Brathwaite hundred keeps WI alive but difficult final day looms
West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite celebrates his 11th Test hundred on day four of the opening Test in Perth
West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite celebrates his 11th Test hundred on day four of the opening Test in Perth

PERTH, Australia (CMC) – Unflappable captain Kraigg Brathwaite surpassed 5 000 Test runs with an 11th hundred in demanding circumstances, but West Indies were still facing a monumental challenge to save the opening Test, heading into today’s final day at Perth Stadium.

Set an improbable 498 for victory after Australia declared their second innings on 182 for two at lunch here yesterday, West Indies produced a sterling effort to close on 192 for three with the right-handed Brathwaite unbeaten on 101.

The Caribbean side seemed poised to end the penultimate day in an even stronger position but vice-captain Jermaine Blackwood perished in the third over before the close when he was taken low down at short leg by Marnus Labuschagne off off-spinner Nathan Lyon (2-54) for 24.

Brathwaite reached three figures in the same over by scrambling a single into the onside, to edge ahead of the peerless George Headley on the list of most Test centuries by West Indians.
He was his usual composed, compact self from the outset but still managed to score at a fair clip, striking 11 fours in a 168-ball knock in a shade over 4-½ hours.
And he found another great ally in debutant Tagenarine Chanderpaul, the 26-year-old stroking 45 to follow up his first innings 51, in an invaluable 116-run first-wicket stand which frustrated the hosts’ hopes of early breakthroughs.

West Indies still require a further 306 runs on the final day but survival is likely to overshadow any quest for victory.
“It all starts from the first hour tomorrow but we don’t want to think too far ahead,” Brathwaite told a post-match media conference.
“I think once we take it hour by hour, session by session, we’ve got to believe. It was obviously good to get through today and obviously day five is very important but that first hour tomorrow is very, very crucial.”

Labuschagne had earlier written his name on a distinguished list of players – including West Indies icon Brian Lara – who have scored double and single centuries in the same Test, when he marched to an unbeaten 104 to follow up his first innings 204.

Resuming on three with Australia on 29 for one, the right-hander flayed the West Indies attack to all parts of the ground, striking 13 fours and two sixes from 110 balls in 2-½ hours.
He extended his second-wicket stand with opener David Warner (48) to 81 before putting on a further 81 in an unbroken third-wicket partnership with Steve Smith who made 20.

West Indies’ lone success in the morning succession was when Warner clipped a forward defensive stroke at off-spinner Roston Chase onto his pad and into Shamarh Brooks’ grasp at short leg, in the first over after the drinks break.

On 95 in the final over before lunch, Labuschagne reverse-swept the first ball from Brathwaite to the backward point boundary before clipping the very next delivery to the ropes at fine leg.
For the second time in the contest, Brathwaite and Chanderpaul squared up well to Australia’s quicks, keeping the attack wicket-less as they took West Indies to tea on 84 without loss – their second half-century stand of the game.

Chanderpaul, equally unruffled, struck four fours in a patient 126-ball innings which lasted 157 minutes, to be unbeaten at the interval on 35 with Brathwaite on 40.
He was eyeing up another half-century when he dragged on a short ball from Mitchell Starc, about half-hour after the resumption.

Brooks lasted 20 balls before edging Lyon to slip for 11 and Blackwood, who counted three fours off 64 balls in nearly an hour-and-a-half at the crease, put on a crucial 58 with Brathwaite for the third wicket before departing late in the day.

AUSTRALIA 1st innings 598-4 decl.
WEST INDIES 1st innings 283
AUSTRALIA 2nd innings (o/n 29 for one)
U. Khawaja c wkp. Da Silva b Roach 5
D. Warner c Brooks b Chase 48
M. Labuschagne not out 104
S. Smith not out 24
Extras: (lb-2, w-1, nb-1) 4
Total: (2 wkts decl., 37 overs) 182
Fall of wicket: 1-20, 2-101.
Bowling: Roach 7-2-30-1, Joseph 10-1-42-0 (nb-1), Holder 8-1-39-0 (w-1), Chase 6-0-31-1, Seales 3-0-18-1, Brathwaite 3-0-20-0.

WEST INDIES 2nd innings (target: 498 runs)
K. Brathwaite not out 101
T. Chanderpaul b Starc 45
S. Brooks c Smith b Lyon 11
J. Blackwood c Labuschagne b Lyon 24
K. Mayers not out 0
Extras: (lb-6, nb-5) 11
Total: (3 wkts, 62 overs) 192
Fall of wickets: 1-116, 2-133, 3-191.
Bowling: Starc 13-3-36-1, Hazlewood 13-3-39-0 (nb-1), Lyon 22-6-54-2, Green 10-0-42-0 (nb-1), Labuschagne 2-0-9-0 (nb-3), Head 2-16-0,
Position: West Indies require a further 306 for victory with seven wickets intact.


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