Australia has prevailed in the first test of the summer, defeating the West Indies by 164 runs after an enthralling Day Five.
It was Nathan Lyon’s day as the spinners dominated the fourth innings, bowling out the West Indies to 333. The win means Australia has retained the Frank – Worrell Trophy with one match to play in the two-match series.
Here are the moments that mattered on Day Five in Perth.
West Indies’ key hopes die with captain Kraigg’s departure
After starting the day’s play on 101 and needing to build a big score to have a chance at either chasing the mammoth total set by the Australians or saving the game, Braithwaite’s dismissal early in the final day was a telling moment early in the day.
Seeing Mayers dismissed in the first few overs of the morning made the visitors’ captain tighten up his stance and fall exactly into the trap set by Lyon. After five hours at the crease, he played around Lyon’s delivery that crashed into his stumps and sent him walking.
It exposed the middle order who looked uncomfortable in the first innings, Braithwaite was the pick of the West Indian batters in the first test. Showing his longevity in the side, he has scored the last 11 centuries from West Indian openers and will be hoping to have more help in Adelaide.
Travis Head gets his first at home
Head claimed his first Test wicket on home soil, finding the edge of Jason Holder to take the visitors to 6-216. It wasn’t long before he’d doubled his tally to break the frustrating eight-wicket partnership that was tormenting the Australian bowlers.
His second was a beautiful delivery that drifted just enough in the air and straightened to take the off-stump of Alzarri Joseph. Head replaced Lyon who couldn’t get the breakthrough and broke the partnership in his first over of the new spell.
Finishing with 2-25 off his eight overs, Head’s bowling has improved considerably over the year and building into another trusty part-time option for Pat Cummins and co.
New ball gets to work quickly again
The new ball gave the quicks their only wicket off the day, and Josh Hazlewood returned to the attack to make the most of the fresh Kookaburra.
It was redemption for what was a luckless test for Hazlewood, who put on one of his best bowling displays in recent memory, yet only finished with two wickets for the match. He beat the bat on countless occasions and was kept out of the scorebook by what could only be described as bad luck.
He’ll be eager to turn his fortunes around in Adelaide with the pink ball under lights while Australia looks to continue their dominance in the Day-Night format.
Head breaks win-denying partnership finally broken
The 82-run partnership frustrated the Australian team and their fans alike. Roston Chase and Alzarri Joseph dug in for the eight-wicket partnership and gave the visitors their best hope at a draw since the opening stand.
Not only were the pair staying and looking comfortable, but they were also proactively scoring runs and not letting the bowlers dictate the situation. For moments they looked to be in control of parts of the innings before being quickly reminded of their tail-ender status.
After almost 20 overs of turmoil and frustration, a brilliant and defiant stand came to an end at the hands of Travis Head.
Lyon makes it five late in the day
The fourth innings and Nathan Lyon taking wickets, a pairing that has delighted Australian fans for more than a decade. He made the most of the dry pitch in Perth on his way to the 21st five-wicket haul of his career.
Taking his career tally to 446, Australia’s greatest-ever off-spinner was instrumental in the late victory. He dismissed Roston Chase to claim his fifth, who had frustrated him for the best part of two hours.
Finishing with 6-128, he would’ve been close to the man of the match if not for Labuschagne’s historical performance. Lyon now has his sights set on his home ground of Adelaide to help Australia sweep the test series.
He currently sits level with newly elevated Australian Sports hall of fame Legend Shane Warne with 56 test wickets at the Adelaide oval and will almost certainly pass him to take sole ownership of the record.
Victory in the first Test of the summer
Lyon made it two in two balls to bring the match to a close and secure victory for Australia, a golden duck for Kemar Roach who is battling with a thigh issue and may miss the next test. However, it didn’t stop the Australian celebrations, finding a result in a match that looked penciled in for a draw early on day three.
A bowling attack that was missing Pat Cummins managed to get the job done, the spinning duo of Lyon and Head made batting tough for the visitors, and eventually won out. A spirited performance all around but the match resulted in the way many predictions would have guessed.
Man of the match honours for Marnus Labuschagne, no surprises as he became just the eighth man to score both a century and a double century in the same match. Lyon was unlucky to miss out after his six-wicket effort in the final innings.
With the Frank Worrell trophy retained for another series, Australia will be looking to sweep the series in the second and final test, while the Windies will hope to jag a result as outsiders.
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