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Australia equals record in emphatic fashion

By Malcolm Conn

BRISBANE, NOV. 25. Australia's demolition of the West Indies in the first Test at Brisbane's 'Gabba on Saturday has set the home side on course to set a record for successive victories which could take decades to break.

By bowling the West Indies out for 124, to win by an innings and 126 with two and a half days to spare, Australia equalled the run of 11 successive victories from the mighty West Indian side of 1984. Its current opponents do not resemble that awesome unit in any respect, increasing the likelihood of a 5-0 whitewash.

On the evidence of the past three days it will take an enormous amount of rain to extend any match to the full five days. Australia could have won 15 matches in a row by the end of the last Test in Sydney early next January.

Only two players from the current West Indian line-up would have had a chance to be selected in that '84 side - Courtney Walsh, who debuted at that time, and Brian Lara, despite his double failure in this match.

Significantly, there are probably only two Australians from this match who would force their way in amongst Clive Lloyd's men of 16 years ago - Glenn McGrath and Steve Waugh. That may be different in a year or so if players such as Brett Lee and Adam Gilchrist continue to perform at their current rate.

McGrath was outstanding again on Saturday, claiming four for 10 for unbelievable match figures of 10-27, the cheapest 10-wicket haul in Test history and the third time he has taken 10 wickets for the game in 63 matches.

He now needs just two wickets to become only the third Australian to claim 300 wickets behind Shane Warne (366) and Dennis Lillee (355).

Steve Waugh said he had seen McGrath bowl just as well without getting the wickets. ``It was his game, there's no doubt about that. He got the edges and things went his way. If you keep putting it in the right spot the chances are you're going to get the rewards,'' said Waugh.

McGrath could not have been more delighted with a performance which saw him concede just 27 runs in 33 overs. ``I summed the wicket up pretty early. After the first two overs I realised there wasn't much in it, there wasn't much bounce and movement so I just tried to remain patient and put the ball in the right area,'' he said.

Australia heads to Perth for the second Test, beginning on Friday, to establish a new record having been thrashed there by the West Indies in all five previous outings.

Yet the Australians are playing so well and the West Indies so badly that it is difficult to imagine anything other than another Australian success.

The West Indies has now lost three of its past five Tests inside three days after a recent poor tour of England. On Saturday, it was fortunate not to be bowled out for fewer than 100 for the second time in the match.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul became just the second West Indian to make it past 50 in three first class matches on tour. He finished on 62 not out made in almost four hours. Sherwin Campbell had scored a century against Western Australia in Perth.

Only two other West Indians managed double figures outside Chanderpaul - captain Jimmy Adams stuck for 70 minutes making 16 and Nixon McLean pulled a lusty four and a six in his 13.

There were four ducks for the innings to go with five in the first, giving the West Indies the dubious honour of equalling the world record for ducks in a match - nine by Sri Lanka against India in Chandigarh 10 years ago.

On the way to the thumping victory, Gilchrist claimed eight victims for the match. Playing just his 10th Test, Gilchrist already holds the record for the most dismissals by an Australian gloveman - 10 against New Zealand in Hamilton.

The world record is held by England's Jack Russell, who claimed 11 against South Africa in Johannesburg five years ago.

It did not take Gilchrist long to become part of the action after the West Indies resumed at 2-25 needing a further 225 to make Australia bat a second time.

Just 14 minutes after leg-spinner Stuart MacGill began play, Darren Ganga (8) charged down the wicket without much idea of what was to happen next. He was completely stranded and stumped by Gilchrist, who missed the stumps on the first attempt but had plenty of time for a second swipe which removed the bails.

Adams fended at a short ball from Brett Lee to be caught behind and then Ramnaresh Sarwan continued his miserable tour. He was bowled by a wonderful inswinging yorker from Lee after just four balls, bringing up a second successive pair. He also failed to score in both innings during the recent tour match against Victoria.

When Ridley Jacobs (4) was caught at second slip by Mark Waugh off Andy Bichel the end was always going to come quickly.

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