Australia beat West Indies in their series-opening cricket Test after chasing down a target of 192 in fading light on the final day to seal a three-wicket win.
The touring team overcame a middle-order slump to reach 192-7 in Bridgetown, Barbados, after dismissing West Indies for 148 in its second innings before lunch. Shane Watson top scored with 52, while Mike Hussey hit 32 off 26 balls to get Australia within three runs of the win before getting out.
Ben Hilfenhaus, who finished with bowling figures of 4-27, scrambled the winning single with the sun setting on the Kensington Oval to seal Australia’s fifth straight Test victory after sweeping India at home in December and January.
“It was very hard fought,” Australia captain Michael Clarke said at the presentation ceremony. “Full credit has to go to our bowlers, not only the way they batted in our first innings but the way they came out and bowled in the second innings as well. That went a long way to us winning the game.”
Australia, which gave up a 43-run first-innings lead as Clarke declared at 406-9 to try and force a result, had reached 126-2 in its chase before off-spinner Narsingh Deonarine dismissed Ed Cowan, Ricky Ponting and Clarke to leave the touring team at 140-5.
Wicketkeeper Matthew Wade, making his Test debut, scored 18 before Hussey and Ryan Harris added 12 runs in a seventh-wicket stand that ended when Hussey was bowled by Kemar Roach when trying to hit the winning runs.
Harris was named man of the match after taking five wickets and hitting a Test-best 68 not out in the first innings, when Australia’s tail-end batsmen contributed 121 runs to rally their team from 285-8 in reply to West Indies’ 449-9 declared.
“We had our opportunities, we just didn’t capitalize,” West Indies captain Darren Sammy said. “It’s one we thought we had but we have two more so we’ll come back and fight and look to be stronger.”
The second Test starts April 15 in Port of Spain, Trinidad, before the final match in Dominica.
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