At Roseau, Dominica, June 3-5, 2015. Australia won by nine wickets. Toss: West Indies. Test debuts: S. O. Dowrich; A. C. Voges.
For a time on the second day it appeared as though West Indies would, at the very least, make it difficult for Australia to win, and perhaps even emerge as winners themselves. The sharp spin extracted by Bishoo had confounded most of the batsmen: Smith was stumped, and a statuesque Haddin bowled by a ball that pitched outside leg before screwing back to strike the top of off. However, the long-awaited debutant, Western Australia and Middlesex captain Adam Voges, produced an innings of rare quality, and found willing allies down the order. An unbeaten 130 made him the oldest debut centurion in Test history.
The more travelled members of Australia's side were grateful, for until that point they had looked decidedly rusty. They had been unbalanced by the decision to rule out Chris Rogers because of concussion suffered at the hands of a local net bowler, Anderson Burton, and there was a patchiness about the Australian bowling on the first day that a better side might have exploited.
It was largely a combination of sharp fielding and poor batting that rounded up West Indies for 148 in the first two sessions: it was difficult to fathom that no one had passed 36 in the best batting conditions of the match. The absence of Shivnarine Chanderpaul was noticeable, with neither Samuels nor Bravo able to step up in the way Ramdin or the selectors had hoped. The muddle was symbolised by the stumps, which still carried the promotional stickers from West Indies' previous Test series, with "England" crossed out in blue marker pen.
Australia lost Warner in the third over to a Taylor delivery that leapt at his gloves and slipped to 126 for six before Voges intervened, with help from the tail. Because of the 12-hour time difference between Perth and Roseau, Voges' family had been informed of his selection before he was, so they could be filmed offering a message of support. Suitably fortified, he played with commendable patience to get used to a slow, turning pitch and testing bowling, before accelerating with some panache as he neared his hundred. He was on 77, and the total just 221, when joined by last man Hazlewood, who stuck around stubbornly to help put on a further 97. Bishoo, on his way to capturing the best Test figures for a West Indian leg-spinner, was unable to maintain his initial threat; a bruised and bloodied spinning finger meant he would miss the Second Test.
Voges' performance had an impact on the scoreboard, and also on West Indian morale. Faced with an unexpected deficit of 170, they were quickly in trouble at 37 for three. A determined stand of 144 between Samuels and the game's other debutant, Shane Dowrich of Barbados, raised hope of a meaningful fourth-innings target, but their dismissals signalled the start of a familiar batting slide; in all, six were out in single figures. The chief architects were Starc, near unplayable when he was able to swing the ball, and Hazlewood.
The Australians were able to dash off their target of 47 before the light worsened, and had retained the Frank Worrell Trophy inside three days. Clarke was under no illusions that the decisiveness of the margin obscured numerous kinks - namely, the consistency of the bowlers and the application of the batsmen. Ramdin was pointedly critical of Samuels for getting "sucked in": for all his resistance on day three, he had contrived to get out hooking in each innings.
Man of the Match: A. C. Voges.