Relentless Australia defeat one-man army

S Rajesh

Shivnarine Chanderpaul was immense throughout the series, but even he couldn’t prevent a 2-0 series defeat © Getty Images

Despite spirited resistance from West Indies throughout the three-Test series, Australia ultimately wrapped up a 2-0 result, with their 87-run win in Barbados giving them their 50th Test victory against West Indies, and their sixth win in the last seven series between the two teams. It also improved Australia’s overseas win-loss record to 28-8 since 2000; since the 2005 Ashes in England, they have won seven out of eight Tests abroad.

For West Indies, meanwhile, it was hardly the washout that some might have feared before the series began. Shivnarine Chanderpaul was a colossus throughout, finishing with an aggregate of 442, 119 more than Ricky Ponting, Australia’s highest run-getter. He also faced 1000 balls in the series, becoming only the third West Indian, after Brian Lara (against Sri Lanka in 2001-02) and Jimmy Adams (against India in 1994-95) to play 1000 or more deliveries in a three-Test series. West Indies also put up an impressive fight on the last day in Barbados when chasing an improbable 475: the 387 they ended up with is the highest fourth-innings score in 44 Tests at the Kensington Oval. Since 1990, only six times have teams scored more than that in the last innings. It continued a surprising recent trend for West Indies – in the last year and a half, their batting performance in the fourth innings has been much better than in the first three.

West Indies average runs per wicket in Tests since 2007
1st innings 2nd innings 3rd innings 4th innings
26.92 28.68 23.27 38.69

Though West Indies put up a fair show, the difference between the two sides was pretty significant: Australia scored ten runs more per wicket, and faced 16 more deliveries per dismissal.

WI and Aus in the three-Test series
Team Runs scored Dismissals Runs per wkt lost Balls per wkt lost
Australia 2011 48 41.89 74.21
West Indies 1724 55 31.34 58.64

The partnership stats for each team indicates one of the biggest differences between the two teams – lower-order batting. Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Xavier Marshall were superb with the bat, but the rest were far too patchy. West Indies also tended to crumble once they lost half their side – the total runs scored, on an average, by the last five wickets was a paltry 72.60, with just one half-century stand. Denesh Ramdin was one of the prominent lower-order failures, managing a mere 66 runs in six innings. Australia, on the other hand, had seven fifty-plus stands for the last five wickets, which added almost 169 to the total. Andrew Symonds, Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin had crucial hands in ensuring that the lower order did not crumble after half the team had been dismissed. The one disappointment was Michael Hussey, who had the worst series of his Test career.

Chanderpaul and Dwayne Bravo were the most prolific pair in the series, putting together 393 runs at 65.50. The next two slots belonged to Australians, though, with Simon Katich figuring in both, in partnership with Phil Jaques and Ponting.

Partnerships for each wicket
Wicket Aus – ave stand 100/ 50 p’ships WI – ave stand 100/ 50 p’ships
First 67.00 1/ 1 33.83 0/ 2
Second 59.00 1/ 2 36.83 0/ 1
Third 38.83 1/ 0 23.00 0/ 1
Fourth 37.83 1/ 1 88.00 3/ 1
Fifth 19.50 0/ 0 45.16 1/ 2
Sixth 65.60 0/ 4 19.20 0/ 0
Seventh 40.25 0/ 2 15.80 0/ 1
Eighth 43.00 0/ 1 16.20 0/ 0
Ninth 7.00 0/ 0 11.60 0/ 0
Tenth 13.00 0/ 0 9.80 0/ 0

West Indies’ batting revolved around Chanderpaul, who scored a quarter of his team’s runs; Australia’s top run-getter, Ponting, only scored 16% of his side’s runs. Sarwan was the only other West Indian who topped 200 in the series, while the Australian line-up had four batsmen who went past 200, and six who averaged more than 40.

Australia also handily won the battle of the fast bowlers. Stuart Clark and Brett Lee were outstanding, while Mitchell Johnson managed ten wickets as well. Fidel Edwards was superb for West Indies, with 15 wickets at 25, but Daren Powell was a huge disappointment, taking just six wickets at 61 apiece.

Comparing the fast bowlers
Team Wickets Average Strike rate Runs per over
Australia 41 25.34 51.71 2.94
West Indies 42 37.04 68.24 3.25

Player v player
Chanderpaul was one West Indian batsman who conquered both Lee and Clark, Australia’s two best bowlers in the series. Sarwan didn’t fall to Lee even once, but Clark clearly had the better of him, dismissing him thrice at the cost of 56 runs. Despite bowling some fiery spells to the West Indian top order, Lee came off second-best against them, conceding 183 to Chanderpaul, Sarwan and Xavier Marshall – their three best batsmen – for just one wicket. Against Bravo he had far more success, though – three wickets at the cost of only 36 runs. Edwards was superb against Australia’s top-order left-hand batsmen, but failed to replicate those numbers against the right-hand batsmen. Bravo enjoyed his battles against Stuart MacGill and Beau Casson, but came a cropper against the pace of Lee, Clark and Johnson.

Batsman Bowler Runs Balls Dismissals Average
Ramnaresh Sarwan Stuart Clark 56 142 3 18.67
Dwayne Bravo Stuart Clark 15 55 1 15.00
Shivnarine Chanderpaul Stuart Clark 66 167 1 66.00
Shivnarine Chanderpaul Brett Lee 87 208 1 87.00
Ramnaresh Sarwan Brett Lee 50 72 0
Xavier Marshall Brett Lee 46 73 0
Dwayne Bravo Brett Lee 36 69 3 12.00
Simon Katich Fidel Edwards 69 118 3 23.00
Phil Jaques Fidel Edwards 53 108 3 17.67
Symonds, Ponting, Clarke Fidel Edwards 145 199 1 145.00
Ricky Ponting Jerome Taylor 38 63 3 12.67
Dwayne Bravo Aus spinners 131 224 1 131.00
Dwayne Bravo Aus fast bowlers 59 178 5 11.80

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo

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