Brathwaite fights back in opener after Labuschagne landmark

PERTH, Australia (AP) — 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 an unlikely 498 runs to win the opening test.

West Indies reached stumps Saturday at 192-3 in its second innings in 62 overs on the fourth day, needing another 306 runs for what would be a sensational victory.

Australia earlier 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.

The 81-run stand between Labuschagne and Smith followed their 251-run third-wicket stand in the first innings where Smith also scored an unbeaten 200.

The only other Australians to score a century and double century in a test were Greg Chappell and Doug Walters against New Zealand and the West Indies, respectively.

The home side hit up a formidable 598-4 declared in its first innings and dismissed the West Indies for 283.

West Indies skipper Kraigg Brathwaite led the resistance in the second innings with a fighting 101 not out, his 11th ton in 80 tests, and laid the platform with debutant opener Tagenarine Chanderpaul (45) in a 116-run opening stand.

During the innings Brathwaite became the 13th West Indies batter to complete 5,000 test runs. He has faced 166 balls and hit 11 fours, and will resume Sunday with Kyle Mayers, who is yet to score.

This innings was special for Brathwaite,

“For me it means everything,” Brathwaite said. “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.”

Brathwaite has faith in his side saving the test — or even winning it.

“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,” Brathwaite said.

Brathwaite weathered an Australian attack minus skipper Pat Cummins, with the visitors hoping to salvage a draw from a seemingly hopeless position.

Australia has 90 overs left, including the availability of the second new ball, on the last day to take seven wickets.

The wicket has played true for the best part but the odd ball has kept low with cracks opening and batting may become difficult Sunday.

Cummins was nursing a right-side soreness and did not take the field until the fall of Chanderpaul’s wicket which was 153 minutes into the innings. Cummins' soreness will be further assessed before he is cleared to bowl.

Cummins wrecked the West Indies first innings with 3-34 as the tourists collapsed from 245-4 to 283 all out.

Chanderpaul was dropped by Mitchell Starc at long leg off a top-edged hook off Cameron Green. West Indies was 109-1.

But in the next over, Starc made amends and bowled Chanderpaul to end the opening resistance. It was an impressive debut by Chanderpaul, the son of former batting great Shivnarine Chanderpaul. He scored 51 in the first innings.

Shamarh Brooks, the concussion substitute for Nkrumah Bonner, scored 20 before offspinner Nathan Lyon had him caught by Steve Smith in the slips.

Jermaine Blackwood survived two appeals in the first three balls he faced. He survived an unsuccessful review by Australia for a catch behind, and two balls later Blackwood successfully reviewed an lbw after being adjudged out off fast bowler Josh Hazlewood.

Blackwood finally fell for 24 after keeping Brathwaite company for 82 minutes as the pair added 58 runs. He was brilliantly caught one-handed by Labuschagne off Lyon, who has 2-54 in 22 overs.

Earlier, Labuschagne’s near run-a-ball knock helped Australia declare at lunch after resuming the day on 29-1. The hosts went on a leatherhunt, smashing 153 runs in 26 overs to hurry the declaration.

Labuschagne, 28, became the first Australian in 48 years to score a double hundred and a century in a test. He joined Walters (242 and 103 against the West Indies in Sydney in February 1969) and Chappell (247 not out and 133 against New Zealand in Wellington in March 1974). Labuschagne, playing his 29th test, is the ninth batsman overall in an elite group including Walters and Chappell, West Indians Laurence Rowe and Brian Lara, Indian Sunil Gavaskar, Englishman Graham Gooch, and Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara.

“I haven’t had the time to reflect on it yet,” Labuschagne said. “Feel privileged to be able to be even named with those players in that club.”

Labuschagne survived a catch when he top-edged Alzarri Joseph's no-ball via his helmet to Brooks at gully. The righthander was in punishing mood as he raced to his century at lunch. He had begun the day on just three runs.

Labuschagne smashed two sixes and 13 fours and had faced 110 balls.

Opener David Warner (48) edged a catch via his pad to Brooks at short leg as offpspinner Roston Chase gave the tourist the first break of the day.

The second test in a two-match series is a day-night test at Adelaide beginning Dec. 8.


More AP cricket: and