They secured only 12 wickets in the match and, overwhelmed by an improbable target of 509 at Australia's overnight declaration, subsided meekly to 129 all out. "We played well but we probably expected a bit more of the West Indies," said Ricky Ponting, the Australia captain. It was a gross understatement on both counts.
The Australians were further buoyed by the fact that the knock-out blows were not delivered by the usual, ageing suspects, Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, who had taken nine of the wickets first time around, but by Brett Lee and Nathan Bracken, two of the squad still under 30.
Combining searing pace with the accuracy that often eludes him, Lee claimed five wickets and the tall left-armer Bracken, with late inswing on a typically humid Brisbane day, four. Shane Watson accounted for the buccaneering Chris Gayle before a shoulder injury in the field ended his day and perhaps his series.
Lee's expense account has bothered him. The average price of the 161 wickets he brought into this Test was almost 33. It was enough for Ponting to sit him down on Saturday night "to have a really good chat about it". "He wanted to try to be a bit more economical which meant he could probably drop his pace and concentrate on line and length," the captain said. "[But] Brett is the bowler he is because of his pace."
Among his five wickets, opener Devon Smith and wicket-keeper Denesh Ramdin edged catches to slip and keeper while Ramnaresh Sarwan also fended a bouncer to Adam Gilchrist. But the key wickets went to Bracken. Brian Lara was neatly taken low down in the gully and the captain, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, ruled leg before. With a lengthy tail of four "rabbit" fast bowlers, the end came rapidly; the last eight wickets tumbled for 44 runs.
The contest was even only on the opening day when Australia were 294 for seven following a middle-order wobble. After that they became increasingly merciless. It is a pattern unlikely to change for the remaining Tests in Hobart on 17-21 November and Adelaide on 25-29 November.
Scoreboard from the Gabba
West Indies won toss
Australia - First innings: 435 (R T Ponting 149)
West Indies - First innings
(Overnight Friday: 182-6)
ÝD Ramdin not out 37
D B Powell c Gilchrist b Warne 4
F H Edwards b Warne 2
C D Collymore c Clarke b Warne 0
J J C Lawson lbw b Warne 0
Extras (lb7 w1 nb3) 11
Total (77 overs) 210
Fall (cont): 7-187 8-204 9-210
Bowling: McGrath 22-3-72-4, Lee 15-4-59-1, Bracken 10-4-23-0, Warne 28-9-48-5, Clarke 2-1-1-0.
Australia - Second Innings
M E K Hussey c Collymore b Gayle 29
M L Hayden c Sarwan b Gayle 118
*R T Ponting not out 104
M J Clarke not out 14
Extras (b6 lb3 w1 nb8) 18
Total (for 2 dec, 66 overs) 283
Fall: 1-71 2-258
Did not bat: S M Katich, ÝA C Gilchrist, S R Watson, S K Warne, N W Bracken, G D McGrath.
Bowling: Edwards 5-0-27-0, DB Powell 5-1-24-0, Lawson 6-0-47-0, Collymore 11-0-56-0, Gayle 27-4-74-2, Samuels 12-1-46-0.
West Indies - Second Innings
C H Gayle c Warne b Watson 33
D S Smith c Warne b Lee 3
R R Sarwan c Gilchrist b Lee 31
B C Lara c Hayden b Bracken 14
*S Chanderpaul lbw b Bracken 7
M N Samuels not out 17
ÝD Ramdin c Gilchrist b Lee 6
D B Powell lbw b Bracken 0
F H Edwards b Bracken 0
C D Collymore lbw b Lee 4
J J C Lawson b Lee 1
Extras lb3 nb10 13
Total (49 overs) 129
Fall: 1-11 2-53 3-85 4-99 5-99 6-105 7-106 8-106 9-114.
Bowling: McGrath 11-3-22-0; Lee 14-4-30-5; Watson 6-0-25-1; Bracken 16-3-48-4; Warne 2-1-1-0.
Umpires: IL Howell & RE Koertzen (SA).Reuse content