Josh Hazlewood fuels Australia to 10-wicket win over West Indies in Adelaide

Australia. Photo courtesy: X/@ICC

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Adelaide/IBNS-CMEDIA: Josh Hazlewood’s five-wicket haul in the second innings fueled Australia’s 10-wicket victory over West Indies in the first Test here on Friday.

The match finished within the completion of three days.

When Josh Hazlewood rattled the stumps of West Indies’ Alick Athanaze, he joined Nathan Lyon (511), Mitchell Starc (348) and Pat Cummins (262) to reach the milestone, racing through the finishing tape and ending the Test with (nine wickets) and an overall tally of 258.

Outside of a 55-run 10th wicket stand in the first West Indies innings, a point of discussion perhaps in future team meetings, Australia were relentless. Kirk McKenzie’s even 50 was the best score across both innings for the tourists, who could only post a target of 26 for the hosts in their second innings, an ICC report said.

It was going to take an almighty tale to steal some of the attention from Australia’s performance, and it was debutant Shamar Joseph to steal some of the limelight in an individual performance to win over many fans from across the world.

Hailing from Baracara on the Canje river in remote Guyana, a multiple-day boat trip from the port town of New Amsterdam, Shamar put his hometown on the map. The 24-year-old claimed the wicket of Steve Smith with his first Test delivery, bounced out Marnus Labuschagne for his second, and found Cameron Green’s outside edge to claim his side’s first three.

Joseph returned to help clean up the tail to pick up 5/94, bowing to the Adelaide crowd who were won over by the new bowling hero.

On top of his bowling efforts, Joseph entertained with the bat too, wowing the crowd with a range of shots across both West Indies innings.

Despite a first Test knock of 36 (41) at No.11, Joseph was not promoted in the second dig, but showed his bag of tricks again with another flurry at better than a run a ball with 15 off 12.

Joseph left the stage by taking one final shot in Australia’s chase of 26, hitting Usman Khawaja with a vicious bouncer with the Aussies needing just a run to win.

Khawaja retired hurt as a precaution, meaning Labuschagne walked out to hit the winning single.

It had been a lean home summer with the bat thus far for Travis Head, though a return to his Adelaide home buoyed the left-hander, racing to three figures in a first innings counter-attack.

As Joseph ripped through the Australian top order, Travis Head imposed himself at No.5, rocketing to 50 before bringing up a seventh Test hundred.

Head hit 12 fours and three sixes in his 215-minute stay at the crease, finishing with 119 from 134 balls.

Having put his hand up in the new role at the top of the order, Steve Smith felt almost all the nervous unease as an opener. Tensing as the final West Indies’ wickets fell, facing a new ball, to then negotiating a second innings chase where almost no positives could come from an individual standpoint.

One Test won’t define Smith’s move up the order, finishing with 12 in the first innings and an unbeaten 11 in the chase of 26, but the performance is sure to fuel the Australian great to flourish in Brisbane.

The Gabba surface is known for its early life when teamed up with the new ball, though a late-summer start may flatten out the surface in a similar vein to the strip that saw India’s famous chase in January 2021.

Smith could also share the new ball with a new partner if Khawaja’s knock sees him out of the next Test.

Clean-sweeping Pakistan and easing to a 1-0 lead over the boys from the Caribbean, the No.1 ranked Aussies improved their World Test Championship points percentage from 56.25% to 61.11%, extending their margin to India who sit in second on 54.16%.

The Aussies move to Brisbane for the second Test eager to improve their percentage again, before a tricky two-Test proposition against New Zealand across the Tasman Sea in February and March.