge of the West Indies captain, Kraigg Brathwaite, with his first ball of the night, before trapping Shamarh Brooks lbw and snagging 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 the Adelaide Oval, while his average is now the best in Test history of any player with 20 or more wickets.

It came as debate flowed 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.

Mitchell Starc claimed one wicket to go with his two in the afternoon during the Windies’ first innings, courtesy of a smart review to get Tagenarine Chanderpaul down leg-side.

The only things missing from the collapse under lights were Nathan Lyon wickets and run outs, after the two had become features of 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 59.

When Lyon or Starc were not going through the tourists in that first session, the men from the Caribbean were shooting themselves in the foot with top-scorers Chanderpaul (47) and nightwatchman Anderson Phillip (43) 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 hesitated, ran, turned around and was caught short.

Australia pursued quick runs, with David Warner 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 an over.