Australia v West Indies, 3rd Test, Sydney, 1st day January 3, 2016

Brathwaite leads West Indies fight, but Australia on top


West Indies 6 for 207 (K Brathwaite 85, C Brathwaite 35*, Ramdin 23*) v Australia
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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For the first time in the series, West Indies batted on the opening morning of a Test. For the second time in the series, Kraigg Brathwaite fell just short of a century. And for the third time in the series, Australia went to stumps on day one on top, this time with West Indies at 6 for 207. Nathan Lyon led the attack with two wickets on a challenging day for the West Indies batsmen, who had to sit through two lengthy rain delays.

Despite the wet weather Australia had no trouble with over rates: Lyon sent down 32 and Steve O'Keefe raced through 14, meaning that only 15 were lost to the rain. Australia had opted for two specialist spinners at the SCG for the first time in ten years and the evidence on day one suggested it was a wise move, as there was plenty of turn and bounce, and between them they picked up three wickets.

As has been the case throughout the series, West Indies relied too heavily on one batsman. This time it was not Darren Bravo but Brathwaite, who was a picture of concentration in compiling 85 around meal breaks and rain delays. He had fallen for 94 in the second innings in Hobart and had the chance to push on for a hundred this time, but instead tried to dab a cut past slip off Lyon and succeeded only in gloving to Steven Smith.

It was a disappointing end for Brathwaite, who earlier had put on 91 for the second wicket with Bravo, the first time in the series West Indies had found a half-century stand between two of their top six. They came together after opener Shai Hope, in for the injured Rajendra Chandrika, edged behind for 9 off a Josh Hazlewood delivery that nipped away off the seam.

When Brathwaite and Bravo lifted West Indies to 1 for 92 at lunch it seemed the batsmen were backing up Jason Holder's decision to bat first after calling correctly at the toss. However, soon after lunch Bravo fell for 33, having added just one to his score, when he hooked a quick, short delivery from James Pattinson to Usman Khawaja, who ran in from deep square leg to take the chance low to the ground.

West Indies had lost their most in-form scorer and now had their most out-of-form batsman, Marlon Samuels, at the crease with Brathwaite. It did not end well. Samuels continued his wretched tour by contriving to run himself out, pushing a Lyon delivery straight to point and calling for a single that wasn't there; both he and Brathwaite stopped mid-pitch, Brathwaite fell over in his desperate attempt to turn around, and the throw to Samuels' end found him well short.

To add to the frustration, it turned out to be the last ball before a long rain delay. When play finally resumed, Jermaine Blackwood managed 10 before he misjudged Lyon and left a ball that turned in and kissed the very top of off stump, the type of delivery that has been an impressive part of Lyon's armoury this year. At 4 for 131, West Indies were in trouble.

It became 5 for 158 when Brathwaite departed after a second rain delay, and 6 for 159 when Jason Holder fell for 1. O'Keefe, playing the second Test of his career, claimed his first home Test wicket when Holder squirted one off the inside edge that was brilliantly snapped up at short leg by Joe Burns, who snared the ball low down in his right hand, proving that he has improved significantly under the helmet since the start of the summer.

Australia were dreaming of a quick finish as the evening grew near, but the West Indies lower order has shown some batting fight in this series, and Carlos Brathwaite was keen to rage against the dying of the light. His second ball was lofted down the ground for six off O'Keefe, and he ended up plundering two sixes and four fours off O'Keefe as he moved to an unbeaten 35 from 35 balls at stumps. Denesh Ramdin was on 23, having fought through 72 deliveries.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Kell on January 4, 2016, 6:25 GMT

    Ha stand by comments re Lyons. No doubt a ripping bloke but average bowler. Dont care how his bowling looks just want wickets. Mitch Marsh had better average and strike rate. He just doesnt take enough wickets on turners for me. Aus will continue to fail in SC conditions while he is our spinner. He gets chewed up over there while SC spinners clean house.

  • Sam` on January 4, 2016, 1:09 GMT

    @ Dolci "I think it is time for Marshall to come out of retirement."

    Found a cure for death, have they? Mako died more than 15 years ago.

  • Craig on January 3, 2016, 23:44 GMT

    SOK has been given his big chance now he needs to take it. Accuracy is one thing but he has been picked to take wickets. Not a bad effort. Took the one wicket but copped some from big hitting Carlos Brathwait. This pitch should be a real turner from here.

  • Sam on January 3, 2016, 22:34 GMT

    For those wondering where Bishoo is, he apparently didn't recover from an injury he sustained in Melbourne during training. It's a shame, it would have been great to see how we went against him on this pitch. Definitely a two spinner pitch. I'm still not convinced on O'Keefe. I agree with PrasPunter, he just doesn't look like he will get a wicket, especially compared to Lyon, who looked deadly as ever. It was the same in the UAE, too. Pakistan just toyed with him. I suppose, to be fair, they ripped Lyon apart, too. On Burns: I think people are being a bit harsh on his results. His first innings 70 in Brisbane was brilliant. Boult and Bracewell weren't at their best, but Southee was testing on a greenish pitch and Burns weathered that beautifully. He also did well to get to 40 in Perth, I thought. Two low scores in Adelaide isn't enough to question his ability. He hasn't proved he can score in really tough conditions, yet, but give him a chance before implying he's a flat track bully.

  • Ron on January 3, 2016, 18:32 GMT

    ADREANAL--"Is anyone still against dropping Marlon Samuels from the team?"

    Samuels is dead wood. West Indies are, essentially, playing with 10 players (or short-handed to use a hockey term) with him in the lineup. Why he keeps getting selected defies reason.

  • Channan on January 3, 2016, 17:35 GMT

    Why Bishoo. Another Indian in the team? WI is not SA you know.

  • Michael on January 3, 2016, 17:24 GMT

    Pollard in 91 ODIs with bowler and fielder restrictions averages 25.20 and in 45 T20s ,again with bowler and fielder restrictions averages 22.13 , a monumental failure in both formats,yet one blogger is convinced that Pollard can do some damage in test cricket.....because he saw Carlos Brathwaite hitting sixes in test cricket. Wonder why he didn't say that because of the way Lara scored 277 at Sydney sometime ago ,Pollard could do some damage too.@ EMNC.....Ramdin WILL be replaced by either Hope or Dowrich later this year

  • Prasanna on January 3, 2016, 17:19 GMT

    @annoyedofit , just my point - Is SOK the only other spinner around ? Doesn't appear to turn the ball, bowls flat and once the batsmen go on the offensive, he is more likely to leak runs that not. Might sound pessimistic, but hard to change my opinion unless he picks wickets.

  • Michael on January 3, 2016, 16:53 GMT

    I wonder why James Pattinson didn't try bowling some more no balls to see if he could hit Carlos Brathwaites' stumps for people to say that Brathwaite was lucky again.

  • Robin on January 3, 2016, 15:47 GMT

    Not much positives to take out of this series, only that some individuals are showing some fight. Darren Bravo, Holder, Ramdin and the Braithwaites have showed some encouraging signs in Melbourne and now Sydney, but the bigger picture still shows how broken West Indies cricket truly is. It's inevitable that Australia will win, just a question of when and how much resistance the Boyz can make them work for it. The Board needs to wipe the slate clean (starting with personnel changes amongst themselves) with the Domestic Schedule and Selection process and seeing what SHAWNSUNDAR has commented, they should be encouraging and nuturing our new talents (Barath / Pooran, where are they?), not alienate and drive them away!!

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