3rd Test

West Indies v Australia, 2011-12

Daniel Brettig


Matthew Wade is ecstatic after hitting the boundary to reach his century, West Indies v Australia, 3rd Test, Roseau, 2nd day, April 24, 2012
Matthew Wade's maiden Test hundred helped Australia win the series 2-0 © AFP
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At Roseau, Dominica, April 23-27, 2012. Australia won by 75 runs. Toss: Australia.

A match originally scheduled for Guyana, then taken away by the West Indies Cricket Board because of political interference in the country's own board, proved a mixed blessing for the people of Dominica, whose celebrations at their compatriot Shane Shillingford's ten-wicket haul were cut short by Australia's series-clinching victory. Not since 1966 had a West Indies spinner taken ten or more in a Test, prompting discussion that Shillingford - the first Dominican to play a Test at home - would join former seamer Norbert Phillip and umpire Billy Doctrove in having his name attached to one of Windsor Park's stands. But the main plaudits were Australia's, as they again overcame unfamiliar conditions and a determined opposition to secure a 2-0 triumph.

They owed their win largely to a startling century from Wade, who pushed Australia's first innings to heights West Indies were unable to reach. A total of 328 had looked distant on the first afternoon, as Shillingford found bounce and quick turn to follow up the recalled Rampaul's second-over defeat of Cowan. Hands that had crept lower and lower over several weeks were now stung by off-breaks and top-spinners that leapt on to the gloves,creating chances that Sammy and his fellow close fielders claimed with glee.

Australia were in trouble at 169 for seven after Roach chipped in with the wicket of Harris, but they regathered ground through Starc, who had replaced the injured Pattinson, before Wade converted his overnight 22 into something special on the second morning. His first 50 occupied a sturdy 110 balls, his second - including three sixes, two in succession off Shillingford - a breakneck 33. Partnerships of 57 with Starc, then 102 for the ninth wicket with Hilfenhaus (who eventually became Shillingford's sixth victim), almost doubled the score, and knocked West Indies near-senseless.

Their reply was immediately unsteadied by the loss of Brathwaite, caught up in a poor run that would cost him a place on the tour of England. After a brief rally by Barath and Powell, Lyon struck twice before Warner produced a perfect leg-break to dispose of Bravo. At 120 for eight, West Indies were in danger of following on and, although Chanderpaul - who batted nearly four hours - added 66 with Rampaul and 32 with Roach, the eventual deficit of 110 still felt decisive.

Cowan and Ponting - Australia's least prolific batsmen of the series - built on the advantage with a pair of blue-collar half-centuries, while Shillingford completed his ten-wicket haul and Roach continued to harry the batsmen. But a target of 370 was well beyond the ambitions of any team on a turning pitch, let alone of a West Indies side prone to collapse.

Sure enough, they made another deflating start. Hilfenhaus nabbed Barath with swing and bounce, before Clarke chose the right moment for the most substantial bowling stint of his captaincy so far. Noting that Lyon was flagging a little, Clarke whirred his slow left-armers into the pitch and was soon spinning it enough to confound Brathwaite, Powell and, pivotally, Chanderpaul, who had earlier become only the tenth batsman - and the second West Indian, after Brian Lara - to pass 10,000 Test runs. But he fell on referral to what became the final ball of the fourth day after initially surviving a shout for leg-before.

Australia had used the system far more shrewdly than West Indies throughout, prompting their coach Ottis Gibson to complain in Trinidad about its use by the umpires. An ICC fine swiftly followed.

The final day of the series promised little, but ultimately offered up a microcosm of all the cricket that had preceded it. West Indies fought doughtily, but without ever suggesting they were going to win. Sammy's 51-ball 61 at least provided rich entertainment for another bountiful crowd, before Clarke - with his second Test five-for, more than seven years after the first - and Lyon mopped up. For West Indies there was a sense of recurring themes. They had pushed India in similar fashion in two series the previous year, but seemed not much wiser for having done so.

Man of the Match: M. S. Wade. Man of the Series: S. Chanderpaul.

Close of play: First day, Australia 212-7 (Wade 22, Starc 24); Second day, West Indies 165-8 (Chanderpaul 34, Rampaul 24); Third day, Australia 200-6 (Hussey 17, Harris 4); Fourth day, West Indies 173-5 (Deonarine 11).

© John Wisden & Co.