Smith hands Australia control

Published: Thursday 11th June 2015 by The News Editor

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Steven Smith’s fifth century in his last six Tests lifted Australia into a position of strength after they had lost a couple of early wickets against West Indies at Sabina Park.

Smith has been in the form of his life in the last few months and took his tally in the longest format to an incredible 934 runs since December 2014 with an unbeaten 135 on the opening day of the second and final Test in Kingston, Jamaica.

That helped Australia, leading 1-0 in the series after blowing away their hosts inside three days in the opening match in Roseau, to close on 258 for four – a decent platform after they lost openers David Warner and Shaun Marsh cheaply in the opening session.

The Windies, who made three changes to their line-up with Rajendra Chandrika, Veerasammy Permaul and Kemar Roach coming in for Marlon Samuels, Devendra Bishoo and Shannon Gabriel, made almost immediate inroads after winning the toss and opting to field first.

Warner was out for a third-ball duck after fending a sharply rising delivery from Jerome Taylor to third slip, where Shai Hope took a good low catch.

Taylor, who did not concede a single run in his six overs in the opening session, struck again in his third over by trapping Marsh in front for 11 with a fast inswinger from around the wicket, but next man Michael Clarke was given a life early into his innings after being caught behind, with Roach overstepping.

It proved to be a crucial misjudgement from Roach, with the Australia captain blasting the Windies seamer for six in his next over after he had crunched Jason Holder for back-to-back fours to settle into his stride alongside Smith.

The pair were particularly dismissive of Permaul as they put on a third wicket stand of 118, with Smith going past his half-century shortly after the lunch interval by hoisting the left-arm spinner for six.

Clarke fell three runs short of his own 50 after chasing a wide delivery from Holder only to edge behind although that only brought Adam Voges to the crease, the 35-year-old who marked his Test debut a week ago with an unbeaten 130.

He and Smith continued to keep the score ticking over either side of the tea interval, with Smith bringing up his hundred off exactly 200 balls with his 13th four, punching Permaul through the covers to reach his ninth Test century.

Voges was dismissed for 37 soon after, aiming a drive off Taylor (three for 18 off 15 overs) only to edge behind and end a partnership of 76.

On reaching 109, Smith was dropped at first slip by Darren Bravo off part-timer Kraigg Brathwaite while he successfully overturned an lbw decision off Taylor in the next over, with the ball missing leg stump.

From then on, the in-form right handed batsman and new man Shane Watson (20 not out) were largely untroubled as Australia ended the day on top.

Published: Thursday 11th June 2015 by The News Editor

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