At Bridgetown, March 31, April 1, 2, Australia won by ten wickets. Toss: West Indies.
Australia swept to victory with two days to spare - West Indies' first three-day defeat for 30 years. The captain who beat them in 1964- 65, Bobby Simpson, now the Australian coach, followed the closing stages from hospital, after succumbing to a thrombosis in his left leg on the second day. It was only West Indies' third defeat at Bridgetown - but their second in successive seasons.
The tone of a pulsating, intense series was set early. The former Wisden editor John woodcock rated the first session one of the best mornings' play he had seen in six decades watching cricket. Australia's bare-boned pace attack, deprived of Fleming and McDermott, found a bouncy pitch at last and made the most of it. Julian and Reiffel reduced West Indies to six for three: Williams, Campbell and Richardson managed one run between them. It was the first of many occasions when they missed their bankable opening greats, Greenidge (retired) and Haynes (in dispute with the West Indies Board). But joyous Australian backslaps turned to pats of commiseration and concern as a withering counter attack by Lara and Hooper lifted West Indies to 116 without further loss at lunch. The tide turned so quickly that Warne had a long-on posted in the first hour.
The drama intensified in the afternoon, when Steve Waugh four times juggled a cut shot by Lara as it bobbled beneath his tumbling body. Television replays confirmed the ball had hit the ground but Lara, after loitering a few seconds, trudged off for the most controversial - and perhaps the decisive - moment of the tour. "If I had doubts I would not have claimed it," Waugh said later. "I have called players back before." Setting the pattern for the remaining Tests, Lara's dismissal started a slide that the meek lower order could not arrest. The enigmatic Julian, his form as flukey as a Caribbean breeze, paid his way for the series with four top-order victims - just the injection of self-belief the novice seam attack craved. All ten wickets were caught, nine of them off edges.
Nevertheless, Australia were eyeing a marginal advantage at 194 for five, before Healy scored a stubborn 74 not out in three hours. His stand of 60 with Julian was priceless when runs were trading for gold bars and set up a lead of 151. In reply, West Indies' second innings was another limp effort, with the highest score an unbeaten 39 from Adams. That left a target of only 39, which Taylor and Slater knocked off inside seven overs. McGrath, who had primed himself to be the attacking fist of Australia's bowling in McDermott's absence, took his first five-wicket haul in Tests. But nothing embodied Australia's determination more than Steve Waugh's glorious interception of Murray at mid-wicket - running towards the boundary, glaring skywards and snaring the ball as he dived, never taking his eye off it.
Man of the Match: G. D. McGrath.
Close of play: First day, Australia 91-2 (M. A. Taylor 42*, M. E. Waugh 5*); Second day, West Indies 13-0 (S. C. Williams 6*, S. L. Campbell 4*).