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The Guardian - AU
The Guardian - AU
Geoff Lemon

Australia beat West Indies by 419 runs in second Test, retain Frank Worrell Trophy 2-0

Australian players celebrate the wicket of West Indies wicketkeeper Joshua de Silva (left) on the fourth day of the second Test in Adelaide.
Australian players celebrate the wicket of West Indies wicketkeeper Joshua de Silva (left) on the fourth day of the second Test in Adelaide. Photograph: James Elsby/AP

Australia retained the Frank Worrell Trophy 2-0 in comprehensive style at Adelaide Oval, bowling out West Indies for 77 before evening had arrived on the fourth day. It was the lowest score West Indies had been dismissed for in Australia, the tourists conceding the second Test by 419 runs. After at least showing good resistance with the bat in Perth, there was no repeat in Adelaide even with two of Australia’s first-choice bowlers missing.

That bench strength was the most impressive part of the win, with something for everybody on the Australian side. Scott Boland had already had his signature Boland moment the evening before, knocking off three West Indies batters in the space of an over before Mitchell Starc added another. Resuming on day four at 38 for four, still 459 runs behind, there was nowhere for the visiting team to hide. It was just a question of how long they could fight.

Starc was the first to enjoy success, drawing Devon Thomas into a drive with the left-armer’s angle across the right-hander. The edge was safely caught behind, Thomas out for 11. There was no batting error to blame for the second wicket though, with pace and Starc’s signature inswing bending it back into Jason Holder on 12 and through his defence to hit the top of middle stump. It was purely Starc doing what he does so well, as he extended his world-leading record with the pink ball to 61 wickets at 18.16 runs, taking fewer than six overs for each one.

West Indies wicketkeeper Joshua da Silva and spinning all-rounder Roston Chase did try to apply themselves, seeing off Starc and batting through 10 overs to make it past the drinks break. But then it was Michael Neser’s turn, thanks to some good thinking from Alex Carey. With Chase batting out of his crease to counter Neser’s style of bowling, Carey chose to keep wicket up at the stumps. Neser is not the fastest of bowlers, but at consistently above 130 km/h this was no small challenge.

With Chase having to rejig his approach, he played across the line of a ball and edged it hard into Carey’s shoulder, the Australian keeper somehow adjusting his body position to deflect the ball towards the middle of his chest where he was able to grab it with one glove. Electing to remain at the stumps, Carey added another fine catch in the same over after da Silva pushed at the ball to offer a more conventional outside edge. Chase was out for 13, da Silva 15, West Indies 76 for eight.

The Carey-Neser nexus claimed a third wicket to end the match, Carey standing back this time as the injured No 11 Marquino Mindley edged off the back foot. In between times though, Nathan Lyon had his moment, the spinner adding career wicket 450 for Australia in Tests. The manner was emblematic of West Indies surrender, Alzarri Joseph charging down and aiming a huge swipe at a ball that was spun hard and turned sharply past his inside to bowl him. But it was another minor milestone for Lyon as he marches on towards 500 wickets and perhaps many more.

Having just turned 35, Lyon has now played Australia’s last 90 Test matches straight. He could add 14 more by the end of next July if health permits, and on the evidence of the last couple of weeks he is bowling as well as ever. The upcoming tour to India will present its own challenges, but Lyon has found ways to succeed on those shores before and is well placed for another attempt. It should be fun to watch when it comes around.

Assignment one ticked for Australia. There was little expectation that the current West Indies team had the quality to challenge in these conditions, but having a team firing ahead of the upcoming South Africa series is important. There are currently no question marks over the first 11 places in the national side, nor in the reserve bowling ranks. Patrick Cummins and Josh Hazlewood will almost certainly return at the earliest opportunity, while Starc may be given a break at some stage but will not want one unless fitness insists. For them all, attention now turns to Brisbane for the first South Africa Test beginning on Friday.

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