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Australia pummel West Indies inside three days

January 19, 2024 08:46 IST
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IMAGE: Josh Hazlewood celebrates a wicket with team-mates during the first Test against West Indies at the Adelaide Oval. Photographs: ICC/X

Josh Hazlewood finished with a nine-wicket match haul as world champions Australia crushed a depleted West Indies by 10 wickets inside seven sessions of the opening Test in the two-match series at the Adelaide Oval on Friday.


Usman Khawaja was forced to retire hurt after being struck in the head by West Indies debutant quick Shamar Joseph with one run required for victory and Marnus Labuschagne got the home side over the line off the second ball he faced.

A handy first-innings lead of 95 had put the hosts in charge of the low-scoring contest and their victory was merely a matter of time after Hazlewood, who claimed 5/35 in the second innings, blew away the West Indies top order on Thursday.

West Indies followed their first innings 188 with another below-par total of 120, losing their last four wickets for 47 runs on Friday morning, which left Australia needing 26 to go 1-0 up in the two-Test series.

The home side knocked off the target in 6.4 overs to triumph inside three days and cement their position at the top of the World Test Championship (WTC) standings.

"Great Test match, good to have it over in three days," Australia captain Pat Cummins said.

"It was a wicket where you felt like you were a ball away from nicking it. Don't think anyone even got over a fifty for us except Trav," he said referring to player-of-the-match Travis Head, who smashed the match's only individual hundred.

West Indies have not won a Test Down Under since 1997 and few expected that winless streak to end after they arrived with a weakened squad.

The Caribbean side fielded three debutants after their best all-rounders, Jason Holder and Kyle Mayers, skipped the series opting to play in lucrative Twenty20 leagues instead.

Australia had no such concerns though and hometown hero Head once again proved his worth in the middle order by smashing a rapid 119 in the first innings that made all the difference.

Thoroughly outplayed, West Indies may prefer to look at the silver lining having unearthed a future match-winner in Shamar Joseph, who dazzled in his Test debut.

The 24-year-old fast bowler from Guyana smashed 36 at number 11, their second highest individual score in the first innings, and followed it with a five-wicket haul in his maiden Test.

"Bowlers did well to bowl out Australia inside 300, but our batters did not get going," rued West Indies skipper Kraigg Brathwaite.

"As batsmen, it is good for guys to get a feel of playing (Test) cricket and what it is like to play the number one team. It is about learning how to score and how to put away the bad ball."

The second and final Test in Brisbane, a day-night affair, begins on Thursday.

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