Summary and WI player ratings by Ganeshbabu Venkat.
The Frank Worrell Trophy.
Australia player ratings by Marco Trevisiol.
A trip down under with your side coming back after a players strike, very little cricket and without your premier fast bowler is not the most exciting prospect. Especially for a team that has not avoided defeat in Australia for almost a decade. Under these circumstances it was evident that West Indies were going to be easy push-overs for the Aussies. This series and the Pakistan series that is to follow were seen as little more than a pre-cursor to next summer's Ashes.
Australia seized the momentum early on in the series with a lop-sided affair at the Gabba, However after every Tom, Dick and Harry questioned whether West Indies was a worthy opposition to tour Australia, they bounced back in Adelaide on the back of a superb Chris Gayle century and drew the Test after dominating for the most part. It was the first Test that West Indies had managed to avoid defeat in almost a decade on Australian soil. The third Test at Perth was the most exciting as Australia were run away favorites after piling on 520 and dismissing the West Indies for 312 despite a whirlwind ton from Chris Gayle. However the West Indies managed to bowl out the Aussies for 150 and came within 35 runs of their target of 359, which proved that there was not much to choose between the two teams.
Australia were the overwhelming favorites to retain the Frank Worrell trophy despite their weakened bowling. They did retain that with a score line of 2-0. However if the West Indies had a little more confidence, luck and seized some opportunities it could very well have been 1-1. All in all it was an exciting series and it is not quite back to the drawing board for either Australia or the West Indies; however, there may be one or two question marks over certain positions as Australia prepare to take on Pakistan and West Indies prepare to host South Africa in their home season.
For Australia, they can be very proud of what they achieved in this series, and will be pleased that they have added depth and quality to the overall squad in both the batting and the bowling department. West Indies can take heart from the fact that they were competitive for most of the series apart from the aberration in Brisbane. However questions like "Have West Indies turned the corner yet"? and Are "Australia on the path to ascendancy"? remains unanswered and will do so for some time.
Australia Player Ratings
Doug Bollinger - 9
Definitely Australia's biggest plus of the series. Went from being someone not good enough to make their best XI to being an integral part of it. Was lively and intense throughout his bowling spells, especially effective with the old ball which he was able to 'tail' away with great effect. The only thing lacking was consistently swinging the new ball. Unlucky not to get Man of the Match in Perth
Shane Watson - 8
While he had a brain-fade or two with the bat and his 2nd innings Perth dismissal was a reoccurrence of his Ashes technical problems, overall he had an excellent series. After a poor start he was solid and authoritative with the bat and his bowling was much more effective than in his brief stints during the Ashes, playing the role of the 5th bowler perfectly.
Brad Haddin - 8
Probably his best all-round series to date. Was consistent with the bat and played an important role in ensuring Australia's safety from defeat in Adelaide. But of greater significance was his glovework, which was of a much improved standard in comparison with his previous keeping efforts in Tests.
Ben Hilfenhaus - 8
While he got Man of the Match in Brisbane through a performance of high quality swing bowling, his significance to the team was most felt by his absence. In Brisbane, he totally curtailed Chris Gayle, something that no Australian bowler was able to do in the final two Tests.
Simon Katich - 7.5
Certainly deserves kudos for being Australia's leading run-scorer and looking in good form throughout. His 1st innings effort in Brisbane was especially impressive. But for all his solid run-scoring - as has been the case throughout the last 12 months - he isn't an imposing figure on Test matches, playing much fewer match-defining innings than he should be.
Michael Hussey - 6.5
Had a decent series but really didn't bat with the authority to assuage doubters that his best is past him. Especially so in Adelaide in the 1st innings when he batted extremely tentatively for a long period which hurt Australia's cause more than it helped.
Nathan Hauritz - 6.5
A real mixed bag. He had an excellent all-round Test in Brisbane (perhaps unlucky not to get Man of the Match) but in tougher circumstances his limitations as an off-spinner were exposed. On the 4th day at Adelaide when he should've been a key factor he was ineffectual and his bowling during the Denoraine/Nash partnership in Perth on the 4th day was negative, defensive and again ineffectual. While he wasn't too bad overall, he won't progress until he develops the self-belief that he can be a match-winning Test bowler.
Michael Clarke - 6
Had a good match in Adelaide but a somewhat disappointing series overall as he didn't match the level of performance he displayed in the Ashes. Too often went out to loose and lazy strokes which were more reminiscent of Clarke from 2005.
Marcus North - 6
On the plus side, was impressive and solid in his two 1st innings performances in Brisbane and Perth, handling the 2nd new ball and ensuring Australia capitalised on a good base. But as occurred during the Ashes, when Australia were struggling, instead of being resolute he fell cheaply. Spin bowling continues to be unthreatening.
Mitchell Johnson - 5.5
While the stats show he was easily Australia's leading wicket-taker, they flatter him. He occasionally bowled spells of high quality (especially late on the 4th day in Adelaide) but most of the time was erratic and flat and continues to be a poor new ball bowler. Still has the uncanny ability to pick up wickets with ordinary deliveries, but isn't bowling to the level he displayed against South Africa last season. Also was underwhelming with the bat.
Ricky Ponting - 4
One of his more forgettable series with the bat, especially at home. Started off well on the opening session of the series with - after an early wicket fell - a typically counter-attacking authoritative innings. But his post-lunch working over and dismissal by Roach was a bit of a turning point and he never looked at his best after that, culminating in his injury and limited contribution in Perth.
Clint McKay - 4
Bowled reasonably at times but overall looked short of Test standard, especially at his current pace
Peter Siddle - 3
Even before his injury, was having an ordinary series. Has not been able to recapture his form from the South Africa Tests last year, probably because he hasn't had the same level of accuracy and patience that impressed so much back then. No automatic selection in Australia's best XI anymore.
West Indies Player Ratings
Chris Gayle - 9
Had an outstanding series averaging 69.20 with the bat and picking up the man of the match in 2 games and the Man-of-the series as well. Came to the party at the Adelaide Oval when he carried his bat and scored a magnificent hundred, which was very unlike Chris Gayle. Followed that up with the fifth fastest hundred in Perth when he scored a blistering 72 ball 102.His quality innings in Adelaide almost earned West Indies a victory and avoided a straight 10th defeat on Australian soil. Got decent starts in Brisbane but could not capitalize on that. He would have loved to swap 30 odd runs from Brisbane or Adelaide for the second innings at Perth. Beaten inside three days in Brisbane, his captaincy was inspiring and commendable after that rout; With him at the helm and with his batting style,one can only hope that he should take West Indies forward in the years to come.On a lighter note he should realize that referrals are for other batsmen too and not exclusively for himself and Shiv Chanderpaul.
Dwayne Bravo - 8
This was by far his best series with the ball. However with the bat apart from his brilliant hundred in Adelaide he was a big letdown, some of his shot selection was appalling. Especially in the Second innings at Perth and Brisbane. His 4/42 at Perth was an outstanding effort and his bowling in the second innings at Adelaide was also brilliant. His 176 runs @29.33 with a century showcased the immense talent he possesses with the bat and his returns of 11 wickets at 29 , proves that he can be a genuine all-rounder If he can show the consistency with the ball and can be more judicious with his shot selection, we can be rest assured that West Indies would be well served.
Brendan Nash - 7
Nash once again proved he was indeed a valuable find for the West Indies with a happy homecoming. Failed to impress in Brisbane, however his innings in Adelaide was crucial. Nash was the glue that held the once fragile West Indian lower middle order from collapse, he walked out under pressure every innings and delivered. Whether it be the crucial partnership with Sammy in Adelaide or the 128 run partnership with Narsingh Deonarine at Perth, he was there for the occasion to fight it out. There is nothing flashy or attractive about his batting but it was very effective. He averaged 41.66 scoring 250 runs in six innings. If there was one thing that he needed to improve he should get better at rotating the strike, he stalled for almost an hour on the score of 48 in Perth during the crucial chase and one has to say that it did have an influence on the other batsmen, who were pressurized to score.
Narsingh Deonarine - 7
He impressed one and all with his neat technique and nimble footwork in the only opportunity he got to play at Perth. He batted with superb temperament for his 82 in the second innings at Perth and almost took the West Indies to an improbable win along with Nash. His off spinners were more than useful and even managed to pick up a couple of wickets. With time and experience he probably can be their next Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
Adrian Barath - 6
Touted as the next big thing from West Indies, Barath scored an outstanding century on debut at the Gabba under adverse conditions. His innings in Adelaide was cruelly cut short by a dodgy umpiring call that saw him run out. However he had an indifferent series to say the least. He failed in the first innings in Gabba, got a century in the second, failed in Adelaide in the first innings, looked good for more in the 2nd innings at Adelaide and missed the Perth Test due to a hamstring injury. However for a 19 year old he showed lot of maturity, patience and skill. With experience he could partner Gayle for a long time in the top of the order.
Suleimann Benn - 6
The West Indies should be indebted to him for producing one of the best spells of spin bowling when he reeled of 50 overs in Adelaide although he could not win the game for them. He spun the Aussies into a web at Perth as well. His 11 wickets at 37 do not reflect the true workman like effort. He made some useful contributions with the bat and highlighted his potential to become a decent lower order all-rounder if he puts his mind to it. However he would be better off not to get in to a tangle with the opposition lest he could see his wallet become thin or could end up missing more Tests and ODI's.
Travis Dowlin - 6
Dowlin was one of the stars for the West Indies at the Gabba and it was a harsh decision to drop him for the second test at Adelaide after having scored 62. However he got his chance at the WACA after an injury to Barath and grabbed it with both hands and played a neat little knock of 55 in the first innings. But a rush of blood got him out in the second innings when he was looking good. He certainly has not done any harm to his chances and will always be under contention. However at 33 with the likes of Adrian Barath, Darren Bravo and Narsingh Deonarine breathing down his neck, it remains to be seen how Dowlin will be fitted in to this team on a regular basis.
Kemar Roach - 6
The statistics does not present a clear picture of how good he was with the ball. He bowled some real hostile and fiery spells. Ricky Ponting had trouble facing him and he was a handful on the WACA wicket. He forced Ponting to retire in the first innings and promptly dismissed him in the second innigs. Could have easily had more wickets with some luck. Bowled one of the fastest spells on the 5th day afternoon in Adelaide. He seems to be a fit and energetic paceman who along with Jerome Taylor and Fidel Edwards can carry the West Indies attack in the coming years.
Shiv Chanderpaul - 5
Started the series very poorly in Brisbane with a brace in each innings. He scored a fighting and pain-staking 62 in Adelaide and followed that up with another valuable 27 in the second dig. An unfortunate finger injury prevented him from taking part in the deciding Test at Perth and the West Indies certainly missed him. Having averaged more than 100 in 2007 and 2008 one has to say, he did not have a successful series by his standards only managing an average of 23.25 in the three Test series.
Denesh Ramdhin - 5
Was flawless and in fact brilliant behind the stumps, However with the bat he was inconsistent to say the least and did not inspire confidence. Apart from his half-century in Brisbane, He did not show his mettle with the bat. He showed in this series that he indeed has the potential to be a better wicketkeeper-batsman. However his 16 average and the way he was dismissed in the same fashion more often than once leaves a lot to be desired. Unless he can put up a more consistent and a mature approach to his batting there will always be a lingering question mark over his spot. For a beleaguered team and being one of the senior players he needs to curb his natural instinct and over aggressiveness when batting in a Test match.
Ravi Rampaul - 5
Got the opportunity to make his Test debut at the Gabba along with Adrian Barath and failed to make a big impact in the three Tests only taking four wickets at 72.50, however he looked pretty decent with the ball. He had his moment when he bowled Ponting through the gate at Adelaide. He can be persisted with for a few more matches which would probably give him an opportunity to cement his place in the team and can be the ideal stock bowler to support the pace trio of Taylor, Edwards and Roach. He looks to be a good enough lower order batsman and if he can put his head in to it can become a very good all-rounder and can usurp Darren Sammy's spot.
Darren Sammy - 5
His bowling is perhaps more suited to the limited overs format than Tests. But with the dearth of fast bowling talent in the Caribbean he could probably be the stock bowler to support the pace trio of Edwards, Taylor and Roach. Made a significant 44 with the bat at Adelaide in the only Test he played. However with Dwayne bravo back in the fold and Ravi Rampaul looking more penetrative it remains to be seen if Sammy will get as many Test chances in the future.
Ramnaresh Sarwan - 4
Sarwan had an inauspicious start to the tour with an injured back and missing out on the first Test. He did not score much when he came back to the second Test as well although he looked set for more during the first innings at Adelaide. Missed out in Perth as well when a decent 30 could have won the match for the West Indies. All in all he had a poor series. He started off 2009 in great fashion and ended it with a whimper and an average of 22 is not exactly what you expect from your second best batsman in the team. Unless he can improve his average away from home dramatically Sarwan will always have a question mark over his temperment.
Gavin Tonge - 4
Having got just one game at Perth he was not bad. However the jury is still out on whether he can find a regular place in the team. With Taylor and Edwards more than likely to come back it's hard to see how he can fit in to the West Indies pace attack. Bowled decently and was rewarded with his maiden wicket at Perth. Seems to be a decent player with the bat, which was evident when he and Roach had the Aussies at bay for more than 30 minutes and delayed them victory at Perth.
Jerome Taylor - 2
He should never have been on this tour and promptly pulled out in the middle of the first Test. Apart from getting Shane Watson early during that Test, Taylor was just a mere passenger. He needs to work on his fitness more if he wants to be a regular member of this West Indian team.