Australia completed a convincing nine-wicket victory over West Indies at Roseau on Friday, just a day after them recovered from a precarious position to take the lead. Resuming at 25 for 2, the hosts lost Darren Bravo early but a partnership of 144 between Marlon Samuels and Shane Dowrich brought them back in the match. West Indies’ affinity to collapse however again let them down. They lost their last six wickets for merely 27 runs, leaving Australia a meagre target of 47, which they chased down with ease in five overs.
On a day that so all kinds of drama, West Indies lost just one wicket each in the first two sessions, but then went on to lose six wickets in the last. Bravo was held at mid-off by a diving David Warner for 5, as West Indies found themselves in further trouble at 37 for 3. An early finish seemed on the cards, but Samuels and Dowrich had other ideas, and held the innings together very well, displaying a lot of patience and grit. When they were at the crease, it seemed the match would be heading into day 4, with the hosts getting a decent lead.
Samuels and Dowrich batted with maturity, rotating the strike and not taking many risks. They did not take much chances either. It was only when they got their eye in that they attacked Nathan Lyon, that too not going all out. Samuels hit a four and six off the spinner as he progressed towards his fifty while Dowrich got there by by pulling Mitchell Johnson for four. At 181 for 3, West Indies were in a reasonable position to push forward for a decent lead, but this is when the game turned.
On 70, Dowrich drove Josh Hazlewood straight into the hands of short mid-on. Post lunch, Jermaine Blackwood was stumped off Lyon’s bowling as he missed a full toss. The big blow came when Samuels top-edged Johnson to fine-leg for 74. Skipper Denesh Ramdin failed again, playing on to Lyon on 3. Jerome Taylor was lbw first ball to Mitchell Starc. The left-arm seamer then cleaned up Devendra Bishoo and Shannon Gabriel off consecutive deliveries as West Indies were bowled out for 216 in 86 overs.
The chase was a breeze for Australia. Warner took a four and six off Taylor’s first over, and then hit Gabriel for a maximum as well. Warner raced to 28 from 19 balls before being caught in the slip the next delivery. Shaun Marsh and Steven Smith completed the formalities as Australia retained the Frank Worrell trophy.
--By A Cricket Correspondent