Adam Voges became the oldest Test debutant to score a century in propelling Australia to a first-innings lead of 170 over the West Indies on the second day of the opening cricket Test on Thursday.
By stumps, the home team slumped to 25-2 in its second innings, still in deficit by 145 runs.
Earlier, the 35-year-old Voges anchored the visitors, who resumed on 85-3 in reply to West Indies’ first-innings total of 148.
Voges cracked an unbeaten 130 with 13 fours and one six in more than 5 1/2 hours. The Western Australian revived Australia from the peril of 126-6 midway through the morning session, ensuring the last four wickets added 192 runs.
There was spirited support from Mitchell Johnson (20), Nathan Lyon (22), and last man Josh Hazlewood (39).
“It’s been a very, very special day,” Voges said. “Credit to the tail, the way the guys batted at the end there. Mitch Johnson, Nathan Lyon, and Josh Hazlewood hung around beautifully.
“I couldn’t believe it. I was rapt. It’s been a lot of hard work so I’m very, very happy.”
Voges, playing only because of a training injury to Chris Rogers, eclipsed Zimbabwe’s Dave Houghton (35 years, 118 days) as the oldest man to score a century on Test debut.
“People been saying I’m the oldest guy for a lot of things at the moment. I’ll take it,” he said. “It’s been a great day. A couple of late wickets as well, so I’m very happy.”
Leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo spearheaded the hosts’ effort with a career-best 6-80.
Bishoo, who dismissed captain Michael Clarke on day one, continued to rip through Australia’s middle order early in the day.
Steve Smith compiled 25 before he was stumped by yards after an absorbing battle with Bishoo.
Next over, Bishoo sent back allrounder Shane Watson on 11 to an edged catch to Jason Holder at second slip.
Australia swiftly slipped to 126-6 when wicketkeeper Brad Haddin lost his off stump to a big-spinning leg break that pitched outside leg stump.
But Voges and left-hander Johnson rebuilt sensibly either side of lunch, adding 52 for the seventh wicket to push the visitors into the lead.
When Bishoo removed Johnson and Mitchell Starc in the space of three balls, West Indies was still in contention at 178-8.
Johnson top-edged to square leg and Starc was bowled swinging across the line to give Bishoo his 50th Test wicket.
But Voges batted with authority, and Lyon and Hazlewood were equally adept in successive partnerships of 43 and 97.
When Gabriel claimed Lyon LBW, Voges was still 23 runs away from three figures.
Voges gradually closed in on his century before he motored from 88 to 99 in the space of one Taylor over which included a six over long on.
The milestone arrived a quarter of an hour before tea with a clip through midwicket off Holder, bringing huge cheers from his teammates and the hundreds of visiting tourists in the Windsor Park stands.
He survived chances at 57 and 104 during his 209-ball stay, with Jermaine Blackwood first missing a difficult chance at midwicket off Marlon Samuels, then Shai Hope spilling a sharp gully chance off Jerome Taylor.
Hazlewood, who hit five fours and a six off 87 balls in just short of two hours, was eventually bowled by Marlon Samuels midway through the final session.
Australia’s bowlers further tightened their team’s grip in 11 overs to the close, with Johnson and Starc removing both openers in successive deliveries.
Hope sparred to second slip where skipper Clarke hauled in a fantastic low catch, while Brathwaite lost his off stump to a Starc inswinger.
Johnson ended the day with 1-11, and Starc 1-6.