Hazlewood rips Windies apart but Head gets nod for top honour as Aussies extend home unbeaten streak to 14


Australia have extended their unbeaten streak on home soil to 14 matches after finishing off the West Indies inside the first session of the First Test’s third day at Adelaide. 

Josh Hazlewood finished with nine wickets after bagging 5-35 in the second innings but was pipped by centurion Travis Head for player of the match honours as Australia thrashed the world’s eighth-ranked Test nation by 10 wickets.

The only concern for Australia is opener Usman Khawaja, who was forced to retire hurt after being struck under the grill by a bouncer from debutant paceman Shamar Joseph when just one more run was needed for victory.

Khawaja was helped from the ground and if he is ruled out of the second Test of the series, Matt Renshaw is likely to replace him after being the reserve batter for this match.

The Australians are a virtual certainty to complete a home summer of five wins from as many matches when they take on the Windies at the Gabba next Thursday.

Apart from a couple of rain-ruined Sydney draws, the Australians have won every Test since they lost the Border-Gavaskar Trophy to India in Brisbane at the start of 2021. 

They have a win-loss record at home of 40-6 with nine draws over the past decade – since the turn of the century they have won 96, lost 16 with 21 draws. 

Only four teams from their 10 opponents (India 6, South Africa 5, England 4, New Zealand 1) have won a Test in Australia in the 21st century. The once-mighty Windies have now lost 15 of 17 with two draws saving them from the worst possible record Down Under. 

What should be the main concern for Cricket Australia and the ICC from this Test is that the West Indies didn’t often throw their wickets away or turn up their toes with their bowling effort and they fielded well. 

Josh can do NO wrong!

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Yet they were still no match for the Australians as the gap between the two nations grows wider and wider since the long-gone era of the Calypso kings over two decades from the mid 1970s to the 1990s.

The Windies started day three needing 22 more runs to make Australia bat a second time with only wicketkeeper Joshua da Silva (17 not out) and the tailenders to provide resistance. 

Da Silva didn’t last long when he was out hooking in the deep for the second time in the match, finding Hazlewood at fine leg off Mitchell Starc after adding just one run to his overnight score.

Starc then removed Alzarri Joseph for 16 and Hazlewood completed his five-wicket haul when he bowled Gudakesh Motie for three and the Windies were one run away from equalling Australia’s total with just one wicket to spare.

Josh Hazelwood holds up the ball after his fifth wicket. (Photo by Mark Brake – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

But as they did on the opening day, Shamar Joseph and Kemar Roach frustrated the Aussie bowlers by counter-attacking with the final partnership to put on 26 runs and extend the match into a fourth innings.

Steve Smith looked untroubled in making an unbeaten 11 in the tiny run-chase, unfurling a square drive to the boundary and another pull shot for four in his 22-ball second effort as an opener after being dismissed for 12 in the first dig.

After he felled Khawaja with a nasty bumper, Joseph greeted Marnus Labuschagne with another short delivery with the scores tied but he guided it along the ground to the deep to bring play to an end before midday on day three. 

The mismatches in Tests are literally cheapening the product – broadcast rights holders are not renowned for being patient with cricket administrators when games regularly fall well short of their scheduled run time.

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