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South Africa fight back after Walsh reaches landmark

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, March 19 (AFP) - South Africa were rocked by a burst in which Courtney Walsh took his 500th Test wicket before fighting back on the third day of the second Test against the West Indies at the Queens Park Oval here on Monday.

South Africa were 130 for two at the end of the third day, an overall lead of 74, with Herschelle Gibbs unbeaten on 57 - his second half-century of the series - and first innings centurion Daryll Cullinan was on 41.

Walsh, who was 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 at 38 for two.

That left the tourists still 18 behind after a fighting 93 not out by wicketkeeper Ridley Jacobs had taken West Indies to a 56-run first innings lead.

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 test debut in 1982 against Australia and didn't even get to bowl in the first innings of that match, leapt in the air as umpire Darrell Hair gave Kallis out, then ran down the wicket with arms raised in triumph.

But Gibbs and Cullinan shared an unbroken 92-run stand to make honours even again in a Test where fortunes have constantly fluctuated.

Gibbs was dropped on 32 when Ramnaresh Sarwan dived but could not hold a scorching coverdrive off Nixon McLean.

Gibbs went on to complete his half-century after batting for 169 minutes, facing 133 balls and hitting nine fours.

It redressed the balance of another dramatic day in a hard-fought Test match after West Indies had dominated the first two sessions.

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 Walsh was run out after a mix-up as he tried to feed Jacobs the strike.

South African captain Shaun Pollock broke the stumps to run out Walsh after fielding a throw from Ntini.

Frustrated by the stout tailend resistance he threw the ball angrily into the turf and it bounced into Jacobs back, though Pollock immediately apologised.

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

A West Indies lead did not seem likely when 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 reach 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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