Fast bowlers Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins grabbed three wickets apiece to dismiss West Indies for 283 and put Australia in the box seat in the opening cricket test at the Perth Stadium on Friday.
Refusing to enforce the follow-on, Australia was 29-1 at stumps on the third day, and in charge of the match with a 344-run lead. David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne will resume on 17 and three, respectively after Usman Khawaja fell for six.
West Indies were on 237-4 at tea, and soon after from 245-4, before losing the last six wickets for 48 runs to the second new ball to hand Australia a 315-run first innings lead. West Indies had resumed the day on 74-0, and progressed to 150-1 at lunch before some outstanding fast bowling by Starc (3-51) and Cummins (3-34) cut short the innings.
Offspinner Nathan Lyon claimed 2-61 while fast bowlers Josh Hazlewood and Cameron Green took a wicket apiece. Only skipper Kraigg Brathwaite (64) and debutant Tangenarine Chanderpaul (51) impressed. Australia’s innings was built on double centuries by Labuschagne (200) and Steve Smith, 200 not out, after the home side won the toss and batted. It took two outstanding deliveries after lunch to dent West Indies’ progress.
Brathwaite’s four-hour resistance ended when his counterpart Cummins got a delivery to swing in late to hit the top of off stump for the Australian skipper’s 200th test scalp in his 44th test. Three overs later, Strac bowled Kyle Mayers (1) as the left hander played down the wrong line. Cummins became the fifth fastest to the 200 milestone behind fellow Australians Clarrie Grimmett (36 tests), Dennis Lillee (38), Stuart McGill (41) and Shane Warne (42).
Cummins’ current 21.71 average and 47.5 strike rate is the best for any Australian bowler who has taken 200 wickets or more.
“Incredible,” Cummins said. “It is pretty crazy. There are plenty of guys who have taken 300, 400 … 700 wickets. Comparing numbers isn’t significant. Any milestones when I think of wickets, it is a nice kind of realization.”
It is the first time an Australian bowling attack has boasted four bowlers with 200 wickets each — including Lyon (438 wickets in 111 tests), Starc (288 in 72) and Hazlewood (216 in 58).
“It’s great. Three other guys are my best matesm” Cummins said. “We get on really well. It is really special group we got going and having confidence in each other. It was relaxed the whole day knowing well when one is done some else will step up.”
West Indies suddenly had slumped from 159-1 to 166-3, swinging the game back Australia’s way.
The visitors could have been 176-4 soon after hadn’t Jason Holder (27) successfully reviewed a lbw decision off fast bowler Hazlewood. Television replays appeared to show an inside edge as Holder was beaten for pace by the delivery. Jermain Blackwood (36) and Holder shared 43 runs for the fourth wicket when Lyon claimed Holder. Lyon, who was hit for six two balls earlier, went round the wicket, and Holder trying to flick was caught by Warner at leg gully.
After tea, Starc grabbed 2-0 in four balls as he trapped Blackwood and, three balls later, bowled Joshua Da Silva for a duck. Shamarh Brooks scored 33 after replacing Nkrumar Bonner as a concussion substitute.
Bonner was hit on the back of the head by a Green bouncer and was examined on the field but carried on to score 16 runs. After another 30 minutes at the crease, he retired and was soon medically ruled out of the test. Brathwaite batted for four hours in facing 154 balls hitting a six and five fours.
Chanderpaul, who batted impressively in his debut innings, lasted just six balls Friday before falling to an outstanding delivery from swing bowler Hazlewood. Chanderpaul edged Hazlewood through slips to bring up his 50, and the very next ball followed an outswinger to first slip David Warner.
The son of former West Indies batting great Shivnarine, Chanderpaul hit a six and seven fours in his two-hour innings off 79 balls. Cummins said enforcing a follow-on was not an option.
“Hopefully the pitch will get hard to bat on. Give us bowlers a break and there is enough time to take 10 wickets. There are not too many instances where the follow-on is realistic.”