Australia has retained the Frank Worrell Trophy, and it took less than five days.
The West Indies suffered a 164-run defeat at Perth Stadium in the series opener, only managing to snare six wickets across a match that was dominated by the bat.
Australia takes a 1-0 lead in the two-Test series, which will resume with a day-night contest at Adelaide Oval on Thursday.
These are the Talking Points to come out of the first Test in Perth.
Watch the first Test between Australia and the West Indies LIVE and ad-break free during play on Fox Cricket, and stream on Kayo. Coverage starts 11.50am AEDT Wednesday >
CAPTAINCY ROTATION A NECESSITY AMID CUMMINS INJURY WOES
Considering how packed the cricket calendar is at the moment, it’s practically impossible for an Australian pace bowler to play every match across the three formats.
The next 14 months are utter chaos for the national men’s team, and workload management will be crucial for Australia’s three quicks.
When Pat Cummins experienced some mild quad soreness on Saturday, the Australians didn’t take any risks, sidelining their captain for the start of the fourth innings.
With another Test match scheduled to get underway in Adelaide four days later, the captain’s long-term fitness was prioritised. It was decided he would only bowl on day five if absolutely necessary.
Former Australian Test captain Steve Smith led the side in Cummins’ absence, a role he also served during last summer’s Ashes Test in Adelaide. He may be required to don the green jacket once again next week, pending Cummins’ fitness.
The Australians are lucky their squad is packed with experienced players capable of leading the team whenever Cummins is unavailable.
Josh Hazlewood was handed the captaincy during the recent ODI series against England, while Alex Carey took on the role against the West Indies last winter.
Travis Head has captained South Australia in the Sheffield Shield for several years, while calls for Marnus Labuschgane to be given a leadership position are growing in volume.
It’s inevitable that Cummins will miss some cricket over the coming years, whether through injury or workload management, and rotating the captaincy duties could become a normality in the Australian side across formats.
The potential for David Warner’s lifetime captaincy ban being overturned becomes an intriguing prospect. Could he lead the Australians at some stage during next year’s World Cup in India?
However, former Australian batter Mark Waugh believes Smith should serve as the lone deputy to avoid complicating the team hierarchy.
“I’m not in agreeance with the rotating skipper, just giving guys the captaincy for the sake of it,” he told foxsports.com.au.
“I was surprised Josh Hazlewood got the captaincy in the one-day game – you’ve still got to earn the right to be captain of a country.
“Steve Smith, he’s vice-captain, so whenever Pat’s unavailable and needs to be rested for the odd game, the odd Test match because you’re going to have to rotate the fast bowlers at some stage, then you’ve got a ready replacement in Steve Smith – I don’t see an issue there.”
LYON SIX PROVES DEMONS ARE GONE
Nathan Lyon’s day five demons are well and truly behind him.
The veteran off-spinner claimed 6-128 in the second innings to help Australia clinch a 164-run victory over the West Indies, silencing any doubters about his match-winning potential.
Lyon snared the crucial wicket of West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite on Sunday morning, viciously spinning the Kookaburra into the top of off stump to expose the tail.
During the Perth contest, he climbed up to eighth on the all-time tally of Test wicket-takers, leapfrogging Indian rival Ravichandran Ashwin.
“He’s a world-class bowler – his stats say that,” Waugh said.
“Against the West Indies, who don’t have a great record against finger spin and off spin, he can certainly exploit that weakness in their batting attack and he’s just suited to these conditions.
“I think he will do well in Adelaide because it’s another pitch that does bounce, although the swing bowlers and the quick bowlers tend to do better in the night session over there.
“He’s just such quality in all conditions really, Nathan. To go have a record like he’s got in Australia, because it’s not an easy place to bowl finger spin Australia, but he’s used to the conditions so well now.”
Throughout his career, Lyon has copped criticism for failing to get the job done in the fourth innings of Tests, including but not limited to Adelaide 2012, Headingley 2019, Brisbane 2021 and Sydney 2022.
But the New South Welshman is starting to rediscover his mojo on deteriorating fifth-day wickets — his most recent bowling figures in the fourth innings of Tests are 4-112, 5-83 and 6-128.
Lyon has averaged 21.36 in the fourth innings of Tests over the past 12 months, the lowest of Australia’s strike bowlers during that period.
“He’ll take enormous pride out of this performance,” former Test batter Michael Hussey told Fox Cricket.
“Coming into the last innings, there’s an expectation that the spinner’s going to bowl the team to victory. It’s an expectation that he has struggled with in the earlier parts of his career.
“But to be able to come out and do it in the fourth innings and help Australia win in the Test match, I think he’ll be deep down very proud of that.”
However, a question mark still lingers over Mitchell Starc, who was once again ineffective on the fifth day of a Test match.
The tall left-armer couldn’t muster a wicket at Perth Stadium on Sunday despite getting the second new ball in his hands.
Since the start of 2021, Starc has averaged 192.50 in the fourth innings of red-ball Test matches, taking 2-385 in 117 overs during that period.
Thankfully for Starc, Australia will next travel to Adelaide for a day-night Test match under lights, and nobody in world cricket is more menacing with the pink Kookaburra in their hands.
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Lyon stars with six wicket haul | 02:21
WINDIES FINALLY FIND RELIABLE OPENING DUO
Tagenarine Chanderpaul only needed 45 minutes to prove he was ready for the challenge of Test cricket.
The West Indies debutant faced a monumental task on Thursday afternoon, coming up against the world’s best bowling attack with a swinging Kookaburra on a bouncy deck, while trailing by 598 runs.
But Chanderpaul expertly weathered the storm, surviving the evening session of day two alongside captain Kraigg Brathwaite to stumps at 0-74.
The 26-year-old returned to the sheds bruised and battered — he copped a nasty blow to the box, courtesy of Josh Hazlewood, before expertly limboing under a barrage of short deliveries, chesting the Kookaburra through to the wicketkeeper.
Chanderpaul’s most recent scores in first-class cricket are 140*, 23*, 184, 25, 49, 109*, 119, 56, 51 and 45. It may be early days, but after years of searching, the West Indies have seemingly found a worthy opening partner for Brathwaite.
Chanderpaul brought up his half-century on Friday morning before Hazlewood removed the left-hander with a peach that was edged towards the slip cordon.
He later scored 45 in the second innings, combining with Brathwaite for a 116-run opening partnership before chopping on late on day four.
Brathwaite and Chanderpaul became the first opening partnership to score 75+ in both innings of a Test match against Australia in Australia since 2001.
The West Indies skipper has played a lone hand at the top of the order since making his international debut in 2011 — Brathwaite has scored all 11 of the most recent Test centuries by West Indies openers.
Perhaps Chanderpaul can break the streak.
“I thought it was a great debut Test match for Chanderpaul against this quality bowling attack on a pitch he would not be used to playing on – the pace and bounce,” Waugh said.
“To show the skill and patience he did in both innings – he won’t find much tougher batting conditions and he came through with flying colours.
“He would have loved to have made a bigger score and a hundred but (an) excellent start to his career.
“It can only be upwards for him.
“I think they could easily grow into a really formidable opening partnership.”
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HOW CAN THE WINDIES STOP SMITH AND LABUSCHAGNE?
The pink ball certainly will help — and the West Indies will need as much of that as they can get.
The tourists are already down on numbers with multiple injury headaches, while Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne are red hot having scored 308 and 220 runs respectively in Perth.
What’s more is that not only was Smith not dismissed during the entire Test, but he arguably didn’t offer the West Indies a single clear-cut chance.
The same can’t be said for Labuschagne, but the way a reprieve sharpens his senses and takes him to another level is becoming the stuff of legend.
So where do the West Indies go from here?
Starting with Labuschagne; the West Indies should take some solace in the fact that they had him looking uncomfortable multiple times during the Test.
There were periods of short-pitched bowling that had Labuschagne hurried up at the crease and offering chances. In the second innings, Alzarri Joseph bumped him out for 19, but it was a no ball.
Labuschagne hits ANOTHER ton | 02:46
Those short-ball tactics, plus the potential for a bit of extra movement with the pink ball under the Adelaide Oval lights, gives the West Indies something to work with moving forward.
“He got roughed up nicely by Alzarri Joseph,” former Australian batter Michael Hussey told foxsports.com.au on day four.
“He even admitted afterwards the beans were running, and it took him a while to compose himself after that.”
The only other option is out-and-out pace, like England had some success with last summer through Mark Wood.
The problem there is that the West Indies no longer have anyone who can bowl genuine express.
Which brings us to Smith. The outlook here is far more bleak.
Smith said during the ODI series “I’m back, baby”, and it looks like he’s not going anywhere.
He’s oozing confidence at the crease, while his legendary eye is being married up with some more conventional technical tweaks, allowing him better access to more parts of the ground.
The result has been devastating. There appears to be very little about this West Indies attack that can genuinely trouble him at the moment.
Every boundary from Smith’s double ton! | 03:56
“I think Steve Smith’s in the best form of his career with his new technique,” Mark Waugh told foxsports.com.au. “He’s seeing the ball so well and technically looks very sound.”
Waugh said he expected the Australians to be tested more heavily by the West Indies, but warned that it might not be until South Africa’s arrival that they are properly challenged.
“I thought it was going to be a really tough summer for the batsmen because I saw lots of really good fast bowling from the West Indies and South Africa,” he said.
“I think South Africa will be a much sterner test for our batting side because they do have a really good pace attack with lots of quality.”
For now, the West Indies’ best hope is to get Smith at the crease at the optimal time in Adelaide and let the conditions do the talking.
WARNER’S FAREWELL TOUR OFF TO SLOW START
Is this the last time we’ll see David Warner don the baggy green in Perth?
There is growing speculation the veteran left-hander will step away from Test cricket following the 2023 Ashes series so he can prioritise his family and the shorter formats.
Warner has repeatedly claimed that he’s targeting the 2024 T20 World Cup in America and the West Indies, but he’s been less enthusiastic about the prospect of playing Test cricket beyond next winter’s tour of England.
The upcoming eight months offer several challenges for the Australian Test side — after hosting South Africa this summer, they’ll travel to India for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy before fighting to retain the urn in England.
Australia is also currently leading the World Test Championship ladder, meaning they are favourites to take part in next year’s Final at Lord’s.
Beyond that, Warner may decide it’s in his best interests to take a step back from the game’s longest format and spend more time with his young family.
“It’s about balancing life at home with the kids and the wife,” the 36-year-old told Fox Cricket.
“Looking forward to the next 12 months, there’s a lot of cricket, there’s a lot of time away from home. So from my perspective it’s about getting through this summer, assessing and then decisions can be made after this summer, definitely.
“You’ve got to realise yourself if you’re not into the training, if you’re getting out of bed going it’s an effort to get to training and stuff. I think that’s when (retirement thoughts) start creeping in.
“That hasn’t happened yet for me. I’ve still got the bug. I absolutely love coming here and going out there with the boys and playing.
“And looking forward to next year’s World Cup, I think that’s what will probably get me through.
“And 2024 T20 World Cup as well … that’s where I want to get to.”
Warner couldn’t take advantage of the batter-friendly Perth deck this week, dismissed for 5 and 48 in the series opener. If this is his farewell tour, it’s off to a slow start.
Test retirement sneaking up on Warner? | 01:26
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