MELBOURNE, Australia, CMC – Hundreds by Usman Khawaja and Jose Burns condemned under-fire West Indies to another torrid day in the field, as Australia dominated the opening day of the Boxing Day Test here yesterday.
Opting to field first at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in the second Test of the three-match series, West Indies quickly came under the sword as Khawaja stroked 144 and opener Burns, 128, two innings which propelled the hosts to 345 for three.
Fast bowler Jerome Taylor was the best of the bowlers with two for 83 but the remainder of the attack struggled to make an impression on an MCG surface good for batting.
West Indies made a good start, claiming the dangerous David Warner for a cameo 23 off 12 balls inside the first half-hour following a delayed start due to rain, but Khawaja and Burns added 258 for the second wicket – a partnership that killed off the tourists’ chance of making any immediate future inroads.
Captain Steve Smith was unbeaten on 32 at the close.
Needing a strong start following their disaster of the opening Test in Hobart, West Indies got exactly the opposite with the left-handed Warner collecting boundaries off the first three deliveries of the day’s second over sent down by seamer Kemar Roach.
Warner followed up with another two fours off Taylor in the next over as Australia raced to 27 without loss after only three overs.
Taylor got his revenge in is next over, the fifth of the morning, with the score on 29 when Warner tried to pull a short one from outside off but only succeeded in lobbing a catch to cover where Marlon Samuels took the offering on the third attempt.
Khawaja, who missed the opening Test through injury, then joined Burns to end any hope West Indies had of taking the advantage.
Left-hander Khawaja faced 227 balls and struck six fours and a six while Burns, a right-hander, hit 16 fours and a six in an innings requiring 230 balls.
They took the Aussies to lunch at 70 for one and then controlled the second session, to be in sight of triple figures by the time tea arrived at 193 without further loss.
Burns, unbeaten on 27 at lunch, was the first to his half-century. He moved into the 30s with two boundaries off debutant fast bowler Carlos Brathwaite in the second over on resumption and was quickly into the 40s a couple of overs later when he steered Taylor the ropes at third man.
In Taylor’s next over, Burn collected three runs to cover to complete his fourth half-century in his seventh Test.
Khawaja, meanwhile, erred on the side of caution. On 18 at lunch, he was measured after the break and needed a further 43 deliveries before bringing up his half-century with a cut to the backward point boundary off Roach.
Khawaja was 84 at tea and Burns, 83, and both batsmen sped to three figures on resumption. Burns cleared the ropes at extra cover with left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican in the first over and followed up with a flowing drive to the cover point boundary.
Not to be left out, Khawaja’s retort was two back-to-back boundaries off Taylor in the next over, as he joined his partner in the 90s.
Burns reached his second Test hundred in the fifth over after the break with three square on the off-side off Warrican and Khawaja joined him two balls later when he took a single to square leg.
For Khawaja, it was his third hundred in consecutive Tests.
Part-time off-spinner Kraigg Brathwaite eventually got the breakthrough when he had Burns stumped in his fifth over at 287 for two and Khawaja added 41 with Smith for the third wicket before he dismissed five overs before the close, brushing a leg-side catch behind off Taylor.