Roseau, Dominica: West Indies squandered a promising position, losing their last nine wickets for 85 runs to be dismissed for 148 in their first innings on the opening day of the first Test against Australia in Dominica on Wednesday.
Josh Hazlewood bowls during play on the first day of the first cricket Test match between Australia and the West Indies, June 3, 2015 at Windsor Park Stadium in Roseau, Dominica. Pic/AFP
At stumps, Australia were 85 for three in reply, the in-form Steve Smith and debutant Adam Voges set to resume on the second morning after the home bowlers battled hard to prevent the visitors from completely dominating day one. Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Johnson led the rout of the West Indies with three wickets each on a surface that held few terrors for the batsmen.
Fellow pacer Mitchell Starc chimed in with two scalps as the bowlers were complemented by excellence in the field, Australian captain Michael Clarke leading the way with three catches in the slip cordon. "We bowled well as a group today on a pitch that offered a bit of seam movement throughout the day," said Hazlewood. "I suppose I'm a bit luckier than the other guys who have just arrived as I got to play in that one warm-up match to help get accustomed to the conditions here."
West Indies skipper, Denesh Ramdin, may be regretting the decision to bat first on winning the toss but the continuous clatter of Caribbean wickets had as much to do with indisciplined batting as aggressive, persevering bowling. Ramdin himself was the seventh wicket to fall in the midst of the afternoon capitulation, a hopeful 30-run partnership with Jason Holder ended by the pace and accuracy of Johnson.
Despite an encouraging platform at 63 for one, the home slipped into deep trouble by losing five wickets for 28 runs either side of the lunch interval. Experienced left-hander Darren Bravo took 14 deliveries to get off the mark and was just getting into stride when an attempt to play a forcing shot through the off side produced an outside edge for Clarke to snare an excellent catch.
It gave Nathan Lyon his first wicket and left him three away from surpassing Hugh Trumble as Australia's most successful Test off-spinner ever. Shai Hope, Brathwaite's opening partner, played a few expansive drives but chased one wide delivery too many off Johnson for Marsh to take the diving catch at gully and send the batsman back to the pavilion for what proved to be the innings topscore of 36.
"We didn't make the most of the opportunity at all," said Hope. "The pitch is a bit slow but it's still decent to bat on. We'll have to be consistent with our lines and lengths tomorrow to stay in the match." Shane Dowrich was the first wicket to fall after lunch, playing on to Hazlewood, who then promptly removed Jermaine Blackwood to another Clarke catch.
Marlon Samuels, the most experienced West Indies player following the omission of Shivnarine Chanderpaul, played cautiously for 40 minutes only to fall to a top-edged hook off Starc for just seven, the irrepressible Hazlewood judging the catch well at fine leg. Voges, Australia's 11th oldest debutant in the traditional form of the game at the age of 35, had his moment of the day in taking an excellent diving catch to account for Jerome Taylor off the leg-spin of Smith, a day after the part-time bowler's 26th birthday.
It was Taylor who removed David Warner at the start of Australia's reply. Jason Holder accounted for Shaun Marsh and West Indies hopes were lifted further when Clarke edged an attempted cut off leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo into the gloves of Ramdin, giving the wicketkeeper his 200th dismissal in Test cricket.