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.
|1st innings||2nd innings||3rd innings||4th innings|
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.
|Team||Runs scored||Dismissals||Runs per wkt lost||Balls per wkt lost|
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.
|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.
|Team||Wickets||Average||Strike rate||Runs per over|
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.
|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