MELBOURNE, Australia, CMC – Another wretched batting collapse left a deflated West Indies hanging by a string against Australia and staring another humiliating defeat in the face after only two days of the pivotal second Test.
Under severe pressure after Australia piled up a daunting 551 for three declared in their first innings yesterday, the Windies displayed little character in reply and their innings lay in ruins at 91 for six, on a chastening day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
They were initial hopes the tourists would banish the nightmares of the Hobart first Test when opener Rajindra Chandrika, who made 25, and partner Kraigg Brathwaite, who got 17, added 35 for the first wicket.
But West Indies lost wickets in clusters. Three tumbled for 15 runs to leave them tottering on 50 for three and after Jermaine Blackwood, who struck 28, and Darren Bravo (13 not out), put on 32 for the fourth wicket, the Caribbean side lost another three wickets for a single run in the space of 15 deliveries, to crumble again.
The damage was done by left-arm spinner Nathan Lyon (2-18), along with fast bowlers Peter Siddle (2-19) and James Pattinson (2-36), all of whom picked up two wickets apiece to wreck the Windies innings.
Left-hander Bravo, who has faced 75 balls in a defiant knock, will carry his side’s fight on the third day along with debutant all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite who was unbeaten on three.
Captain Steve Smith had earlier punched his sixth century of the year and 13th of his career with an unbeaten 134 while Adam Voges, at age 36, notched his fourth century of his debut year, as Australia built on their overnight 345 for three. The right-handed Smith, unbeaten on 32 at the start, struck eight fours in an innings lasting 177 balls while Voges counted 12 fours off 166 deliveries, to follow up his brilliant unbeaten 269 in Hobart.
Together they posted 223 in an unbroken fourth wicket partnership as the Aussies added a further 206 before declaring an hour before tea, with West Indies all but deflated.
Fast bowler Jerome Taylor, who bowled just four overs on Sunday, finished with two for 97.
Chandrika and Brathwaite safely navigated their way to the break with the Windies on 33 without loss but things fell apart afterward.
With two runs added, the right-handed Brathwaite pushed firmly at the first ball of the second over after tea from Lyon and was taken at forward short-leg by Joe Burns off the inside edge.
His dismissal triggered a slump as Chandrika and Samuels, who failed to score, both fell with the score on 50, a few overs later.
Chandrika, who faced 76 balls and struck a single boundary, offered no stroke to Pattinson and was palpably lbw, and his recourse to DRS proved futile.
Samuels, a mere shadow of himself on tour so far, faced three balls before missing one from Pattinson that came back and was also lbw.
Blackwood joined the sedate Bravo to rally the innings, showing bold intent as he stroked four fours and a six off 46 balls.
He started circumspectly, facing 19 deliveries for his first two runs before accelerating. He punched Pattinson through mid-off for his first boundary and smacked the same bowler to the ropes at cover in his next over.
The right-handed Jamaican hammered two boundaries on either side of the wicket in the next over from seamer Josh Hazlewood and greeted the first ball of a new Lyon spell with a six over long-off.
His adventure cost him four balls later in the same over when he chipped a return catch to the bowler after coming down the track and being deceived in flight.
His fall marked the second cluster of wickets. Denesh Ramdin lasted four balls before whipping Siddle to a diving Burns at square leg to depart without scoring and captain Jason Holder was bowled off-stump first ball, to leave Siddle on a hat-trick.
Carlos Brathwaite survived the next delivery and then the next two overs, to stretch West Indies’ resistance into a third day.
AUSTRALIA 1st innings
(overnight 345 for three)
J Burns st Ramdin b K Brathwaite 128
D Warner c Samuels b Taylor 23
U Khawaja c wkp Ramdin b Taylor 144
*S Smith not out 134
A Voges not out 106
Extras (lb10, w4, nb2) 16
TOTAL (3 wkts, 135 overs) 551
Did not bat: M Marsh, +P Nevill, J Pattinson, P Siddle, J Hazlewood, N Lyon
Fall of wickets: 1-29 (Warner), 2-287 (Burns, 3-328 (Khawaja)
Bowling: Taylor 22-2-97-2, Roach 17-1-97-0, Holder 22-7-47-0 (nb2), C Brathwaite 30-3-109-0 (w4), Warrican 26-2-113-0, K Brathwaite 18-1-78-1.
WEST INDIES 1st Innings
K Brathwaite c Burns b Lyon 17
R Chandrika lbw b Pattinson 25
DM Bravo not out 13
M Samuels lbw b Pattinson 0
J Blackwood c & b Lyon 28
+D Ramdin c Burns b Siddle 0
*J Holder b Siddle 0
C Brathwaite not out 3
Extras (lb2, nb3) 5
TOTAL (6 wkts, 43 overs) 91
To bat: K Roach, J Taylor, J Warrican
Fall of wickets 1-35 (K Brathwaite), 2-50 (Chandrika), 3-50 (Samuels), 4-82 (Blackwood,), 5-83 (Ramdin), 6-83 (Holder)
Bowling: Hazlewood 11-5-16-0, Pattinson 10-1-36-2 (nb2), Lyon 11-5-18-2, Siddle 9-2-19-2 (nb1), Marsh 2-2-0-0.
Position: West Indies trail by 490 runs with four first innings wickets intact.
Toss: West Indies.
Umpires: M Erasmus, C Gaffaney; TV – I Gould.