By: Usama Manzoor
Youth on Cricket Author, Pakistan
A flourishing half-century from Darren Sammy, failed to change the course of history and brought Australia a 75-run victory in a rousing conclusion to the third and final Digicel Test on Friday.
Sammy batted with typical freedom, smoking four fours and three sixes in 61 from 51 balls in just over 1 ½ hours in a last-ditch bid to single-handedly try to change the outcome, as West Indies unsuccessfully chased 370 for victory on the final day at Windsor Park.
The West Indies captain added 49 for the last wicket with hometown hero Shane Shillingford, whose 31 not out included half-dozen fours from 46 balls in 45 minutes, bringing a thrilling climax to the match before the frenzied partisan crown.
Sammy was caught at short fine leg off a top-edged sweep from off-spinner Nathan Lyon’s bowling to bring the match to a close about five minutes before lunch, as West Indies were bowled out for 294 in their second innings.
The result meant that West Indies lost the three-match series 0-2, following a three-wicket defeat in the first Digicel Test at Kensington Oval in Barbados, and a draw in the second Digicel Test at Queen’s Park Oval a week later.
It also ensured Australia firmly hung onto the Frank Worrell Trophy, symbol of supremacy between the two sides.
West Indies were always under the clock, once Australia captain Michael Clarke, bowling his uncomplicated left-arm spin, and Lyon grabbed two wickets apiece in the first hour.
After West Indies resumed from their overnight total of 173 for five, Clarke struck early, when Narsingh Deonarine was caught and bowled for 13, digging out a full-length delivery.
Field umpire Tony Hill of New Zealand asked TV umpire Ian Gould of England for assistance and TV replays suggested the ball was driven back to the bowler on the full.
Carlton Baugh Jr made 12 before he pulled a short ball from Lyon to short mid-wicket, where Ricky Ponting held a blinder over his head, and Kemar Roach was caught at slip off the same bowler for two.
Ravi Rampaul came to the crease with Sammy in full cry and tried to match his captain’s effort, but he was caught at deep mid-on from a miscued loft, giving Clarke the last of his five wickets for 86 runs from 23 overs before Lyon brought things to a close, ending with three for 87 from 29.3 overs.
Australia wicketkeeper/batsman Matthew Wade named Man-of-the-Match for his maiden Test hundred of 106 that gave Australia a healthy first innings total of 328.
But durable West Indies left-hander Shivnarine Chanderpal was chosen as Man-of-the- Series. He finished with a series-high 346 runs at an average of 86.50.
Roach was also the most successful bowler in the Test series. He captured 19 wickets at 19.73 apiece, with Shillingford’s 14 at 26.14 the second-highest tally.