West Indies 283 (Brathwaite 64, Chanderpaul 51, Cummins 3-34, Starc 3-51) and 192 for 3 (Brathwaite 101*) need 306 more runs to beat Australia 598 for 4 dec (Labuschagne 204, Smith 200*, Head 99) and 182 for 2 dec (Labuschagne 104*)
Perth: Australia will learn tomorrow morning whether they can call on the bowling brilliance of captain Pat Cummins as they chase victory over a defiant West Indies in the first NMRA Insurance Test.
Cummins suffered soreness in his right quadriceps after bowling on Friday and was unable to take the field when the West Indies began their pursuit of an unprecedented 498 at the start of today's second session.
Without their strike bowler, Australia struggled to make inroads into their opponents' top order and the visitors go into the final day on 3-192 still requiring 306 for the most unlikely of victories, with their captain Kraigg Brathwaite having celebrated an epic century shortly before stumps.
Having top-scored in his team's first innings, Brathwaite was the rock around his team’s total starting with a century opening stand alongside Tagenarine Chanderpaul and culminating in a joyous celebration in which he dropped his bat but never his guard.
Brathwaite enjoyed a remarkable let off on 67 when a delivery from Australia quick Josh Hazlewood appeared to clip the off bail which somehow refused to fall, and in his next over Hazlewood had Jermaine Blackwood adjudged lbw before the decision was overturned on review.
While the collapse triggered by the arrival of the second new ball in West Indies first innings – from which point they lost 6-39 inside 20 overs – will be fresh in the minds of Australia's bowlers, the prospect of not being able to call on Cummins is also a potential point of anxiety.
The skipper, who claimed his 200th Test wicket yesterday when he speared through Brathwaite's otherwise obdurate defence, returned to the field and took over the reins from vice-captain Steve Smith in the innings' 37th over, immediately after Australia had finally found a breakthrough.
The stoicism shown by Brathwaite and Chanderpaul in the first innings was evident, along with a dash more enterprise, in the second as they posted their first century stand as an opening pair and drove their rivals to the point of frustration.