Brian Lara to assist Cricket West Indies as Performance Mentor

Cricket West Indies (CWI) today announced that former West Indies Captain and batting legend, Brian Lara, has agreed to assist CWI as a Performance Mentor – working across all international Teams and with input into the West Indies Academy.

Lara’s new role will be to support the various Head Coaches in providing players with tactical advice and improving their game sense, as well as working closely with the Director of Cricket on ICC World Cup Tournament strategic planning.

Jimmy Adams, CWI Director of Cricket said, “I am really looking forward to Brian making a significant contribution to our cricket system by providing invaluable guidance and advice to our players and coaches. We are confident that Brian will help to improve our high-performance mindset and strategic culture that will bring us more success on the field across all formats. Everyone is excited to have Brian involved in supporting our players.”

Brian Lara said, “Having spent time with the players and coaches in Australia and in discussions with CWI, I really believe that I can help the players with their mental approach to the game and with their tactics to be more successful. I’m looking forward to joining the group in Zimbabwe and the opportunity to work with other West Indies teams later in the year.”

Lara’s first assignment will be with the West Indies Test squad. He has joined the Test squad in Zimbabwe where he will assist in the team’s preparations ahead of the first Test Match in Bulawayo on 4 February 2023.

Defending Champions Barbados to face Guyana in WI Championship opener

Cricket West Indies (CWI) today announced the match schedule and venues for the first two rounds of the West Indies Championship, the region’s first-class four-day red ball tournament, which will be played in Antigua and Grenada. The tournament will open with the Windward Islands Volcanoes hosting the Trinidad & Tobago Red Force at the Grenada National Stadium (GNS). This match will start on 31 January and will continue on 1 to 3 February.

In Antigua, defending champions the Barbados Pride will start their bid for a third straight title when they face Guyana Harpy Eagles in the feature match at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium (SVRS) on 1 to 4 February. The third contest will see the Leeward Islands Hurricanes hosting the Jamaica Scorpions at the Coolidge Cricket Ground (CCG) from 1 to 4 February.

The second round will be played from 8 to 11 February when the Barbados Pride will meet the Jamaica Scorpions at CCG; Trinidad & Tobago Red Force travel to face the Leeward Islands Hurricanes at the SVRS, and the Guyana Harpy Eagles take on the Windward Islands Volcanoes at the GNS.

The third round of the West Indies Championship resumes on 15 March with the final round concluding on 1 April when the 2023 Champions will be crowned and presented with the Headley Weekes Trophy. The final three rounds will all be played in Trinidad and the venues will be announced at a later date.

Roland Holder, CWI’s Manager of Cricket Operations said: “We are happy to announce the match schedule and venues for the first two rounds of the West Indies Championship, our flagship regional tournament on the annual calendar. The six teams have been preparing diligently for the upcoming season and we expect to see keen competition this year as they battle for the Headley Weekes trophy. From the tournament, the best performers also have the reward of playing for Team Weekes and Team Headley in the new tournament announced by CWI scheduled for April and May.”

The new Headley Weekes Series will follow the West Indies Championship and will feature three matches and three teams. Team Headley and Team Weekes will select from the best performers in the 2023 West Indies Championship and players outside the starting West Indies Test XI. The new West Indies Academy will provide the third team in the new Series.

Team Headley and Team Weekes are named in honour of West Indies pioneers and legendary batting greats George Headley and Sir Everton Weekes, whose names are also honoured on the Trophy for the winners of the West Indies Championship. All three matches will be played from 18 April to 6 May at CCG in Antigua.

Every West Indies Championship match will be streamed live on the Windies Cricket YouTube channel. Fans can follow each and every game from their mobile devices, computers or connected TVs, including access to live ball-by-ball scoring on the Windiescricket.com live match centre.

2023 WEST INDIES CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH SCHEDULE

All matches start at 10am Eastern Caribbean time (9am Jamaica time)

GNS – Grenada National Stadium, Grenada

SVRS – Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua

CCG – Coolidge Cricket Ground, Antigua

ROUND 1:

31 January to 3 February – Grenada

Windward Islands Volcanoes v Trinidad & Tobago Red Force at GNS

1 to 4 February – Antigua

Barbados Pride v Guyana Harpy Eagles at SVRS

Leeward Islands Hurricanes v Jamaica Scorpions at CCG

ROUND 2:

8 to 11 February – Grenada and Antigua

Windward Islands Volcanoes v Guyana Harpy Eagles at GNS

Leeward Islands Hurricanes v Trinidad and Tobago Red Force at SVRS

Jamaica Scorpions v Barbados Pride at CCG

ROUND 3:

15 to 18 March in Trinidad – Venues to be confirmed

Trinidad and Tobago Red Force v Guyana Harpy Eagles

Jamaica Scorpions v Windward Islands Volcanoes

Leeward Islands Hurricanes v Barbados Pride

ROUND 4:

22 to 25 March in Trinidad – Venues to be confirmed

Trinidad & Tobago Red Force v Barbados Pride

Guyana Harpy Eagles vs Jamaica Scorpions

Leeward Islands Hurricanes v Windward Islands Volcanoes

ROUND 5:

29 March to 1 April in Trinidad – Venues to be confirmed

Trinidad & Tobago Red Force v Jamaica Scorpions

Guyana Harpy Eagles v Leeward Islands Hurricanes

Barbados Pride v Windward Islands Volcanoes

Headley Weekes Tri-Series

All matches to be played at CCG, Antigua

Match 1: 19 to 22 April: Team Headley v West Indies Academy

Match 2: 26 to 29 April: Team Weekes v West Indies Academy

Match 3: 3 to 6 May: Team Weekes v Team Headley

Motie, Gabriel & Warrican recalled to WI side for Zimbabwe tests

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – The Cricket West Indies’ (CWI) Men’s Selection Panel today announced the 15-member squad for the upcoming two-match Test Series in Zimbabwe, starting on 4 February. The Selection Panel recalled experienced fast bowler Shannon Gabriel, as well as left-arm spinners Gudakesh Motie and Jomel Warrican.

Gabriel has taken 161 wickets in 56 Tests, placing him joint 12th in the West Indies all-time wicket-takers list and more recently was the joint-leading wicket taker in the CG United Super50 Cup for the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in November last year.

Gabriel’s last Test Match was against Sri Lanka in November 2021. Warrican’s last international appearance was also in Sri Lanka in December 2021 when he played in both matches in the Test Series. Motie made his Test debut for West Indies in Antigua in June 2022 in the first Test of the two-match Series victory against Bangladesh.

Jayden Seales is unavailable for selection following a knee injury and subsequent surgery; while Anderson Phillip is also unavailable due to injury.

Lead Selector, The Most Hon Dr Desmond Haynes said: “This is the start of the international calendar for 2023 and we will hope to start with a win. We appreciate it won’t be as easy assignment as Zimbabwe, like most other teams in world cricket, play very well on their home soil on pitches that will support their style of play.”

Haynes added: “We looked at the conditions we anticipate playing in, and have included two left-arm spinners who didn’t go to Australia in Motie and Warrican. With our fast bowlers, Seales has done extremely well for us since he started back in 2021, but with him unavailable we have decided that Gabriel would be best able to fill that role. He (Gabriel) is an experienced bowler who has been at the international level for over 10 years and has knowledge of the conditions in Zimbabwe when we won there in 2017.”

West Indies will play both Test matches at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo, with the first Test running from 4 to 8 February, and the second match from 12 to 16 February. Ahead of the two-Test Series, West Indies will have a three-day warm-up match against a local side set for 28 to 30 January at Bulawayo Athletic Club. All matches start at 10am local time (4am Eastern Caribbean/3am Jamaica).

The last Test Series between Zimbabwe and the West Indies was also played at Queens Sports Club in October 2017. West Indies won the two-match Series 1-0, winning the first contest by 117 runs with the second Test ending in a draw.

FULL SQUAD

Kraigg Brathwaite (captain)

Jermaine Blackwood (vice captain)

Nkrumah Bonner

Tagnarine Chanderpaul

Roston Chase

Joshua Da Silva

Shannon Gabriel

Jason Holder

Alzarri Joseph

Kyle Mayers

Gudakesh Motie

Raymon Reifer

Kemar Roach

Devon Thomas

Jomel Warrican

MATCH SCHEDULE

28-30 January: three-day warm-up match at Bulawayo Athletic Club

4-8 February: 1st Test at Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo

12-16 February: 2nd Test at Queens Sports Club

2023 West Indies Championship schedule to be followed by new Headley Weekes Series

Cricket West Indies (CWI) today announced a new innovation for the long format of the game, with the addition of a triangular red-ball tournament to start at the end of the West Indies Championship in April, 2023. The new Headley Weekes Series will feature three matches and three teams. Team Headley and Team Weekes will be selected from the best performers in the 2023 West Indies Championship and players outside the starting West Indies Test XI. The new West Indies Academy will provide the third team in the new Series.

Team Headley and Team Weekes are named in honour of West Indies pioneers and legendary batting greats George Headley and Sir Everton Weekes, whose names are also honoured on the Trophy for the winners of the West Indies Championship. The matches will be played from 18 April to 6 May at Coolidge Cricket Ground (CCG) in Antigua.

Before that, the 2023 edition of West Indies Championship will be played across five rounds of four-day, red ball cricket featuring the six regional Franchise teams – defending champions Barbados Pride, Guyana Harpy Eagles, Jamaica Scorpions, Leeward Islands Hurricanes, Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, and Windward Islands Volcanoes.

The 2023 West Indies Championship commences in February. The first two rounds will be played from 1 February to 11 February in Grenada at the National Stadium and in Antigua at the CCG and the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium (SVRS). There will then be a break and the tournament will resume on 15 March and run until 1 April for the final three rounds, after which the champions will be crowned and presented with the Headley Weekes Trophy. These matches will be played in Trinidad at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy (BLCA), Queens Park Oval (QPO) and the Diego Martin Sports Complex (DMSC).

Johnny Grave, CEO of CWI said: “We are delighted to unveil the Headley Weekes Series, which is a new idea that will extend the four-day season, create more opportunities for our players to showcase their skills and will be a huge incentive for them to strive towards selection into our ‘A’ Team, and ultimately our Test Team. It will also provide some strong competitive red-ball cricket for our new West Indies Academy Players as we continue to try to ensure that the next generation of players are being prepared along the pathway to international cricket. Whilst the West Indies Championship is once again going to be played on a ‘one’ round, five-match basis, with the plans we have for our ‘A’ Team and Academy to go on overseas tours after the Headley Weekes Series we expect our best players in the region will still play at least ten four-day games in the first half of next year.”

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULES

West Indies Championship 2023

(for Headley Weekes trophy)

1 to 4 February: 1st round in Grenada and Antigua

8 to 11 February: 2nd round in Grenada and Antigua

15 to 18 March: 3rd round in Trinidad

22 to 25 March: 4th round in Trinidad

29 March to 1 April: 5th round in Trinidad

Full Fixtures to be announced soon

Headley Weekes Tri-Series

(to be played at CCG)

19 to 22 April: Team Headley v West Indies Academy

26 to 29 April: Team Weekes vs West Indies Academy

3 to 6 May: Team Weekes vs Team Headley

Andre Coley appointed Interim Head WI Coach for Zimbabwe & SA Tours

Andre Coley has been named as the Interim Head Coach of the West Indies Men’s team for the upcoming tour of southern Africa. Following a meeting of the Cricket West Indies’ (CWI) Board of Directors on Monday 19 December, CWI announced that Coley will oversee the two-Test tour of Zimbabwe from 28 January to 16 February, as well as the multi-format tour of South Africa, which includes two Tests, three One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and three T20 Internationals (T20Is) from 21 February to 28 March.

Coley said: “To be asked to oversee the West Indies team on the upcoming tours of Zimbabwe and South Africa is a special honour. West Indies cricket holds a special place in my heart. The upcoming assignment will be challenging as we will come up against two teams in their home conditions. We will need to ensure that our planning and preparation are appropriate, and demonstrate consistency in the execution of these plans, to give ourselves the best opportunity to achieve positive results.”

He added: “The players, I’m sure, are enthusiastic about the opportunities that both series should offer and are eager to contribute to our team’s success. I look forward to the tours ahead and the opportunity to make a tangible and meaningful contribution to the growth of West Indies cricket.”

Jimmy Adams, CWI Director of Cricket said: “We welcome Andre back to the West Indies dressing room and with his wealth of knowledge of the game, player-management skills, dedication and hard work, as well as attention to detail, we know he is well equipped. He is a highly experienced coach who has functioned at every level within the CWI High-Performance Pathway. This has prepared him for the job at hand and we expect he will again approach this new role with the same vigor and zeal which have characterized his time in the CWI coaching system and has earned the respect of players and everyone who he has interacted with.”

Coley, a former Jamaica wicket-keeper/batter, is currently Head Coach of the CWI Academy programme. While Andre Coley fulfils the interim role, CWI’s High-Performance Manager Graeme West will oversee the West Indies Academy programme, supported by the Director of Cricket, Jimmy Adams to ensure there are no disruptions to the Academy programme during the period.

Coley previously served as the Assistant Academy Head Coach and Interim Academy Head Coach when the Sagicor Academy was launched in 2010. He was also Head Coach of the West Indies U19 Team; Assistant Coach of the West Indies Men’s and Women’s Teams, as well as Head Coach of Jamaica Scorpions and Windward Islands Volcanoes, who were the 2018 Super50 Cup Champions.

In 2016 he was Assistant Coach of the West Indies Men’s Team which won the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup and earlier this year he was Assistant Coach of Jamaica Tallawahs when they captured the Caribbean Premier League title.

CWI also confirmed that the contracts of Assistant Coaches Roddy Estwick and Monty Desai had ended.

Adams said: “I’d like to thank Roddy and Monty for their hard work and dedication in supporting the team over the last few years and wish them the very best in the future.”

TOUR SCHEDULES

West Indies in Zimbabwe

28 to 31 January: four-day warm-up at Bulawayo Athletic Sports Club

4 to 8 February: 1st Test at Queens Sports Club

12 to 16 February: 2nd Test at Queens Sports Club

West Indies in South Africa

21 to 24 February: vs South Africa Invitational XI at Willowmoore Park, Benoni

28 February to 4 March: 1st Test at SuperSport Park, Centurion

8-12 March: 2nd Test at Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg

16 March: 1st ODI at Buffalo Park, East London (day/night)

18 March: 2nd ODI at Buffalo Park, East London (day/night)

21 March: 3rd ODI at JB Marks Oval, Potchefstroom

25 March: 1st T20Is at SuperSport Park, Centurion

26 March: 2nd T20I at SuperSport Park, Centurion

28 March: 3rd T20I at Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg (night)

WI set for 2-test tour of Zimbabwe

The West Indies Men’s team will start their 2023 international year with two Test matches against Zimbabwe. The visitors will play both matches at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) confirmed the schedule on Wednesday, with the first Test slated for 4-8 February, and the second Test match for 12-16 February. Ahead of the two-Test rubber West Indies will have a four-day warm-up match against a local side set for 28-31 January at Bulawayo Athletic Club.

All matches start at 10am local time (4am Eastern Caribbean/3am Jamaica).

Jimmy Adams, CWI’s Director of Cricket said: “The tour to Zimbabwe early in 2023 will be an important part of our 2023 Test programme, which also includes series against South Africa and India. Having produced some good results early in 2022, the team will be eager to begin the year with strong performances in Zimbabwe.”

Zimbabwe’s last Test match was way back in July 2021 against Bangladesh in Harare and, according ZC Director of Cricket Hamilton Masakadza, they will be eager to make the most of the upcoming series.

“We are pleased to confirm the West Indies will be visiting us for two Test matches that will be played in Bulawayo,” Masakadza said.

“Although it’s been a while since we last played Test cricket, our boys will be hungry and ready for some red-ball action and I believe an exciting series against one of the game’s top sides is on the cards.”

The last Test Series between Zimbabwe and the West Indies was also played at Queens Sports Club in October 2017. West Indies clinched the two-match series having won the first game by 117 runs while the second match ended in a draw.

MATCH SCHEDULE

28-31 January: four-day warm-up match at Bulawayo Athletic Club

4-8 February: 1st Test at Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo

12-16 February: 2nd Test at Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo

CWI congratulates Sir Clive Lloyd on prestigious award from University of Guyana

Cricket West Indies (CWI) has congratulated Sir Clive Lloyd on being awarded an Honorary Doctorate from The University of Guyana. The legendary former West Indies captain received the honor for being an exemplar in the field of sport, management and leadership during the university’s graduation ceremony in Georgetown on Friday.

Ricky Skerritt, President of CWI said: “We want to congratulate Sir Clive on this well-deserved honor bestowed on him by the University of Guyana. Sir Clive’s leadership style brought unity and pride to his team. His vision and passion on the game and his respect and trust for his colleagues were the driving forces behind his immense success as he drove the West Indies to become a sporting dynasty. We celebrate with Sir Clive as he receives this valued award for his service to Guyana and West Indies cricket.”

Sir Clive was captain of the West Indies team during a period of unprecedented dominance, which included winning the Cricket World Cup in 1975 and 1979. He played 110 Test matches between 1966 and 1985, where he scored 7,515 runs with 19 centuries. He also played 87 ODIs and made 1,977 runs with a best score of 102 in the 1975 World Cup final against Australia at Lord’s.

Labuschagne and Head post dominant twin tons

Australia 330 for 3 (Labuschagne 120, Head 114, Khawaja 62) vs West Indies

Marnus Labuschagne and hometown hero Travis Head struck near-flawless centuries to dominate the pink ball, as Australia put a struggling West Indies attack to the sword on day one of the second Test in Adelaide.

After stand-in captain Steven Smith elected to bat, Labuschagne and Head combined for an unbeaten fourth-wicket partnership of 199 to power Australia to a commanding position at stumps. Labuschagne hit his 10th Test century on the back of his double-century and hundred in Australia’s 164-run series opening win in Perth.

While his good fortune has been widely noted, rearing again after riding his luck in the first Test, Labuschagne produced a chanceless innings as he became the first Australian batter to notch three straight Test tons since Adam Voges in 2015-16.

He completed the feat with a boundary through point under lights in the final session and raised his arms aloft to strong applause from the 24,449 crowd at the Adelaide Oval. Labuschagne’s 235-ball knock was marked by unwavering concentration and patience in tricky early conditions before he toyed with West Indies’ flagging bowlers.

He was well supported by Head, who scored his fifth Test ton and first on his home ground with a brilliant drive to the boundary much to the delight of the Adelaide Oval faithful. Head’s aggressive mood continued after making 99 in his sole innings in Perth, targeting the short square boundaries and continually plundering West Indies’ increasingly ragged bowling through point.

The pair flattened West Indies’ attempts at a comeback after the quick wickets in the middle session of opener Usman Khawaja and Smith, who fell for just his fifth duck in Tests in Australia. But sloppy bowling and fielding left West Indies frustrated as their hopes of ending a 25-year Test drought in Australia with a series-levelling victory already appearing forlorn.

Much like in Perth, where they claimed only six wickets in 190 overs across two innings, West indies’ bowlers were inconsistent and failed to penetrate on a surface with occasional bounce and movement. Without injured frontline quicks Kemar Roach and Jayden Seales, West Indies speedster Alzarri Joseph unsuccessfully targeted a short-ball strategy and resisted trying to conjure swing with the new ball.

But he did dismiss opener David Warner, who was caught behind for 21 in a rash dismissal in another missed opportunity to end a near three-year Test century drought.

Briefly attempting a rally, West Indies bowled with more discipline in the second session through seamers Jason Holder and Anderson Phillip, who impressed with accuracy in just his second Test match.

But it was debutant Devon Thomas who broke through by trapping Khawaja lbw for 62 with his handy seamers providing a surprise option.

It was a much-needed tonic for an injury-hit West Indies, whose woes deepened when debutant quick Marquino Mindley left the field in the first session with a suspected hamstring injury after bowling just two overs. Mindley had arrived in Adelaide on Monday from the Caribbean as injury cover.

Captain Kraigg Brathwaite scrambled for inspiration throughout the day’s play and used seven bowlers. He unsuccessfully reverted to spinner Roston Chase as the first change bowler in a baffling move. He again unwisely used Chase and his own part-time spin before the tea break to release the pressure on new batter Head, who counterattacked with ease.

It paved the way for a sub-par final session for West Indies under lights with the second new ball failing to do the trick as the beleaguered tourists stare down the barrel of conceding another massive first-innings total to Australia.

Both teams made a host of changes, with Australia’s regular captain Pat Cummins failing to overcome a quad strain he picked up during the first Test, while quick Josh Hazlewood was ruled out with a side strain.

Seamers Scott Boland and Michael Neser added to Test matches they played last summer against England, while former captain Smith took the reins from Cummins like he did in last year’s Ashes Test in Adelaide.

Even though he endured an uncharacteristic failure with the bat, falling to Holder in a return catch, Smith should be well pleased with Australia making a strong start in their bid for an 11th straight day-night Test victory.

(Story by Tristan Lavalette/ESPNcricinfo. Photos from ESPNcricinfo)

Brathwaite’s ton defies Australia but Lyon strikes late

West Indies 283 & 192 for 3 (Brathwaite 101, Mayers 0) need 306 more runs to beat Australia 598 for 4 dec & 182 for 2 dec (Labuschagne 104*)

Captain Kraigg Brathwaite scored his 11th Test century to defy an Australian attack without Pat Cummins as a gutsy West Indies pushed the first Test into a fifth day.

Needing a record 498 runs for victory or – more realistically – to bat through 154 overs to draw, Brathwaite superbly batted through the final two sessions of day four to provide hope for the injury-hit tourists.

But West Indies’ chances of starving off defeat in the series opener still appear unlikely even amid the uncertainty over Cummins, who did not bowl after experiencing quadricep soreness/ He returned to the field in the final session and appeared to be moving around without obvious discomfort. An assessment tomorrow morning will determine whether Cummins can bowl on the fifth day.

Marnus Labuschagne scored an unbeaten century to become only the 8th man to score a double-century & a ton in the same Test Match.

Nathan Lyon relished shouldering more of the workload and claimed two wickets as he conjured menacing bounce on the Optus Stadium surface.

Leading from the front, Brathwaite was in sublime touch and scored uncharacteristically quickly to make Australia’s shorthanded attack toil. He reached a deserved ton just before stumps but will likely need to bat for the long haul on day five to thwart Australia’s bid for victory.

Brathwaite passed 5000 Test runs with a gorgeous drive down the ground to capitalise on the unavailability of Cummins, who had starred in West Indies’ first innings to claim his 200th Test wicket.

Former skipper Steve Smith took the captaincy reins during Cummins’s absence as Australia failed to make inroads against Brathwaite and debutant Tagenarine Chanderpaul, who batted mostly untroubled through the entire second session. Chanderpaul scored just three runs off his first 36 balls in an effective rearguard alongside a fluent Brathwaite.

Tagenarine Chanderpaul impressed for his 45 in West Indies 2nd innings as he & skipper Kraig Brathwaite put on an opening stand of 116.

For a spark, Smith even resorted to Marnus Labuschagne who bowled medium pacers instead of his usual legspin but it didn’t do the trick.

But the return of Cummins, even though he couldn’t bowl, was surely a tonic for Australia as quick Mitchell Starc finally provided the breakthrough when Chanderpaul chopped on to end an impressive Test debut with scores of 51 and 45.

Starc made amends after dropping Chanderpaul moments earlier on the boundary with Australia’s frustration underlined by Cameron Green punching the ground having missed out on a wicket.

Australia’s mood brightened when Lyon picked up Shamarh Brooks, who as the concussion substitute had batted well against the odds in the first innings but fell cheaply second time around after edging to slip.

Australia hoped to tear through West Indies amid the ground’s increasing shadows but Jermaine Blackwood successfully reviewed a lbw decision off Josh Hazlewood. However, He never looked comfortable and fell to Lyon just before stumps.

Australia had earlier declared their second innings at lunch after Labuschagne added a ton to his first innings double century. Labuschagne rode some luck to become just the third Australia batter after Greg Chappell and Doug Walters to score a double century and century in the same Test.

Labuschagne made 308 runs for the match to continue a personal run spree at Optus Stadium after he scored 143 and 50 against New Zealand three years ago in the last Test played at the ground.

Labuschagne received luck on his way to his ninth Test century when he top-edged to gully via his helmet but was reprieved by a no-ball from Alzarri Joseph amid a riveting battle.

After receiving medical attention, Labuschagne continued on his merry way and passed 2000 Test runs in Australia in his 31st innings. Only Sir Don Bradman (19 in England and 26 in Australia), and Sir Garfield Sobers (29 in West Indies) have achieved the milestone in a country faster.

David Warner, however, missed a golden opportunity to end a three-year Test drought when he fell for 48, while Green didn’t bat in the match in his debut Test at home.

West Indies’ shorthanded attack was unable to limit Australia with spearhead Kemar Roach forced off after injuring his left thigh, while seamer Kyle Mayers did not bowl in the innings due to a strain in his right teres major muscle.

Adding to their woes, top-order batter Nkrumah Bonner was on day three substituted out of the match with concussion after being hit in the back of the helmet from a Green short delivery.

But the beleaguered tourists reached the final day and their hopes rested on their gritty skipper.

(Story by Tristan Lavalette/ESPNcricinfo)

Windies survive late exam after Smith’s unbeaten double

Despite boasting a pair of double century makers in the same Test innings for the first time in over a decade, Australia’s remorseless dominance of the first NRMA Insurance Test was stymied by a brave West Indies opening stand that announced the arrival of a new batting hope.

In reply to their hosts’ daunting first innings of 4(dec)-598 – underpinned by Marnus Labuschagne’s 204 and Steve Smith’s unbeaten 200 – the West Indies reached 0-74 at stumps on day two with Tagennarine Chanderpaul in sight of a half-century in his maiden Test innings.

Smith and Labuschagne became the first pair of double century makers in the same innings since Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting achieved the rare feat against India at Adelaide Oval in 2011, with Travis Head missing out on his triple-figure milestone by the barest of margins.

But in contrast to the often-abject resignation they showed in the latter half of their bowling innings, the West Indies reply with bat in hand was doggedly defiant.

Skipper Kraigg Brathwaite (18no) and his debutant opening partner Chanderpaul (47no from just 73 balls faced) withstood 21 overs of high octane pace bowling under thick evening cloud during which they both copped multiple blows.

Chanderpaul was especially impressive, wearing an eye-watering hit from Josh Hazlewood that left him prostrate on pitch edge for several minutes as team medicos pumped his legs in a brave bid to quell the pain and mitigate the shock.

The fine-boned left-hander was also struck several times on the upper body as he concertina-ed himself limbo-style beneath a barrage of short balls, but in between those moments he drove and cut without fear to suggest a productive career awaits.

The 26-year-old – whose father, Shivnarine, was inducted to the ICC’s Hall of Fame last month – also survived a confident shout for lbw in Mitchell Starc’s second over (when on four) that fell narrowly in his favour when adjudged as ‘umpire’s call’.

Brathwaite also benefited from the DRS process, although the appeal for a catch behind off Pat Cummins when he was on 16 was revealed to be more in hope with the ball passing harmlessly past his outside edge.

But for all the pluck shown by the visitors’ first-wicket pair, they still have a sizeable mountain to scale.

At the close of play yesterday, Usman Khawaja told cricket.com.au he expected day two to offer the best batting conditions of the Test.

But even at his most optimistic, he could not have envisaged Australia would subjugate the West Indies bowling as utterly and remorselessly as they did for 62.4 overs today.

During those two-and-a-bit sessions, they plundered 305 runs against some of the most desultory bowling Test cricket in this country has witnessed for the loss of just two wickets – both of which fell to occasional spinner Brathwaite as the result of self-inflicted wounds.

The first of those was Labuschagne, having celebrated his second Test double-century on the cusp of lunch at which point his half-hearted dab at one of Brathwaite’s round-arm off-breaks nestled in the gloves of keeper Joshua da Silva.

It’s not often a Test batter heads to the sheds with a double-hundred to his name but so demonstrably disconsolate, a clear indication the 28-year-old felt he had left at least another century out there.

It was also a less rueful countenance than that aired by Head, who had motored to 99 at better than a run per ball with his greatest conundrum being how to engage in some mindful eating against a sumptuous buffet of parklands bowling until he outsmarted himself.

With his teammates all waiting boundary side in full playing kit, having been told Australia’s declaration would come immediately after both he and Smith posted their respective milestones, Head attempted a similarly meek shot to that which undid Labuschagne.

And instead of netting him the single that would have brought his fifth Test century, it instead yielded an inside edge back on to off stump that meant Head became the 25th Australia batter – and the first since Shaun Marsh against India at the MCG in 2014 – to be dismissed for 99.

It was an ignominious end to an innings of otherwise flawless fluency that shone far brighter than the bowling he faced, but was always going to be an afterthought to Smith’s contribution.

With barely a mishit during the seven hours and batted and from the 311 deliveries he faced, Smith not only made good his prediction he was getting back to his batting best but ensured the statement was heavily underscored and appended with an exclamation point.

Although he would have to concede he’s faced more searching training sessions against teenage net bowlers than he was subjected to for much of today’s knock.

The fact West Indies skipper Brathwaite enlisted barely medium pacers Jason Holder (around 125kph) and Kyle Mayers (120kph) before finally unleashing his fastest bowlers Alzarri Joseph and Jayden Seales until much later in the opening session.

Mayers had indicated prior to play starting he was feeling sore after yesterday’s 11-over workload, and Seales must surely have been afflicted by some ailment given he had taken one of the two wickets to fall on day one during which he was his team’s most threatening bowler.

But even if the West Indies boasted an attack the calibre of those legendary 1980s outfits, it’s doubtful they could have curtailed Smith such was his technical mastery and mental strength.

Upon reaching his 29th Test ton shortly after the day’s first drinks break, Smith not only equalled the centuries tally of Don Bradman but did so in his 155th Test innings with only Bradman (79) and India’s Sachin Tendulkar (148) having reached the milestone in fewer knocks.

By that stage, another of the game’s all-time greats – former West Indies skipper Brian Lara – noted in commentary for Fox Cricket that his former team had no chance of claiming all 10 Australia wickets and their best hope was to limit scoring until a declaration salved their pain.

But that modest assignment proved beyond them as Smith joined with Labuschagne to flay 109 from the 28 overs until lunch, and then found even greater freedom in union with Head as they carved 166 from the next 30 overs up to tea.

In reaching his fourth double-hundred moments before Head’s dismissal brought the declaration, Smith joined Greg Chappell and Clarke with four scores of 200 or more for Australia.

Only Bradman (12) and Ponting (six) have posted more.

The ease with which Australia’s batters scored represents a troublesome trend against a once-feared bowling line-up which is scheduled to return here for a further two Tests next summer.

In their past five first innings against West Indies on home soil (including today’s efforts), Australia have piled on 2,428 runs for the loss of 20 wickets at an average of more than 485 per innings and in excess of 120 runs per scalp.

And that includes the first innings of the previous encounter at the SCG seven years ago when rain curtailed the game with Australia 2-176 in their first innings and seemingly on target for another hefty total.

The visitors’ plight was best encapsulated by the belated introduction of Joseph into the attack more than an hour into the day, by which time Labuschagne had progressed to 186 without being troubled by the diet of medium-pace he had been fed throughout the morning.

With his third delivery of his second over – having changed ends after his first – Joseph’s extra pace induced a tentative steer from Australia’s number three that flew barely over the outstretched fingertips of substitute fielder Shamarh Brooks stationed at fine gully.

Joseph’s clear irritation at his teammate’s less-than-urgent effort was doubtless compounded by the knowledge Brooks was on the field for Holder who – at around 30cm taller and one of world cricket’s best close catchers – would likely have plucked the rare offering.

(Story by Andrew Ramsey/Cricket.com.au)