Labuschagne and Khawaja century stand puts Australia in control


Tea Australia 162 for two (Labuschagne 81*, Smith 4*) vs West Indies

Marnus Labuschagne closed in on a century after batting by way of the second session on day one to blunt West Indies’ assault within the first Check at Optus Stadium.

However after toiling for a lot of the session, West Indies acquired a much-needed tonic earlier than tea when seamer Kyle Mayers eliminated opener Usman Khawaja for 65 with a cracker of a supply outdoors off stump to entice an edge.

It supplied a elevate for West Indies with Labuschagne fortunately edging over slips within the subsequent over amid a fiery burst from fast Kemar Roach. There have been indicators late within the session of the floor quickening up after Labuschagne and Khawaja had regarded largely untroubled.

There have been early fireworks as anticipated on a grassy pitch, however the floor settled amid good afternoon circumstances to justify Australia captain Pat Cummins’ resolution to bat first.

After weathering a difficult first session, Labuschagne and Khawaja managed proceedings with a 142-run partnership, nudging the ball round on the huge expanses of a floor with comparable dimensions to the MCG.

Closing in on his eighth Check century, Labuschagne has clearly loved returning to Optus Stadium, the place he scored 143 and 50 towards New Zealand three years in the past within the final Check match performed on the 60,000-seat floor.

Whereas Khawaja regarded in glowing contact from the get go to proceed his Check resurgence as an opener with a mean of 95 for the calendar yr.

That they had few issues towards a West Indies assault showing to undergo the motions because the session wore on amid quiet environment with the massive grandstands largely empty in a sedate begin to the Australian Check summer season.

Fast Alzarri Joseph tried to spark his group late within the session with a short-pitched technique to Khawaja, however was unable to conjure a lot sharp bounce.

The much-talked about pitch, which makes an attempt to imitate traits from the close by WACA, is predicted to harden up and be faster within the coming days as Cummins’ resolution more and more seems a masterstroke with Australia showing to have the perfect of the batting circumstances.

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite used six bowlers, who had been largely disciplined however he was let down by costly offspinner Roston Chase.

Australia made a affected person begin within the first session after the early lack of opener David Warner, whose lean run in Check cricket continued when he chopped a full and extensive supply from fast Jayden Seales onto the stumps.

Khawaja and Labuschagne had been largely shackled by West Indies’ quicks bowling a very good line and size as they largely resisted pitching up. They had been backed up by aggressive captaincy from Brathwaite, who carried out attacking fields full with 5 slips and catchers across the bat.

There have been a number of rearing deliveries, particularly Joseph’s scorching first supply to Labuschagne, however the batters began to get on high late within the session after the introduction of Chase.

The momentum spilled over after lunch however the dismissal of Khawaja ensured West Indies did not endure a wicketless session as they began their bid to finish a 25-year Check curse in Australia.

A full-strength Australia went in as anticipated, whereas West Indies named Tagenarine Chanderpaul, the son of legendary batter Shivnarine, for his Check debut and he acquired his marooned cap from Brian Lara earlier than play.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist primarily based in Perth

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