Da Silva, Hodge lead West Indies’ fight in day/night Test against Australia
SUMMARY: West Indies 266-8 from 89.4 overs (Joshua Da Silva 79, Kavem Hodge 71, Alzarri Joseph 32, Kirk McKenzie 21, Tagenarine Chanderpaul 21, Kevin Sinclair 16*; Mitchell Starc 4-68, Josh Hazlewood 2-32)
A superb 149-run rearguard stand from Kavem Hodge and Joshua Da Silva pulled West Indies out of the mire after Mitchell Starc blew away their top order in a spell where he claimed his 350th Test match wicket on a day of momentum shifts at the Gabba.
West Indies threatened to waste a golden opportunity after winning the toss on a good batting pitch when they lost 5-64 in the opening session with Starc claiming three and Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins picking up one apiece.
Unlike in Adelaide, where prodigious sideways movement caused trouble, West Indies’ top order failed to adjust to the extra bounce with five of the top six nicking deliveries they possibly could have left.
But Hodge and Da Silva adjusted after the first dinner interval and were immovable for nearly 52 overs through the twilight and evening sessions. Hodge made his highest Test score of 71 off 194 balls in just his second Test match, while Da Silva made an excellent 79.
Their partnership of 149 is the highest-ever against Australia in 11 day-night Tests, and it was the second-highest stand by any duo across five Tests on sporting pitches in Australia this summer.
Both men were resolute with their defence and made excellent decisions outside their off stump as the pink ball softened and the pitch flattened out. Da Silva was tested with the short ball, having been out hooking twice in Adelaide, but was judicious and controlled.
Hodge played Nathan Lyon impressively and was compact against the quicks. Any time Australia’s bowlers overpitched they capitalised with controlled drives through cover and down the ground. Hodge also pulled Starc for six over fine leg. Cummins cycled through seven bowlers in the second session, including Marnus Labuschagne, but could not break the duo.
The pair reached their half-centuries after tea, Hodge doing so for the first time in Test cricket while it was Da Silva’s fourth to go with his lone Test century. Hodge then enjoyed some luck as he nicked Cummins at a catchable height through second slip but there was only one slip in place.
He then edged Starc to Cameron Green’s left in the gully and he got a hand to it at full stretch but it didn’t stick. No other gully fielder in the world would have touched it.
Da Silva’s concentration finally broke three overs before the new ball with Lyon pinning him lbw from around the wicket. Hodge was undone by the new ball. Starc returned to deliver an inswinging pink comet under lights at 139kph only for it to straighten off the seam.
Hodge closed the face trying to work through the leg side and the edge flew to the safe hands of Steven Smith at second slip. He got warm applause from the Gabba crowd as he departed.
Guyana off-spinning all-rounder Kevin Sinclair faced one of the tougher tasks on Test debut facing Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins with a brand-new pink ball under lights.
But after receiving his debut Test cap before play from former West Indies and Guyana all-rounder Carl Hooper, he showed some of Hooper’s class to finish unbeaten on 16.
Sinclair and Alzarri Joseph added 41 in 32 balls to frustrate Australia with thick edges interspersed with some wonderful drives. An edge finally went to hand in the final over of the night with Hazlewood claiming Joseph for 32 off 22. (ESPNcricinfo)