Test hangs in the balance after Australia stumble then declare
SUMMARY: West Indies 311 all out from 108 overs (Da Silva 79, Hodge 71, Sinclair 50; Starc 4-82) and 13-1 (Brathwaite 3*; Hazlewood 1-2) lead Australia 289-9 declared from 53 overs (Khawaja 75, Carey 65, Cummins 64*; Alzarri Joseph 4-84, Roach 3-43) lead by 35 runs
The second Test between West Indies and Australia at the Gabba in Brisbane remains finely poised after a riveting second day’s play.
At stumps, the West Indies, who scored 311 in their first innings, were 13-1, holding a slender lead of 35 runs after Australia declared their first innings reply on 289-9.
The visitors faced a tricky half-hour’s play under the lights, and Tagenarine Chanderpaul became the sole wicket in the last over of the day, caught behind off the bowling of Josh Hazelwood for four.
Earlier in the day, Australia’s innings experienced a rollercoaster ride, recovering from a precarious position of 54-5 to declare on 289-9. West Indies’ fast bowlers, Kemar Roach and Alzarri Joseph, wreaked havoc, claiming 3-43 and 4-84 respectively.
However, a remarkable counterattacking display by Alex Carey, who scored a brisk 65 in a partnership with Usman Khawaja, and an aggressive unbeaten 64 from Captain Pat Cummins, guided Australia back into contention. The hosts were struggling at 24-4 at dinner and 54-5 not long after, but the innings turned around with resilient performances.
Carey’s innings, reminiscent of the legendary Adam Gilchrist, featured fearless strokes, but he fell for 65 from 49 balls before tea. Khawaja played the anchor role, contributing 75 runs, but was eventually dismissed by Kevin Sinclair. Mitchell Starc’s departure on the stroke of tea left Australia in a precarious position.
A crucial moment occurred when a delivery from Shamar Joseph narrowly missed dislodging Carey’s off bail, providing a stroke of luck for the Australian batsman.
He capitalised on this fortune, striking three consecutive boundaries and displaying aggressive strokes. However, his dismissal at a critical juncture added to Australia’s challenges.
In the final over, West Indies’ Chanderpaul fell to Hazelwood, setting the stage for a closely contested Test match. The fate of the game remains uncertain, with both teams aiming to seize control in the upcoming sessions.
At the start of play the West Indies resumed from their overnight score of 266-8 with Kevin Sinclair on 16. Kemar Roach joined him at the crease and together they resisted the Australian attack without much bother.
The pair batted through the first hour without loss with Sinclair doing the bulk of the scoring. The partnership was finally broken after Roach defended a ball to mid-off and called for a single, but Sinclair caught a glimpse of Labuschagne swooping in and made a very late call of no with Roach already halfway down. He slipped over trying to put the brakes on and was run out with ease.
Australia could have removed Sinclair on 30. He poked Pat Cummins straight to gully and Green spilt a sitter at thigh height. The Guyanese bowling all-rounder made Green and Australia pay with some excellent shots thereafter, sweeping Nathan Lyon for four and then lofted him inside-out over mid-off in consecutive balls to bring up his half-century.
He fell next ball, stumped by Alex Carey, for a well-played 50.
Mitchell Starc ended with 4-82 with Hazlewood taking 2-38 and Lyon 2-81. (Sportsmax)