Australia has demolished the West Indies by 177 runs in the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to retain the Frank Worrell Trophy.
From the Boxing Day start, in front of 50,000 fans, Australia did its best to entertain.
David Warner went early – caught off a self-confessed “silly shot” on 23, which included three glorious consecutive boundaries – but the Aussies powered ahead to score 3/551 before captain Steve Smith declared. Joe Burns, the returning Usman Khawaja, Smith and Adam Voges each scored centuries.
The West Indies batsmen then collapsed in a heap as Australia’s bowlers took control to leave the tourists reeling at 6/91 by close of play on day two. Day three saw some spirited resistance from Darren Bravo and Carlos Brathwaite, who restored some West Indian pride by the time the innings finished at 271. Top bowlers were James Pattinson (who ended with six wickets for the match) spinner Nathan Lyon (named Man of the Match) and Peter Siddle.
Smith chose to rest his bowlers rather than enforce the follow on. By close of play the Aussies had rushed to 3/179 – with Australia declaring overnight. Smith’s match figures, 134 not out and 70 not out, ensured he led the world table for 2015, with an aggregate of 1474 test runs (including six centuries and five 50s) at an average of 73.7. (Alastair Cook and Joe Root both had a chance to overtake him but failed to capitalise in their test against South Africa at Kingsmead oval in Durban.)
Day four started with the West Indies needing 460 to win and two days to make the runs – or defy the Australian attack. Pattinson, Siddle, Mitchell Marsh and Josh Hazlewood dug in through the day as the visitors provided some stubborn resistance, seemingly driven at long last by pride. The attack was repeatedly frustrated – several “wickets” were lost to no balls – but proved irresistible, and the West Indies fell for 282 runs off 88.3 balls. Marsh took four wickets on the final day to crush the visitors’ spirit. West Indies captain Jason Holder was the team’s top scorer on the day with 68 runs.
The third Test starts at Sydney Cricket Ground on January 3. With the series win secured, Australia’s next challenge will be the one-day series against India, starting late in January. – Jesse Mullens
Top photo of the Australian Cricket team from the Cricket Australia Twitter feed.