West Indies fast bowler, Shamar Joseph had the dream start to his Test career. Receiving his cap from Ian Bishop at the famous Adelaide Oval on Day 1, Joseph went on to score 36 runs in a 55-run partnership with Kemar Roach for the 10th wicket in the first innings. He then emerged at the first change in the bowling attack and had Steve Smith caught at third slip on his maiden delivery by fellow debutant Justin Greaves in front of front of the home crowd.
Batting first, the West Indies were bowled out in the final session of Day 1 for 188 in 62.1 overs. The highlight of the innings was a maiden Test match half-century from Kirk McKenzie, who made exactly 50 runs from 94 balls, before falling to the skill of Josh Hazlewood (4-44). The debutant, Shamar Joseph (36 from 41 balls) to help stabilize the back end of the innings. Coming in at number 11, he resolved to counterattack the Australian bowlers hitting three 4’s and a memorable 6 off Hazlewood’s bowling, which the crowd seemed to be particularly impressed by.
Captain Pat Cummins (4-41) also picked up four wickets, with Mitchell Starc (1-37) and Nathan Lyon (1-36) rounding out the wickets.
The West Indies were able to put Australia under significant pressure when they came to bat, having them at 168-6 at one point. However, a fine innings by Travis Head (119 from 134) at his home ground, dug the home team out of a tough situation and shifted the momentum firmly in the Australians’ favour.
Shamar Joseph however managed to steal the show, picking up 5 wickets in his first-ever Test innings with the ball. Justin Greaves (2-36), also on debut, was able to pick up the two crucial wickets of Khawaja and Alex Carey (15 from 40). Newly appointed Vice-Captain, Alzarri Joseph, was the bowler who eventually removed Head from the wicket.
Batting at the end of Day 2, the West Indies were unable to put a significant score on the board for the Australia chase. McKenzie (26 from 35) looked in good form again, before driving one to the hands of cover and Greaves (24 from 37) also looked solid for a period. However, he lost his wicket at the end of the day.
Left with four wickets in hand at the start of Day 3, Australia were able to bowl out the Men in Maroon with only 26 runs to win the match. Josh Hazlewood (5-35), who picked up 4 wickets in a brilliant spell of fast bowling to close out Day 2, was able to get his name on the Honours board. Mitchell Starc (2-46) and Nathan Lyon (2-4) were also exceptional. The latter picked up the final wicket of the match, having S. Joseph (15 from 12) stumped.
Speaking at the post-match press conference, Kraigg Brathwaite was clear that his young team needs to be better with the bat to compete with the World Test Champions, stating,
“Bowling-wise, we did great, getting 10 wickets here in Australia under 300 runs, I think that was good. However, we can improve from there as well. Batting-wise, the top order didn’t get going. Kirk did well in the first innings, but we didn’t get the scores. That is what let us down in this test match.”
The show now moves to Brisbane, where the challenge of a day/night, pink ball Test match awaits both teams. The West Indies will be eager to perform well at the Gabba to draw the series, while the Australians will be looking at the prospect of winning the series 2-0.