Shamar Joseph has produced one of the greatest bowling spells by a touring bowler on Australian soil in a generation to steer the West Indies towards a thrilling eight-run victory at the Gabba.
The 24-year-old, playing just his second Test match, claimed 7-68 in a career-defining performance on Sunday afternoon, ripping through Australia’s top order to help the West Indies secure its first victory in Australia since 1997.
Joseph, who couldn’t walk the previous evening after copping a toe-crushing yorker from Mitchell Starc, bowled 12 consecutive overs from the Vulture Street End during an awe-inspiring spell that was witnessed by 3162 Brisbane spectators.
The Guyanese product had been taken for scans on Saturday evening after retiring hurt during the West Indies’ second innings, but thankfully he was cleared to join his teammates the following afternoon.
Speaking to Fox Cricket after the win, Joseph explained that he wasn’t planning to travel to the venue that morning before the team doctor convinced him otherwise.
“He told me to come to the ground for a reason, even if it was just to support the guys,” said Joseph, who had never held a pink ball before last week.
“He did something to my toe. I don’t know what he did, but something worked.
“I told my skipper I would bowl until the end until the last wicket falls. It doesn’t matter how my toes are. I’m okay. I did it for him, and I’m happy that he’s proud of me now.”
West Indies wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva continued: “Words can’t describe the feeling we have.
“To come to Australia and do what we did, especially after the first game and last year as well, amazing.”
Steve Smith’s unbeaten 91 went in vain, with the opening batter carrying his bat in the fourth innings, becoming the first Australia to achieve the feat in a Test match since 2011.
It was just Australia’s second Test loss at the Gabba in 35 years, also ruining the nation’s perfect record in pink-ball Tests.
Australia needed 156 runs and the West Indies required eight wickets when play resumed on Sunday. Despite a scratchy start, Smith and all-rounder Cameron Green survived the first 45 minutes, combining for a 71-run partnership for the third wicket.
After nailing a handful of elegant straight drives to the boundary, Green became Joseph’s first victim of the afternoon after chopping back onto his stumps for 42, with the Kookaburra ricocheting off his elbow onto the pegs.
Joseph found himself on a hat-trick after knocking over Travis Head the following delivery for a golden duck, producing an unplayable yorker from around the wicket that clipped off stump. Head, who was also dismissed first ball on Friday, became just the third Australian to suffer a king pair in Tests, joining Adam Gilchrist and Ryan Harris on the unwanted list.
Fifteen minutes later, Joseph found the outside edge of Mitchell Marsh’s bat, with the West Indies slips cordon completing a juggling catch after Alick Athanaze inadvertently deflected the ball towards Justin Greaves.
In his following over, Joseph exposed Australia’s tail by toppling wicketkeeper Alex Carey with a peach from around the wicket that seamed away from the left-hander and crashed into off stump. The Guyanese quick, who was hobbling between overs in the outfield, suddenly had figures of 4-29, leaving Australia in dire straits at 6-136.
“That was one of the best spells I’ve ever seen,” West Indies teammate Kemar Roach said.
Mitchell Starc launched in an entertaining counterattack, slapping four boundaries before Joseph secured his five-wicket haul in the 41st over, with West Indies debutant Kevin Sinclair swallowing a top-edged slog at cover.
After producing a delivery that clocked at 149.6km/h, the fastest ball of the match, Joseph sent rival captain Pat Cummins back to the sheds for 2, with the Australian skipper nicking behind to gloveman Da Silva.
“This young fella is creating history here today!” former New Zealand wicketkeeper Ian Smith said on Fox Cricket commentary.
“This is just out of this world. Astonishing.”
The afternoon session was extended by 20 minutes, but Nathan Lyon and Smith, who had watched the carnage unfold at the non-striker’s end, successfully blocked out the additional four overs. When players returned after the dinner break, Australia required a further 29 runs while the West Indies needed just two wickets.
On the fifth delivery of the twilight session, vice-captain Alzarri Joseph put down a tough return chance off his bowling, giving Lyon an extra life on 9. But the veteran off-spinner couldn’t make the most of the reprieve, feathering the very next delivery through to Da Silva for 9.
Smith farmed the strike after tailender Josh Hazlewood joined him in the middle, cracking a pull shot to the boundary before Joseph struck him on the glove, which left him in immediate discomfort.
Every run was met by rapturous applause by the modest crowd, while the cheers were even louder whenever Hazlewood successfully blocked a full delivery on the stumps.
The decisive moment came in the 51st over when Joseph beat Hazlewood’s defences and uprooted the off stump, sending his West Indies teammates into a frenzy.
“When was the last time we beat Australia? I can’t even remember,” Joseph laughed.
“Today is a big day for us. I just want us to enjoy and celebrate and be happy.”
The two-match series ended as a 1-1 draw, with Australia retaining the Frank Worrell Trophy.
“I feel like we’ve won the series,” Joseph continued.
“Even though it’s 1-1, I feel like we’ve won the entire series.”