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Jacobs is a real cracker as he puts West Indies 56 runs ahead

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, March 19 (AFP) - West Indian wicketkeeper Ridley Jacobs hit an unbeaten 93 and guided his team to a 56-run first innings lead on the third day of the second Test against South Africa at the Queens Park Oval here on Monday.

Jacobs, who was left stranded for the second time in his career just short of a maiden Test century after making 96 not out against Australia in Perth earlier in the season, and Mervyn Dillon put on 71 for the ninth wicket as the West Indies made 342.

Dillon was bowled by Makhaya Ntini for 21 in the last over before lunch but Courtney Walsh stayed with Jacobs while another 21 runs were added before Walsh was run out after a mix-up as he tried to feed Jacobs the strike.

A West Indies lead did not seem likely when South African captain Shaun Pollock bowled Dinanath Ramnarine with the sixth ball of the day without addition to the overnight total of 250 for seven.

But Jacobs, the West Indian vice-captain, played a typically pugnacious innings. He batted for 234 minutes, faced 177 balls and hit 12 fours. It was his sixth Test half-century.

The tall Dillon provided stoic support as the pair saw off South African strike bowlers Allan Donald and Pollock, who were operating with a ball which had been used for only nine overs when play started.

It was another impressive performance by Jacobs, who has been one of their more reliable batsmen in their recent dreadful run.

He topped the West Indies batting averages in their five-match series in South Africa in 1998/99 and enhanced a reputation for determined play with some impressive performances during a recent tour of Australia.

It was a frustrating morning for the South African bowlers on what has turned out to be a good batting pitch.

Ntini was the sixth bowler used during the day, finally getting through Dillons defences with a ball which kept a little low.

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