Windies openers drop anchor after Aussies post big score
West Indies Kraigg Brathwaite (left) and Test debutant Tagenarine Chanderpaul (right). Photo: Cricket West Indies

West Indies openers Kraigg Brathwaite and debutant Tagenarine Chanderpaul fought hard on the second evening to ensure West Indies did not lose any wickets in a testing 90-minute period.

After Australia declared their first innings at 598/4, the pair was forced to combat a barrage of short and menacing bowling from the Aussie pace attack on Thursday. They will resume on Friday at 74/0 with the left-handed Chanderpaul on an impressive 47 not out off 73 balls, and the skipper on 18 not out off 79 balls.

Chanderpaul got off the mark with a boundary off Mitchel Starc but took a painful blow on the groin from fast bowler Josh Hazlewood and had to be treated on the field by physio Dr Denis Byam. He recovered and soldiered on and also hooked skipper Pat Cummins for a towering six over long leg and way back into the stands.

It was a superb demonstration of toughness in the face of tremendous pressure in his first knock at the highest level.

Brathwaite addressed the media after stumps on his birthday and said he was happy with the fight demonstrated so far.

Earlier, double centuries by Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith allowed Australia to declare a big total. Labuschagne scored 204, his second double century, and was out to the last ball before lunch, caught behind off Brathwaite’s off-spin.

Smith reached 200 not out and Australia declared when Travis Head was out on 99 after playing on to Brathwaite.

West Indies will have a lot of work to do when play resumes on Friday at 10:20 am (10:20 pm Thursday Eastern Caribbean/9:20 pm Thursday Jamaica) and they will look to carry the momentum into the third day and beyond.

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