Smith makes his mark with 115
West Indians 3 for 252 (Smith 115, Gayle 58) trail Queensland 323 by 71 runs
Devon Smith ensured West Indies would have a capable replacement for Wavell Hinds in the first Test with a century against Queensland at Brisbane's Allan Border Field. Smith stepped up after Hinds broke his little finger on day one of the four-day tour match, and the tourists were in a strong position at 3 for 252 with Brian Lara still to arrive.
Lara suffered a minor finger injury on his right hand when dropping a slips catch yesterday but team management confirmed he would be fit to bat on day three. Marlon Samuels was not out 20 and the captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul was 17 at stumps, with the West Indians 71 behind Queensland's first-innings 323.
Heavy overnight rain delayed the start until 1pm and the West Indians, who started on 0 for 13, performed solidly during the afternoon with Smith, who was dropped by Martin Love at slip on 43, leading the way. Smith struck 21 boundaries during his 197-ball innings, which included a bright opening stand of 130 with Chris Gayle.
Ryan Le Loux, the legspinner, ended their partnership when he picked up his first first-class wicket, Gayle edging down the legside to the wicketkeeper Chris Hartley. Queensland tried seven bowlers but only the slow men Le Loux, Andrew Symonds and Chris Simpson were successful on a low surface that has not offered ideal preparation for the bouncy and seaming pitch expected at the Gabba next week.
Queensland skipper Jimmy Maher was impressed with West Indies' display and believes that they have the capability to surprise Australia. "Their top six batsmen ... they're pretty strong," Maher said. "It's a pretty good batting side so Australia have to bowl well against that sort of batting. They're pretty positive players and I reckon it will be a closer Test series than people think."
Bennett King, the West Indies coach, was pleased with the display of his fast bowlers and believes they have enough pace to trouble the Australian batting line. "We have the bowling that can unsettle the Australian batsmen. We know we can get good players out. We have to make sure we get runs as well. History shows they have two of the best bowlers in the world so our batting is in for a real tough time I guess."