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02-Dec-2022 15:57:00 GMT
Aus vs WI - 1st Test, Perth, day 3

Australia seize control as lead swells to 344

Australia 598 for 4 dec (Labuschagne 204, Smith 200*, Head 99) and 29 for 1 lead West Indies 283 (Brathwaite 64, Chanderpaul 51, Cummins 3-34, Starc 3-51) by 344 runs

Perth: A milestone moment for skipper Pat Cummins followed by his team's dominant bowling display with the second new ball sees Australia with a virtually unassailable grip on the first NRMA Insurance Test against the West Indies.

The dominance Australia displayed with the bat across the first two days seemed set to be repeated with ball when they struck in the opening over of day three, but for the next two sessions the visitors hung in and held their own while landing the occasional counter-punch.

But Cummins' stepped up to snare his 200th Test wicket at a crucial moment, before Mitchell Starc wrought havoc as the visitors lost 6-39 against the second new ball to be dismissed for 283, still 315 runs adrift of Australia's daunting first innings.

In the lengthening shadows, openers Usman Khawaja and David Warner immediately set about growing the lead after Cummins opted against enforcing the follow-on, doubtless wary of batting last on a pitch already starting to show signs of variable bounce.

Khawaja recorded a rare failure, caught behind for six when looking to chase quick runs, but by stumps Australia (1-29) boasted an advantage off 344 with Warner and first innings double centurion Marnus Labuschagne to resume tomorrow morning.

In 145 years of Test cricket, only one team can claim to have won after surrendering a first innings lead of 315 or more, and that was England at The Oval in 2006 when they trailed by 331 but were awarded the match on forfeit after Pakistan refused to take the field due to a dispute over umpiring.

On the evidence presented at Perth Stadium thus far, it would take similarly sensational events to see the West Indies somehow manufacture a win.

Australia had begun day three precisely as they had hoped, with Josh Hazlewood sliding past opener Tagenarine Chanderpaul's outside edge three times in the opening over before finding it to present David Warner with a straightforward catch at slip.

Amid that repetition, Chanderpaul steered one delivery wide of third slip to reach an impressive half-century in his maiden Test innings from just 78 balls faced.

He added just one more ball to that tally before the visitors' first wicket fell, but showed enough in his maiden outing to suggest he might be a player of substance for some time to come.

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