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On This Day in 2003: When West Indies Chased Down 418 vs Australia to Create Test Cricket Record

Early in the 2000s, Australia, under the leadership of Steve Waugh, dominated the world of cricket as they were capable of winning against any opposition anywhere in the world. In 2003, Australia toured West Indies for a four-match Test series and almost lived up to their reputation as they managed to thrash the Indies in the first three Test matches by a comfortable margin.

Entering the fourth Test at Antigua Recreation Ground in St John’s Antigua, the tourist were deemed as the favorites and were eyeing a series whitewash. Opting to bat first, Australia could manage 240 runs on the scoreboard. Justin Langer was the highest run-scorer with 42 runs while for West Indies Jermaine Lawson ruled by show by picking up seven wickets.

Batting in the second innings, West Indies, led by Brian Lara, equaled the runs scored by Australia as they also scored 240 runs. For West Indies, skipper Lara was the highest run-getter with 68 runs while Andy Bichel and Brett Lee scalped three wickets for the visitors.

The third innings saw Australia showing why they are considered the best in the world. The visitors racked up a mammoth total of 417 runs on the scoreboard. The opening duo of Langer and Matthew Hayden was the wrecker-in-chief for the tourists as they smashed 111 and 117 runs respectively. A series whitewash was on cards for West Indies as nobody imagined West Indies batters surviving against Australia’s lethal bowling line-up.

Chasing 418, Indies got off to a torrid start as they lost their first three wickets in the form of Chris Gayle, Devon Smith, and Daren Ganga at the score of 19, 23, and 8 respectively. However, the visitors bounced back stronger from the initial setback as Brian Lara, Ramnaresh Sarwan, and Shivnarine Chanderpaul showed their class and character with the willow.

Lara scored 60 runs while Sarwan and Chanderpaul hammered 105 and 104 runs respectively. The exploits by the middle-order resulted in West Indies chasing the highest-ever target in Test history, 418. West Indies created history on May 13, 2004, and it continues to be the highest successful chase in Test cricket’s history.

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