PERTH, Australia (CMC) — Debutant Tagenarine Chanderpaul was closing in on a defiant half-century after surviving a stern examination by Australia's quicks, as West Indies emerged unscathed from a difficult final session on an exhausting day two of the first Test at Perth Stadium.
Facing a daunting challenge after Marnus Labuschagne (204) and Steven Smith (200 not out) compiled double hundreds to power Australia to a mammoth 598 for four declared, West Indies reached 74 without loss at the close to keep the ravenous host attack without success.
The 26-year-old Chanderpaul, the son of Test legend Shivnarine Chanderpaul, was unbeaten on a courageous 47 with his Captain Kraigg Brathwaite on 18, the pair forced to survive the better part of two hours to ensure West Indies entered Friday's day three with all 10 wickets intact.
With the spotlight understandably falling on Chanderpaul, he received a relentless work over during his 73-ball stay at the crease.
He edged a couple of streaky boundaries through the cordon off quick deliveries, was struck in the groin by Josh Hazlewood triggering on-field attention before taking a few blows to the chest off short balls from Hazlewood and Captain Pat Cummins.
On four, he also survived a review for lbw off left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc, with DRS adjudging umpire's call and upholding the original not out decision.
Unfazed, the left-handed Chanderpaul unleashed a couple of rasping cuts to the square boundary and a few sweetly timed drives down the ground to account for his six fours, while audaciously hooking Cummins over long leg for six.
In contrast Brathwaite, who also survived a review for caught behind off Cummins on 16, struck a single four and faced 79 balls in his sedate knock.
"I know he's a fighter so it isn't surprising," Brathwaite said regarding his junior partner's gutsy innings.
"He always takes his time and bats and he bats long periods. It was good to see but obviously you need to continue tomorrow."
The first two sessions were dominated by Australia, however, Travis Head adding to that air of superiority with 99 — falling agonisingly short of his fifth Test hundred.
Resuming on their overnight 293 for two, Australia flourished through Labuschagne and Smith who extended their third wicket stand to 251.
Unbeaten on 154 at the start, Labuschagne faced 350 balls all told and counted 20 fours and a six in posting his second Test double while Smith, resuming on 59, struck 17 fours in a 311-ball innings to mark his 29th Test hundred and third double.
Smith, who went 18 months without a Test hundred until his unbeaten 145 in Galle last July, was first to his landmark half-hour before lunch, when he pinched a single to long on off off-spinner Roston Chase.
Labuschagne's followed in the penultimate over before lunch when he carved seamer Jayden Seales to the cover boundary but he then fell to the first delivery of the next over — caught at the wicket off part-time off spinner Kraigg Brathwaite (2-65) — to signal the interval.
Smith, unbeaten on 114 at the interval, then combined with Head in a 196-run, fourth wicket stand which kept West Indies without success in the second session as Australia gathered 166 runs at a robust clip.
The left-handed Head, who counted 11 fours in a breezy 95-ball knock, looked a sure bet for triple figures when he reached tea on 80 with Smith on 189.
But after Smith completed his double in the fifth over following the resumption, Head tasted disappointment a few balls later in the same over, dragging on a defensive stroke to an innocuous delivery from Brathwaite.
AUSTRALIA 1st Innings
(overnight 293 for two)
D Warner b Seales 5
U Khawaja c wkp Da Silva b Mayers 65
M Labuschagne c wkp Da Silva b Brathwaite 204
S Smith not out 200
T Head b Brathwaite 99
Extras (b13, lb2, w5, nb5) 25
TOTAL (4 wkts decl, 152.4 overs) 598
Did not bat: C Green, +A Carey, *P Cummins. M Starc, N Lyon, J Hazlewood
Fall of wickets: 1-9, 2-151, 3-402, 4-598.
Bowling: Roach 26-3-91-0 (nb2), Seales 21-3-95-1 (w1), Joseph 24-4-83-0 (w2, nb1), Mayers 15-2-39-1, Holder 23-6-70-0 (nb1), Chase 31-2-140-0, Brathwaite 12.4-0-65-2.
WEST INDIES 1st Innings
K Brathwaite not out 18
T Chanderpaul not out 47
Extras (lb7, nb2) 9
TOTAL (without loss, 25 overs) 74
To bat: N Bonner, J Blackwood, K Mayers, R Chase, J Holder, +J Da Silva, A Joseph, K Roach, J Seales.
Bowling: Starc 7-2-15-0, Hazlewood 8-1-31-o (nb2), Cummins 6-1-15-0, Lyon 4-1-6-0.
Position: West Indies trail by 524 runs with all 10 first innings wickets intact.
Umpires: Richard Illingworth, Rod Tucker; TV – Kumar Dharmasena.