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Test series: W.I. show resolve but fall to new ball

December 2, 2022
West Indies concussion substitute Shamarh Brooks plays through the onside during his innings on day three of the ongoing first Test, West Indies vs Australia in Perth. (Via CMC)

CMC – Captain Kraigg Brathwaite struck a gritty half-century while his debutant partner Tagenarine Chanderpaul completed his maiden one, but West Indies suffered a swift lower order collapse to give Australia total control of the opening Test in Australia on Friday.

On a compelling day three at Perth Stadium, Brathwaite carved out 64, Chanderpaul scored 51, while vice-captain Jermaine Blackwood (36), Shamarh Brooks (33) and Jason Holder (27) all weighed in to lift West Indies to 245 for four just after tea, in reply to Australia’s mammoth 598 for four declared.

However, arrival of the second new ball changed the course of the innings, Pat Cummins (3-34) and Mitchell Starc (3-51) ripping through the order with three-wicket hauls as West Indies lost their last six wickets for just 38 runs.

With a first innings lead of 315, Australia opted not to enforce the follow on, and reached 29 for one at the close – ahead by 344 runs heading into the pivotal day four of the contest.

Usman Khawaja was the lone casualty, wafting at a wide delivery from seamer Kemar Roach and nicking behind for five in the fifth over.

Resuming on their overnight 74 without loss, West Indies suffered an early setback when Chanderpaul perished to the final delivery of the first over.

Unbeaten at the start on 47, the 26-year-old left-hander edged the fifth delivery of the morning from pacer Josh Hazlewood to the third man boundary before being squared up by the next and finding the safe hands of David Warner low at first slip.

Nkrumah Bonner added a further 28 for the second wicket with Brathwaite but ducked into a Cameron Green bouncer on six and never quite recovered. He left the field on 16 at the first drinks break and never returned, Brooks taking his place in the batting order as the concussion substitute.

Brathwaite dug in, facing 166 balls in nearly 4-¼ hours at the crease and counting five fours and a six. He extended the second wicket stand by 53 with Blackwood, taking West Indies to lunch on 150 for one.

The 30-year-old Brathwaite reached his 28th Test fifty about half-hour before lunch when he deposited off-spinner Nathan Lyon (2-61) for a straight six to move to 49 and then pinched a single to mid-wicket in the same over.

But he perished soon after the resumption, trapped on the crease and bowled by Cummins, and left-hander Kyle Mayers lasted eight balls only before he too was bowled, this time by Starc.

With the innings in need of a partnership at 166 for three, Blackwood anchored two – posting 43 for the fourth with Holder and a further 35 for the fifth with Brooks, West Indies reaching tea on 237 for four.

Holder struck two fours and a six in a fluent 54-ball knock before falling to a catch at leg slip off Lyon, while Blackwood spent 108 balls and nearly 3-¼ hours at the crease and hit four fours, before being struck in front by Starc – becoming the first victim with the second new ball.

Wickets then tumbled as Joshua Da Silva was clean bowled without scoring, Brooks nicked behind off Green after hitting four fours off 58 balls and Roston Chase was trapped lbw to Cummins for 13.

Steve Smith snaffled a sharp chance at first slip to remove Kemar Roach without scoring off Lyon Alzarri Joseph top-edged Green to Warner at mid-wicket.

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