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Aussies rule opening day

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

What should have been the start of a new era for West Indies cricket sadly looked like same old, same old.

The scoreboard told the tale at the end of the first day of the first Test match between West Indies and Australia at Windsor Park in Dominica. As the lights came off on the electronic board, the fans walking out still had to put up with the score on the tin scoreboard which read - West Indies 148 all out, Australia 85/3.

After a high class exhibition of fast bowling from the Australians restricted West Indies to 148 all out, their batsmen struggled but they still took the honours at the end of round one.

For most of the day they had the West Indies on the ropes but in the final session, the men in maroon showed some fight, which they will have to call on for the remainder of this Test match.

At 61 for three the West Indies were back in the game but at the end, the man who played 160 First Class matches before making his debut today, Adam Voges took them to 85 for three - 63 runs short of the West Indies total. He will resume today on 20 not out, together with Steve Smith 17 not out. They brought some calmness to the reply, after David Warner (8), Shaun Marsh (19) and skipper Michael Clarke (18) perished cheaply.

Earlier, West Indies won the toss and in a bid not to bat last on a pitch that is expected to take spin later on, Ramdin decided to take strike. As the future went out to represent the West Indies, the crowd here sat still looking at what would unfold before their eyes. Some attractive strokeplay by Shai Hope put them in a cheerful mood but soon they were reflecting on men like the dropped Shivnarine Chanderpaul, as wickets started to tumble.

As flags here flew at half mast it was not due to the state of the West Indies innings but the loss of the former President of Dominica Nicholas Liverpool who died on Monday.

The mood at the crowd took on a sombre note as West Indies players were walking back and forth from the pitch to the pavilion, as if they were using the nature trail of the overlooking Waitukubuli National Park.

Josh Hazlewood steaming in from the hills got the first breakthrough sending back the obdurate Kraigg Brathwaite for 10, with the score at 23. Windies continued to struggle at the top of the order against the men from Down Under in the Caribbean, as this 23 followed scores off 38, 2, 0, 6, 1, and 0 in recent times.

Hope and Darren Bravo played some excellent shots in counter-attacking the visitors but at 63 their association ended. Bravo played back to one and got a thick edge that landed into Michael Clarke’s hands inches from the ground. He made 19 and Hope would join him 12 runs later for his Test best 36. The Barbadian in his second match at this level faced 54 balls and struck five fours.

Debutant Shane Dowrich was the next man getting out of the scorching heat, as he played on for 15. At 85 for four, the Jamaican pair of Jermaine Blackwood and Marlon Samuels needed to stay together but couldn’t and when Samuels left at 91 for six - the innings was actually killed off. Jason Holder struck 21 towards the end but not even this could have taken the West Indies past the 150-run mark. Mitchell Johnson finished with three wickets, so did Hazlewood and Starc plucked two.


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