Shamar Joseph defies pain and exhaustion to lead West Indies to remarkable victory over Australia

By Sports Desk January 28, 2024
Shamar Joseph defies pain and exhaustion to lead West Indies to remarkable victory over Australia Getty Images

The Gabba in Brisbane witnessed an extraordinary display of courage and skill as Shamar Joseph, nursing an injured toe, produced an astounding seven-wicket haul that propelled the West Indies to a historic eight-run victory over Australia in the second Test at the Gabba in Brisbane.

The young fast bowler's seven-wicket haul on the fourth day turned the tide, securing not only the Test match but also tied the series 1-1. It was the West Indies first Test victory in Australia since 1997. Joseph, who had figures of 1-56 and 7-68 in the match, took total of 13 wickets during the two Tests and was awarded the Richie Benaud Medal as Player of the Series.

Riding the high of his extraordinary feat, the 24-year-old Guyanese fast bowler, who bowled unchanged for 11.5 overs on the final day, expressed gratitude for his teammates' support and the medical intervention that enabled him to play through the pain after being struck on the big toe by a Mitchell Starc yorker the night before.

The young bowler, who had contemplated skipping the remainder of the match, said he stuck to the basics that brought him the rewards.

"Shout out for my teammates for their support. I wasn't even going to come to the ground today. But the doctor did something to my toe. I don't know what he did. But it worked. I just stuck to the basics. Stuck to the top of off. I feel like we win the entire series by winning this Test. Shout out to my teammates for their support. I cried for my five-wicket haul but I'm so happy now. I'm not even tired. I would have kept bowling," exclaimed Joseph.

The elation was shared by the West Indies captain, Kraigg Brathwaite, who seized the opportunity to respond to criticism from retired Australian Test cricketer Rodney Hogg. Hogg had labeled the West Indies team as 'pathetic and hapless.' Brathwaite, flexing his biceps, challenged Hogg's assessment and credited it as motivation for his team's spirited fightback.

"We won a Test match in Australia. It does a lot for West Indies cricket. It means a lot. It's been a number of years since we've won a Test match here. But my message to the group is that this is the beginning. It's amazing, we enjoy this, but this has to continue. I'm extremely proud,” Brathwaite declared.

“I must say we had two words that inspired us in this Test match. Mr. Rodney Hogg said that we were 'pathetic and hopeless.' That was our inspiration. We wanted to show the world we're not pathetic.”

Brathwaite then singled out Joseph for his remarkable performance.

“I knew I had Shamar probably an hour before play. The doctor said he got an injection and he's quite good and then he told me he's going to do it. I had to back him. He's a superstar and I know he'll do great things for West Indies in the future. Just his belief. It's a great example for this team to follow. As I said, this is the beginning. We have to continue and play with heart and keep fighting for West Indies. I would love more Test cricket for sure," declared Brathwaite.

The final day's play saw Steven Smith standing as the lone barrier against Joseph's onslaught. Smith's unbeaten 91, however, wasn't enough to save Australia as Joseph dismissed key batters in quick succession, setting up an intense and nail-biting finish.

 Resuming from their overnight total of 60-3 with Steve Smith on 30 and Cameron Green on nine, Australia appeared to be cruising towards the target of 216 at 113 for 2 until Joseph struck with the wickets of Cameron Green and Travis Head in consecutive deliveries.

He then dismissed Mitchell Marsh and Alex Carey as Australia lost 4 for 23.

Joseph claimed his second five-wicket haul in as many matches by dismissing Mitchell Starc, who had briefly counterattacked.

Joseph, who had sunk to his knees with his head on the ground pushed through the pain and exhaustion to nick off Pat Cummins.

The umpires extended play 20 minutes after Joseph dismissed Cummins, but neither he or Alzarri Joseph could not get through Smith and Lyon. After the break Alzarri dismissed Lyon with Australia still needing 27.

Joseph would not be denied and flattened Josh Hazlewood’s off stump too see the underdogs claim a famous victory.

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