Australia triumph despite Barath ton
Adrian Barath became the youngest West Indian to score a Test century, but his outstanding solo rescue act on debut was wasted as they slumped to an-innings-and-65-run defeat. Barath, who is 19 and the tiniest player on the field, dwarfed and embarrassed his high-profile team-mates with a 104 that could not cover up for the rest of them.
West Indies were dismissed for 228 before lunch and then toppled for 187 after losing 15 for 280 in 76.1 overs of a horrible third day. The only bright spot for the visitors - and it was almost blinding - came from the opener Barath, who gave a glimpse into the future in the Caribbean with a stunning display that wowed the crowd.
When Barath was out he had scored 68% of his side's runs, showing heart, fight and style. His elders in the dressing-room enclosure were also amazed by Barath's performance while wondering how they could have been so poor.
Ricky Ponting had enforced the follow-on for only the third time in his 63-match captaincy career and the decision, with help from a well-rounded attack, earned the side two days off. Needing 252 to force a second Australian innings, West Indies started so badly that they were 3 for 39 and had already lost their two main men in Chris Gayle and Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
Gayle went lbw to the excellent Ben Hilfenhaus in similar circumstances to his dismissal on the second day, with his call for a review not changing the decision. Travis Dowlin, one of four batsmen dismissed twice in the day, was in good touch after 62 in the first innings, but he left when playing-on and Chanderpaul felt compelled to pull, top edging to Simon Katich behind square leg. The wickets gave Hilfenhaus 3 for 20, he wasn't required for the rest of the innings and gained the Man-of-the-Match award.
Barath was taking on the impossible task of saving the game and stood up to his big-name opponents with a spirited innings that included 19 fours in only 137 balls. It was an incredible birth of a young talent who was playing on a pitch with surprising bounce and an attack that aimed at him from all directions.
In the first innings Barath scored 15 and followed up with a display that gained in confidence the longer it went on. He had so much faith in his ability that when he was given out lbw to Shane Watson he called for West Indies' second review himself. He still had to go - the ball hit under the knee roll and was heading into the edge of leg stump - as Ian Gould's original decision stood because there was no convincing evidence to suggest a change in judgment.
Barath can drive purposely through cover and powerfully off the back foot on the off side, while he was also happy to show a full blade when defending. In one over he punched Mitchell Johnson for four through point, picked up a boundary to mid-off and then blocked another in the middle of his wide bat. There were flashes as well as maturity and he brought up his half-century with a cut over gully off Peter Siddle, lifting his bat with satisfaction.
He drove Hauritz through point and cover in the same over and went to 97 with a pulled boundary off Johnson and a thick edge through the cordon. Watson came on, Barath missed a cut shot and yelled himself a reprimand before bringing up the century with a square drive behind point. He ran down the pitch and jumped while raising both arms to his team-mates and the supporters who stood and admired. They repeated the cheers when he walked off with his bat pointing to the sky in Watson's following over, knowing they had seen someone special.
There was little else for West Indies to cheer. Dwayne Bravo (23) pulled the part-timer Michael Hussey to Hilfenhaus at deep backward square to give the bowler his second Test wicket. It was an awful shot at a bad time - the last over before tea - and left his side in more trouble. Hauritz trapped Brendan Nash (7) with a quicker one and Jerome Taylor holed out first ball hooking Watson to the same place as Bravo.
Denesh Ramdin was caught behind cutting at Hauritz and Kemar Roach, who was hit in the helmet by Watson, was captured in the gully by Hussey after being roughed up by Siddle. When Ravi Rampaul glanced Johnson and was taken down the legside by a diving Brad Haddin the game was over.
The first innings had ended at lunch with Johnson and Hauritz earning three wickets each as the final four batsmen went for 18 runs. Hauritz, who followed his maiden half-century with 3 for 17, stepped in with Taylor and Roach, who was taken one-handed by Michael Clarke at slip, in his first over of the morning. Dowlin faced the hat-trick ball with six men around the bat and danced down the pitch to loft him to midwicket for two, but was soon taken at deep midwicket following a heave to Watson.
Ramdin ensured a bright opening with 54 from 55 balls after West Indies resumed at 5 for 134, but nothing could stop them from careering towards defeat. Not even a brilliant entrance from Barath, a tiny player who has gained a huge reputation.
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo