|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Shop||Mobile|
The Bulletin by Anand Vasu
November 21, 2005
Australia sealed a nine-wicket win well before lunch on the final day and retained the Frank Worrell Trophy by taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in this Test series. Matthew Hayden, who became the first batsman in the history of the game to score 1000 runs in a calendar year in five consecutive years, and Michael Hussey, ensured there was no fuss as they raced towards the target of 78.
Even on the final day, the pitch at the Bellerive Oval was perfect for batting. The ball came through to the bat at an even pace and there was little wear and tear on the pitch. West Indies' bowlers tried to keep a steady line and length, but with both Australian openers taking no chances, there was really no way of snaffling a breakthrough. Hayden, who has now scored four centuries in as many Tests, helped himself to 46 and levelled the scores, before trying to finish the game off with a big hit, holing out to cover off Chris Gayle. Hayden had played many confident strokes, including a powerful pull off the front foot and a booming cover-drive that simply raced to the fence. Hussey was very much the junior partner, chipping, driving and whittling away to 31 at his end.
But West Indies will feel no shame at picking up only one second-innings wicket. They would count themselves lucky to just be out on the park on the fifth day. They let themselves - and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, their captain - down very badly when they were bowled out for just 149 on the first day after winning the toss and choosing to bat. After that, they were constantly playing catch up through the course of the game. On the second day an impossibly good partnership of 231 between Hayden and Hussey ensured that Australia were well place to carve a path to victory.
West Indies' bowlers then forced their way back into the game, picking up a heap of Australian middle-order wickets, and restricting the lead to 257. In the end, though, even this proved to be too many. It was only a mesmerising 182-run seventh-wicket partnership between the inexperienced Dwayne Bravo and Denesh Ramdin - they've played just 12 Tests between them - that secured a slender lead of 77 after the top order failed yet again.
Going into the fifth day needing just 78, Australia were never in danger of losing the game. They scored at an even pace - the 50-partnership coming in just over 100 balls at a rate of three runs-per-over - and cruised to victory.
Matthew Hayden c Dwayne Smith b Gayle 46 (1 for 77)
Holed out to cover trying to finish the game off with a big hit
Also, most brothers in a Test XI, and the fastest to 20 ODI centuries
The gap between the haves and the have-nots is growing wider, and the disenchantment is forcing a devaluation of Test cricket among weaker teams
Zulfiqar Babar missed five seasons between his first two first-class matches, and was 34 when he finally made his Test debut, but he is quickly making up for all the lost time with his artful left-arm spin
Out of 70 batsmen who've scored 15 or more Test hundreds only five are from Pakistan, but Younis Khan's appetite for hundreds matches that of some of the top contemporary batsmen
Surviving into the final session of the last day cannot disguise the fact that Australia's continued inability to play spin contributed to an all-round thrashing
The offspinner was Australia's highest wicket-taker in 2013, but his form has dipped sharply this year
The rate at which Amla has accumulated ODI hundreds and MoM awards is among the fastest in history. And his runs-per-innings figure is easily the best of the lot