West Indies’ young pacer Shamar Joseph bowls to victory over Australia in 27 years

West Indies. Photo Courtesy: Shamar Joseph Instagram page

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IBNS-CMEDIA: An inexperienced West Indies defeated Australia by eight runs in a nail-biting contest at the Gabba, their first Test win in the nation since February 1997, when Curtly Ambrose’s 7/93 had helped beat Mark Taylor’s Australia by 10 wickets.

Another fast bowler was the protagonist of West Indies’ win almost three decades later, Shamar Joseph, who finished with 7/68 in the second innings to secure a close-fought win. Shamar was declared the Player of the Match and the Series for his stupendous efforts.

Belying the day four forecasts, play started on time in Brisbane, with an injured Shamar, who looked at one point potentially missing the day through a toe injury, standing up as the West Indies main man with the ball again.

As Australia resumed at 60/2, the tourists’ new star broke the crucial partnership between Cameron Green and Steve Smith, beating Green’s defences with the No.4 eight short of a half-century.

Smith continued his charge, though teammates fell at the other end. Travis Head was again dismissed for a first-ball duck, this time undone by a Shamar Joseph yorker. Alex Carey (2) fell soon after to the same bowler, who once again was racing to a five-wicket haul.

Smith pushed to a half-century, though the tension only rose as the West Indies continued to press for a win. Play was extended in the first session when Australia skipper Pat Cummins was caught behind off Shamar. Nathan Lyon’s resilience helped Australia to 187/8, with Smith still unbeaten at the other end.

This was, however, broken when West Indies vice-captain Alzarri Joseph got Lyon to nick one behind in the very first over of the second session. With only one wicket left, Smith shifted gears and went for expansive strokes. However, the Men in Maroon had the last laugh when Shamar cleaned up Hazlewood with Australia still eight behind.

This was the first drawn Test series between the two nations since 1999. This was also the first time that West Indies left the Australian shores undefeated, in the Test format, since the 1992/93 season.

The win helped West Indies climb one spot up in the World Test Championship standings to No.7 and have reduced the gap in the points percentage between Australia at No.1 and India at No.2.