MELBOURNE – Mitchell Marsh took four wickets as Australia wrapped up an easy 177-run win over the West Indies on the fourth day of the second Test in Melbourne to secure a series victory with one Test to go.
All-rounder Marsh made the two biggest breakthroughs after the West Indies middle order briefly threatened to do something special at the MCG today, and he wrapped up victory with the final wicket just before the end of day four.
The West Indies had been set 460 for victory by an Australia declaration at the end of Monday’s play and opener Kraigg Brathwaite batted enterprisingly and untroubled at the start of the innings to give his side early momentum.
He scored 31 to dominate an opening stand of 35 with Rajendra Chandika, but then tried to cut away a turning delivery from man-of-the-match Nathan Lyon and only found Australia captain Steven Smith at slip.
Darren Bravo joined the becalmed Chandika and the pair took the score up to 83 before the second wicket fell, Bravo edging a Peter Siddle ball through to wicketkeeper Peter Nevill on 21.
Chandika reached his highest Test score of 37 in his sixth innings before he was trapped in front by James Pattinson soon after, and when the disappointing Marlon Samuels on 19 became Marsh’s first victim it appeared another West Indies collapse was underway. Samuels had made a duck in the first innings and after a sequence of failures could find his place in the Sydney Test under threat.
Jermaine Blackwood made 20 before being given leg before off the bowling of Lyon (3-85), but the West Indies sixth wicket proved the toughest for Australia to claim as Denesh Ramdin and captain Jason Holder scored freely.
They eventually put on 100 in just over 20 overs before Ramdin departed on 59 to a delightful delivery from Marsh, which straightened and caught his outside edge on the way through to Nevill. Ramdin, who was replaced by Holder as captain, and whose batting has been a major let-down since, batted just over two hours during which he struck eight boundaries. His wicket fell with the score on 250 in the 79th over and the innings then quickly went into terminal decline.
Carlos Brathwaite fell in the next over, making only two before being bowled by Lyon by a delivery that just kissed the stumps, and any hope of more West Indies resistance ended when Holder’s innings came to an end on 68 – he hit two sixes and seven fours off 86 balls in 134 minutes of batting before being dismissed by Marsh.
Pattinson (2-49) returned to account for Kemar Roach (11) and Jerome Taylor, who looks a mere shadow of the player who made a Test century against New Zealand at Dunedin in 2008, was caught by Pattinson off the bowling of Marsh, who completed figures of 4-61 with the game’s final wicket.
There was some minor controversy with the technology during the day’s play and Smith later said he would seek an explanation from match referee Chris Broad over the ball-tracking malfunction which left TV umpire Ian Gould unable to assess Australia’s appeal over an LBW decision.
Siddle hit Holder on the pads in the 70th over and his appeal for LBW was rejected by South African umpire Marais Erasmus. Smith called for a video review, but the ball-tracking “Eagle Eye” technology wasn’t working. Englishman Gould was unable to see a predicted path showing if the ball would have hit the stumps or not. Holder, on 29, was declared not out a second time.
Smith said he was not sure what happened with the ball-tracking technology and he wanted an answer.
“We’ve made a few inquiries and we’re going to go talk to the match referee a little bit later on,” Smith said.
“I’ll know a bit more later on. But it’s not ideal if it’s shut down and not working.”
After some confusion on the field, it was established Broad had ruled Australia would not lose one of two available reviews despite Gould’s decision to reject the appeal.
Channel Nine showed the “Eagle Eye” about 15 minutes later, which revealed the predicted path for the ball was down leg-side.
“Looking at it, I was pretty lucky to get my review back to be honest,” Smith conceded.
It was probably sliding a fair way down leg so it was a nice time to stop working if it’s going to stop working.”
Holder was shocked to see the ball-tracking technology fail in Australia.
“It was actually quite surprising. Of all the Test-playing [countries], Australia is pretty much up there with all the technology,” Holder said.
“Technology, it has malfunctions, some glitches. You can’t be perfect. It’s just unfortunate.
“Hopefully they get it right going into the third Test match.”
Holder remained optimistic despite losing the series.
“I thought most of the guys applied themselves, which was really commendable. Credit to the way Australia played, they outplayed us. We had to keep wickets in hand, occupy the crease. Our plan was for me and Ramdin to stick on till the end of the day. Carlos came in and showed spirit [in the first innings], and bowled well. We have been criticised from all different angles, but I’ve just stressed to the team to keep faith. This shows what we can do if we apply ourselves. We just need to keep that belief and keep pushing Australia,” he said..
The second Test starts January 2 at the Sydney Cricket Ground
Australia 1st Innings 551/3 Declared
West Indies 1st Innings 271 All Out
Australia 2nd Innings 179/3 Declared
West Indies 2nd Innings (Target; 460)
K Brathwaite c Smith b Lyon 31
R Chandrika LBW Pattinson 37
D Bravo c Nevill b Siddle 21
M Samuels c Nevill b Marsh 19
J Blackwood LBW Lyon 20
D Ramdin+ c Nevill b Marsh 59
J Holder* c Hazlewood b Marsh 68
C Brathwaite b Lyon 2
K Roach c Warner b Pattinson 11
J Taylor c Pattinson b Marsh 0
J Warrican not out 4
Total: 282 All Out (88.3 Overs)
Extras: (lb 7, w 1, nb 2) 10
Fall of Wickets: 1-35 (KC Brathwaite, 11.3 ov), 2-83 (Bravo, 33.4 ov), 3-91 (Chandrika, 38.5 ov), 4-118 (Samuels, 50.3 ov), 5-150 (Blackwood, 57.3 ov), 6-250 (Ramdin, 78.3 ov), 7-253 (CR Brathwaite, 79.3 ov), 8-274 (Holder, 86.6 ov), 9-278 (Roach, 87.3 ov), 10-282 (Taylor, 88.3 ov).
Australia 2nd Innings Bowling: J Hazlewood 20-6-40-0 (1nb,1w), J Pattinson 17-4-49-2, N Lyon 23-7-85-3, P Siddle 9-2-35-1, M Marsh 17.3-2-61-4 (1nb), S Smith 2-1-5-0.