(Reuters) – Adam Voges scored 174 and Shaun Marsh 139 in an unbroken partnership of 317 runs to give Australia a commanding 438 for three at the close of play on the opening day of the first test against West Indies in Hobart yesterday.
The hosts are overwhelming favourites to win the three-match series and but for a slight wobble when they lost Steve Smith (10) and David Warner (64) before lunch, they simply dominated the tourists at Bellerive Oval.
West Indies had spoken of targeting what they perceived as a weakness in Australia’s middle order but thirtysomething Western Australians Voges and Marsh sent them straight back to the drawing board by batting through the last two sessions. “I’ve batted with Vogesy a lot of times for WA and to have that partnership today was pretty special,” Marsh told ABC radio. “I knew that if we just ground them down we could score some runs at the end of the day. Vogesy batted really well and got me going and I’m really happy that we both got hundreds.”
Voges, who made his debut against West Indies in Roseau earlier this year, secured his third century in 11 tests off exactly 100 deliveries from the penultimate ball before tea. Marsh matched him with his own third test century deep into the final session, pulling the 150th delivery he had faced through square leg for his ninth four to reach the milestone for the first time on home soil.
His partner did not allow Marsh to hog the limelight for long, however, and a reverse sweep for three runs soon brought up Voges’s first 150 in the longest form of the game. At the close of play, Voges had hit 19 boundaries and taken his tally of runs in his maiden year of test cricket to an impressive 827.
West Indies captain Jason Holder had a miserable day after losing the toss and could face a disciplinary action after only 50 overs were bowled in the first two sessions. His woes were compounded by a left ankle injury which left paceman Shannon Gabriel unable to bowl and booked in for scans on the joint on Thursday evening.
In the 10 overs he did bowl, Gabriel mixed the sloppy — a preposterous front-foot no ball — with the sublime — a 147.2 kilometres per hour rocket which went through the gate to bowl Australian opener Joe Burns for 33.
West Indies opted for a four-pronged pace attack but it was left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican who dismissed Warner and Smith to peg the Australians back after they had scored 70 runs in the first 10 overs. Voges put the 23-year-old Barbadian in his place by clubbing him for four boundaries in one over just after lunch, a statement of intent which presaged Australia’s dominance of the rest of the day. “We thought we were in a good position before lunch but the partnership between Voges and Marsh put us right on the back foot,” Warrican said. “We just weren’t disciplined and that put us into this hole.”