Aus stage a comeback after Homeric collapse at The Gabba

Brisbane, (UNI) Australia staged a comeback into the match against West Indies, despite a Homeric collapse of their top-order sparked by Kemar Roach’s three-fer on Day 2 of the first Test at The Gabba here on Friday.

West Indies reigned supreme on the back of debutant Kevin Sinclair’s maiden Test fifty, and a blazing spell by West Indies pacers, reducing Australia to 24/4 at one stage, in reply to their 311 in their first innings.

Despite this, Australia made risky calls to stay ahead of the steaming West Indians, with Alex Carey going overboard to make quick runs, and Pat Cummins joining the party towards the end, before declaring the innings at 289/9 to put under the pump the frangible West Indies top-order in the remaining 25 minutes of the day.

Resuming from the overnight score of 266/8, Sinclair frustrated Australia with his maiden Test fifty. He was lucky to have been dropped by Cameron Green on 30 and was involved in a runout with Roach as his partner.

Sinclair hammered a couple of boundaries and a six to get to his maiden Test fifty before Lyon had him stumped by Carey.

In reply, Australia started poorly with Windies pacers casting carnage upon their top-order. Roach dismissed Steve Smith in his very first over, trapping him leg before for 6 on a DRS.

Marnus Labuschagne poked at Alzarri Joseph outside off as the ball sailed into the hands of Sinclair who pulled off a screamer diving to his right at fourth slip.

In his fifth over, Roach dealt two more blows. He first removed Cameron Green chipping straight into the hands of captain Kraigg Brathwaite at mid-off, and in the very next ball had Travis Head nicking behind as umpires called for Tea.

Pushed to the walls, Australia came out with a plan to tear apart the West Indies attack, and leading it was Mitchell Marsh. He slashed Alzarri to the third-man fence and then smashed him for two more boundaries, but the West Indies pacer put an end to an enthralling 21-run cameo shortly after Tea.

Carey was lucky as the bail just rolled onto the stumps after Shamar Joseph’s ball kissed it batting on 8. Thenceforth, the Aussie wicketkeeper assumed an aggressor’s mantle and smacked three consecutive cover drives for boundaries. He also unsettled Sinclair as he greeted him with three boundaries in his very first over of his Test career.

Continuing with his aggression, Carey lofted Sinclair into the long-off stands before reaching his fifty from 38 balls. As he was cruising, Shamar was brought in and immediately bore fruits for the Windies. He had the Aussie wicketkeeper caught at deep square-leg for 65 from 49 balls before stitching a 96-run sixth-wicket stand with Usman Khawaja.

Mitchell Starc nicked Alzarri to Carey at the stroke of dinner with Australia still 150 behind West Indies. Cummins was lucky post-break as Kirk McKenzie dropped him in the slips.

From thereon, the Aussie skipper went about getting an invaluable 64 not out, crushing West Indies strides as they hurled a barrage of short-pitch deliveries. He did not miss an opportunity to dispatch the loose ones though, smoking 8 boundaries and a six in his brisk 73-ball knock, taking his side past 200 runs mark.

Australia declared at the fall of Lyon’s wicket with a 22-run deficit and under an hour left in the day’s play. The decision paid off in the closing minutes of play with Josh Hazlewood picking up Tagenarine Chanderpaul cheaply after availing DRS in the final over of the day following the straight umpire’s denial.

As the day ended, West Indies were 13/1 in their second innings, leading Australia by 35 runs.

Brief scores: West Indies 311 & 13/1 (Josh Hazlewood 1-2) lead Australia 289/9 dec (Usman Khawaja 75, Alex Carey 65, Pat Cummins 64*; Alzarri Joseph 4-84, Kemar Roach 3-47) by 35 runs.

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