The West Indies went down with barely a whimper on day four of the second Test as Nathan Lyon earned a slice of history while Australia wrapped up an emphatic 2-0 series cakewalk.
Lyon became just the eighth bowler in Test history to take 450 wickets when he bowled Alzarri Joseph late in the Windies’ meagre collapse in which they went from 4-38 to be all out for a paltry 77 to lose by 419 runs to the world’s top-ranked team.
Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath are the only other Australians who have 450 scalps at Test level.
Mitchell Starc did the early damage on day four to remove Devon Thomas and Jason Holder, the latter with a vicious in-swinger which rattled into his stumps.
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Michael Neser then got in on the act to dismiss Roston Chase (13) and Josh Da Silva (15) to sharp catches to Alex Carey keeping up to the stumps.
Lyon chimed in before Neser completed the rout by dismissing Marquino Mindley for a duck.
Travis Head was not surprisingly named player of the match for his 175 in the first innings while the player of the series award went to Marnus Labuschagne for scoring a double ton and two centuries in his four trips to the crease.
His tally of 502 runs is the most by an Australian player in a two-Test series.
Lyon has overtaken Indian rival Ravichandran Ashwin for the second most by an off-spinner behind Muttiah Muralitharan and his record mark of 800.
“Many people have talked about it but I think he has the best stock ball I’ve seen in spin bowling,” Australia’s spin coach and New Zealand great Daniel Vettori said of Lyon.
“That ability to repeat it, to ask so many questions, to have the pace on the ball, the top spin that allows the drift and the spin and now he’s trying to add to that repertoire.
“I think you saw a couple of balls, a side spinner where he’s been able to mask that as well.
“I think it just comes down to the fact that the ball that the ball he bowls, his stock ball is so consistent, so repetitive, and asks so many questions.”
Vettori has worked with Lyon for parts of this year, at a time when the spinner has returned to his previous best.
The spinner has claimed crucial five-wicket hauls in both Pakistan and at Perth to spin Australia to day-five wins, while also claiming another five-wicket haul in Galle.
It has given him every chance to finish the year as the leading Test wicket-taker for 2022. He’s one behind Stuart Broad’s 40 and just ahead of Jack Leach on 38 with an extra game in hand.
South Africa quick Kagiso Rabada is the other main challenger on 37, with South Africa and Australia to play two Tests in Brisbane and Melbourne before the year is out.
“For myself as a spin bowler, I would have loved to have had that (stock) ball,” Vettori said. “You hear other spinners around the world talk about it and say that’s the ball they admire the most.
“They try and replicate it, try and repeat it but he’s been the only one that’s been able to do it for such a long period of time.”