Roseau, Dominica: Australia won the third and final Test against West Indies by 75 runs on Friday to secure a 2-0 series victory despite a valiant second-innings effort from the home side.
Set a daunting target of 370, West Indies resumed on 173 for five and were bowled out for 294 shortly before lunch on the fifth and final day.
Australia captain Michael Clarke finished with five wickets for only the second time in his Test career while counterpart Darren Sammy scored a lively 61, his best Test score.
The chase ended when Sammy top-edged Nathan Lyon, as he tried to sweep the spinner, and Ben Hilfenhaus pocketed the catch to prompt celebrations from the tourists.
The Dominican crowd appreciated a good and entertaining effort by the West Indian tail with local favourite Shane Shillingford making a Test-best 31 not out in a 49-run last wicket stand with Sammy.
The target always looked too much for West Indies on a pitch that offered turn and bounce for the spinners but West Indies may wonder what might have been had Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Darren Bravo survived the final session on Thursday.
Their 110-run partnership for the fourth wicket offered a glimmer of hope to the hosts but Australia never really looked like letting slip their grip on the series.
“It’s been a wonderful series, a really hard-fought series from both teams and I hope West Indies get a lot of credit for the way they played,” said Clarke. “I think it’s been great for Test cricket.
“Our challenge has been to try and get better every day and to work really hard on our consistency. I think as a team we’ve done that.”
A first-innings century from Australia wicketkeeper Matthew Wade proved decisive, the tail-end resistance he led taking the total from 169 for seven to 328 all out.
As in the victory in the first Test in Barbados it was the ability of Australia’s lower order to make key contributions that was the difference.
Clarke’s contribution with the ball on the last two days was a further reminder that while Australia may not have the world-class lineup of a few years ago, they still bat deep and have plenty of bowling options.
A fourth-innings total of 294 on a surface tough to score on was a good effort and with Sammy’s strokeplay giving a supportive crowd something to cheer, West Indies at least lost in the right manner.
But Sammy remained downbeat about the outcome of a series he said could have been different.
“We’re quite disappointed. We believed we could have beaten them,” said Sammy. “They won the key moments in the series and that was the difference.
“We outbowled them, we caught better than them as well, it’s just that their lower-order scored more runs than we did. We kept getting them in positions under 250 for six or seven and they ended up rallying and building partnerships.
“All our boys are disappointed with the results,” added Sammy.
While West Indies now head off for a difficult three-Test series in England, Australia will not play the longer form of the game until South Africa visit in November.