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Walshs 500th puts West Indies on top

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, March 19 (AFP) - Courtney Walsh took his 500th Test wicket as the West Indies staged a dramatic turnaround on the third day of the second Test against South Africa at the Queens Park Oval here on Monday.

South Africa were 43 for two in their second innings at tea, still 13 behind, after Ridley Jacobs guided West Indies to a surprise first innings lead with an unbeaten 93.

Walsh, playing in his 129th test match which is also a record for a specialist bowler, took two wickets in three balls to become the first man to take 500 Test wickets - at an overall average of 24.67 runs - and plunge South Africa into trouble.

Gary Kirsten was caught behind for 22, attempting a cut, and two balls later Jacques Kallis became Walshs 500th victim when he was lbw to a ball which cut back at him.

Walsh, who made his debut back in 1982 against Australia, ran down the pitch with his arms raised in triumph and was engulfed by his teammates.

It was yet another record for a player whose achievements owe as much to stamina as they do to natural ability.

Although he hasnt officially announced his retirement, it is accepted that the series against South Africa will be his last.

Jacobs and Mervyn Dillon put on 71 for the ninth wicket as West Indies made 342 after it had seemed South Africa would hold an advantage on the first innings.

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

It was the second time in his career that Jacobs had been stranded just short of a maiden Test century - he made 96 not out against Australia in Perth earlier in the season.

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 to record his sixth test half-century as he batted for 234 minutes, faced 177 balls and hit 12 fours.

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 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.

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