The golfers in the Australian cricket team will be happy. The fatal blow was delivered when Kraigg Brathwaite was bowled for 94 and Australia won the first Test against the West Indies in Hobart by an innings and 212 runs. Royal Hobart golf course is just up the road. A relaxing 18 hole afternoon beckons.
This morning, the Josh Hazlewood show continued as the remaining West Indies first innings wickets tumbled cheaply and the visitors were all out for 223.
The well-worn phrase for a bowler taking a brace of lower order wickets is “mopping up the tail”, but an analogy featuring a cleaning implement seems a feeble description of the brutality inflicted by the Australians. This was more like grabbing a wounded beast by the tail and hurling it around overhead until its lifeless body thuds into something hard.
With Australia 360 runs ahead, Australian captain Steve Smith had no hesitation enforcing the follow-on. The West Indies obliged by playing about as convincingly as the sun shines in a Hobart summer. Second innings wickets fell quickly, most of them to James Pattinson, who was clearly pleased to be contributing after missing out in the first innings. The West Indies were 5/35 at lunch.
But the lasting images of this match may not be anything that took place in the 22 yard strip in the centre of the ground. It was spectators huddling against a frigid Antarctic wind which brought snow to the Tasmanian highlands and Mt Wellington above Hobart. And it was West Indian batsman Marlon Samuels, who skulked off the ground so slowly he was in danger of turning into an ice cube on the way to the dressing room.
His lingering -- and let’s be honest, sooky -- march from the field seemed to sum up everything that is wrong with the West Indies. They quite possibly no longer care about Test cricket, and if they do, they’re definitely no good at it. Australia beat them easily on their own patch this year before a losing Ashes campaign. How were things ever going to be any different on our turf?
This Test cricketing summer is now rooted. It is as competitive as seal clubbing. For the Australians, it is an exercise in average-building. For the West Indies, it is a humiliating waste of time. How cricket authorities thought it was a good idea to play these Collapso Kings twice in an eight month period is beyond comprehension.
Meanwhile, as attention turns to the likely make-up of the Australian team for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, and who returning batsman Usman Khawaja might nudge from the line-up, spare a thought for bean counters. The Boxing Day Test has attracted 50,000 mad Melburnians on day one for each of the last 25 Boxing Days on which it wasn’t raining. This year you’d have to think the crowd will be lucky to top 30,000.
Anyway, the news is not all bad. Melbourne has plenty of good golf courses too.