ROSEAU, Dominica (CMC) – Life for West Indies in the post-Shiv Chanderpaul era began disastrously when they were bowled out for 148 in their first innings, on the opening day of the first Test against Australia in Dominica Wednesday.
Opting to bat first in good conditions at Windsor Park, West Indies were cruising at 63 for one before lunch but dramatically lost their last nine wickets for just 85 runs to be all out at tea, 10 minutes into an extended second session.
Opener Shai Hope top-scored with 36 and Jason Holder, at number eight, got 21, but no other batsman made it past 20.
And with Chanderpaul, who boasts 11,867 runs at an average of 51, axed by selectors prior to the series, there was no middle or lower order fight-back as the Aussie seamers clinically crippled the Windies innings.
New ball bowler Josh Hazlewood, in only his fourth Test, picked up three for 33 while left-arm seamer Mitchell Johnson grabbed three for 34. Mitchell Starc, also a left-armer, provided support with two for 48.
West Indies bowlers, however, took some of the shame off the lethargic batting display, fighting back gamely in the final session to claim three wickets, to leave the tourists on 85 for three, still 63 runs in arrears.
With much of the build-up to the series overshadowed by the controversial dropping of the veteran left-hander Chanderpaul, West Indies would have been hoping to quickly turn the page with a solid performance.
Instead, they found themselves in an all too familiar situation, where Chanderpaul’s powers had been repeatedly showcased over 164 Tests.
Hope and Kraigg Brathwaite (10) eased through the first half-hour in adding 23 before the right-handed Brathwaite feathered a defensive prod though to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin off an innocuous delivery from Hazlewood.
The Windies recovered well through a 40-run stand between Hope and Darren Bravo, who made 19 from 26 balls with three fours.
Hope appeared in good touch, pulling Johnson to the square leg boundary in the fifth over and banging Starc square on the off-side for his second four.
Bravo, meanwhile, also flourished, gathering his first boundary by stroking Hazlewood through mid-off before pulling the same bowler over mid-wicket two balls later.
However, despite looking in little trouble, he played back to off-spinner Nathan Lyon in the third over after the first drinks break and edged to a diving captain Michael Clarke at slip.
Hope followed 21 deliveries later after striking five fours off 54 balls, driving at a wide delivery from Johnson to be taken by Shaun Marsh diving away to his right at gully.
Debutant Shane Dowrich, on 15 and Marlon Samuels, three, took West Indies to lunch at 85 for three but three quick wickets in the space of 20 balls in the first half hour after lunch, set in motion a now familiar rapid West Indies decline.
Dowrich went first, dragging on to Hazlewood in the second over after the break to the third ball he had faced.
Hazlewood struck again in his next over when Jermaine Blackwood (2) pushed the ninth delivery he faced into the hands of Clarke at third slip and Samuels (7) perished in the next over, top-edging a hook at Starc to Hazlewood at deep long leg.
Holder and captain Denesh Ramdin (19) then put on 30 for the seventh wicket, temporarily lifting the hosts’ hopes.
However, Ramdin fell to the third ball after the first drinks break of the session, playing back and on to one from Johnson which kept a trifle low.
At 121 for seven West Indies were desperately searching for a savior but found none. Holder sparred at a wide one from Starc and was gobbled up by Marsh at gully and Jerome Taylor (6) and Shannon Gabriel (2) succumbed without major resistance.
Taylor then struck as early as the third over, getting one to bounce sharply on David Warner, to claim the left-hander to a catch at point by Blackwood off a leading edge for eight with the score on 13.
Marsh then nicked Holder to Bravo at first slip to fall for 19 and leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo snared the prized wicket of Clarke, caught at the wicket for 18, to hand Ramdin his 200th dismissal in Tests.
Debutant Adam Voges, on 20, and vice-captain Steve Smith, unbeaten on 17, steered the Aussies to the safety of the close.