Thursday, February 2, 2023

CWI: Brathwaite leads from the front, joins elite 5000 club

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West Indies tour of Australia

Series: Two matches for Frank Worrell trophy

Day 4 of 1st Test Match

Venue: Perth Stadium, Western Australia

Toss: Australia won and batted

Scorecardhttps://bit.ly/ausvwi1sttest

Kraigg Brathwaite’s 11th Test century set the tone for a superb rearguard from West Indies and has left the first Test hanging in the balance with all four results still possible heading into the final day. On an enthralling penultimate day, the lion-hearted Brathwaite delivered a monumental knock of 101 not out which laid the foundation for the visitors score of 192-3.West indies remain 306 runs adrift of their target while the Aussies will need to take seven wickets in 90 overs available and this has the making for a blockbuster final day at the ultramodern venue.

West Indies have fought hard to stay in contention for most of this Test match and Brathwaite’s century has now ensured that a victory is not completely out of reach. Together with debutant Tagenarine Chanderpaul (45) he laid the platform with a 116-run opening stand. Chanderpaul showed tremendous composure as he batted 2 ½ hours, faced 126 balls and hit five boundaries, to follow up his first innings 51.

Brathwaite has so far 166 balls and struck 11 fours. He reached the landmark when he nudged a single off spinner Nathan Lyon, just before the eventual close of play. On reaching the millstone he was embraced by batting partner Jermaine Blackwood, raised his bat to the crowd, and saluted his team-mates. When he reached 43 he joined elite company to become the 13th West Indies batsman to complete 5,000 Test runs.

He said this innings has been “special”.

“For me it means everything. Growing up as a youngster watching West Indies play … Viv Richards, Desmond Haynes, Brian Lara, it means everything. Australia is No. 1. This is up there. As a leader I want to lead from the front. We know it is tough playing test cricket in Australia. For us it’s all about fighting. That’s the belief. It all starts from the first over. We don’t want to think too far ahead. It was good to get through today. Australia is going to come hard at us so it is important we start (Sunday) extremely well.”.

Chanderpaul was missed by Mitchell Starc at long leg off a top-edged hook off Cameron Green with the score at 109-0. Soon after Starc bowled Chanderpaul to end the opening resistance and conclude Chanderpaul’s highly impressive debut match against one of the world’s best bowling attacks.

Shamarh Brooks, the concussion substitute for Nkrumah Bonner, scored 11 before Lyon had him caught by Steve Smith at slip. Blackwood made 24 in which time he kept Brathwaite’s company for 82 minutes as the pair added 58 runs. He was brilliantly caught one-handed by Labuschagne off Lyon at short leg.

Earlier in the day, Marnus Labuschagne hit an unbeaten 104 to add to his first innings of 204 to become the third Australian with single and double centuries in a Test as Australia set the West Indies 498 runs to win. The Aussies declared on 182-2 at lunch with Labuschagne and Steve Smith 20 not out after having resumed the fourth day on 29-1. The home side scored 153 runs in the session in just 26 overs.

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