Second Test: Hodge, Da Silva stand wrecks Aussie momentum

Brisbane, Jan 25 (UNI) Kavem Hodge and Joshua Da Silva stole the momentum from Australia with their record-breaking partnership for West Indies in the opening day of the Pink Ball NRMA Insurance Test between Australia and West Indies here on Thursday.

After losing five wickets for 64 runs in 25.2 overs, Hodge and Da Silva put up a 149 runs partnership for the sixth wicket in a remarkable fightback, helping West Indies head to stumps at 266/8.

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite won the toss and opted to bat on a straw-white track, but Tagenarine Chanderpaul (21) and himself struggled to middle the ball.

Josh Hazlewood trapped Brathwaite lbw in the first ball of the second over, but the skipper reviewed, and slow-motion replay confirmed a thick edge. But he did not last long as Hazlewood had the WI skipper caught behind for four with the score reading 9/1 30 minutes into play.

Kirk McKenzie (21) continued with his aggressive batting style, smacking Nathan Lyon for six over long-on despite failing to get anywhere near the pitch of the ball.

McKenzie was undone after smacking 3 boundaries in a 25-ball knock. He lashed at a shortish teaser from Pat Cummins which flew to Usman Khawaja at first slip.

A little later, Hazlewood almost had Chanderpaul after his edge flew between first and second slip for a boundary. In the very next over Mitchell Starc found the same edge, but this time the ball flew straight to Steve Smith at second slip.

Starc stuck to the same tactic to the left-handed Alick Athanaze and soon enough it paid dividends, another edge this time finding the safe gloves of Alex Carey.

Justin Greaves was out of the blocks with the sort of burst that would have made his fellow Bajan Obadele Thompson proud, cover-driving Starc for four from his first ball.

But there was time enough before lunch for Starc to get his own back, which was his No. 350 wicket, bringing him near to Dennis Lillee’s one-time world record mark of 355.

It had been half an hour of carnage – a mid-innings collapse of 4-22 – and doubtless many at the Gabba were envisaging another two-and-a-bit day Test.

Faced with a barrage of short balls, Da Silva ducked and weaved and occasionally pulled in a defiant performance that showed the sort of mettle the Windies batting had sorely lacked in the series opener.

Hodge was also forced to deal with more than his fair share of bumpers, hooking Starc for six early in his innings as the pair confidently pushed the score past 100.

As they settled into their stand, the two right-handers got some more opportunities to drive a softening pink ball and cashed in, adding 88 through the first wicket-less session of the series.

And the rearguard continued well into the final session as each batter went past fifty. Cummins tried his luck with no fewer than eight bowlers, but none could force a breakthrough, and when the partnership reached 139 with the score at 5-203, it became the highest against the unbeaten Australians in day-night Test cricket.

They added 10 more together when Da Silva was at last trapped lbw by Nathan Lyon. He referred the decision but it was upheld, ending a superb innings on 79.

Hodge was joined in the middle by Guyanese debutant Kevin Sinclair (16no), who has come into this side in place of fellow spinner Gudakesh Motie in the Windies’ lone change from Adelaide.

The pair soon had to face up to the new pink ball under lights and a second breakthrough for Australia came when Starc claimed his fourth wicket, the speedster pitching up and swinging in only for Hodge (71) to nick to Smith at second slip.

Perhaps emboldened by their resistance, the Windies’ eighth-wicket pair, Sinclair and Alzarri Joseph (32) continued throwing punches towards the close, with 48 runs coming from 9.4 overs with the second ball.

Hazlewood had the final say before stumps, forcing Joseph to nick through to Smith, who held a third catch, but the tourists could hold their heads high after going toe-to-toe with the Australians through an absorbing opening day.

Leave a Reply