West Indies 148 and 25 for 2 (Bravo 3*, Dowrich 1*) trail Australia 318 (Voges 130*, Bishoo 6-80) by 145 runs
Adam Voges became the oldest man to score a century on Test debut as Australia took control on the second day in Dominica. It was a day of frustration and missed opportunities for West Indies, who had the chance to run through Australia but allowed the tail to wag and found themselves facing a 170-run first-innings deficit. They then lost both their openers cheaply late in the afternoon.
Devendra Bishoo had given West Indies the perfect start by spinning out three batsmen before lunch and he finished with 6 for 80, but Voges remained a calm presence at the crease throughout Australia’s innings. The 97-run stand that he and Josh Hazlewood compiled for the last wicket could prove to be the difference, although Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Lyon also provided useful support.
By stumps, West Indies were in an even bigger hole. Shai Hope edged Johnson to second slip and was sharply taken by Michael Clarke, and next ball Mitchell Starc swung one in to rattle the stumps of Kraigg Brathwaite. It left West Indies on 25 for 2 at stumps, still 145 runs behind, with Darren Bravo on 3 and Shane Dowrich on 1. A mountain of work remained for them on day three.
For Australia, it was a day to celebrate the achievement of Voges, who at 35 replaced Zimbabwe’s David Houghton as Test cricket’s oldest debut centurion. Patience is no problem for Voges – he has had to wait 160 first-class matches for this opportunity – and he displayed impressive concentration throughout this innings, bringing up his hundred from his 187th delivery.
Having made a brisk start on the first afternoon, Voges took a more steady approach on the second day, waiting for his opportunities to work runs through gaps and taking few risks. Rarely did he play a loose shot, although just after reaching his half-century he pulled Marlon Samuels and a diving Jermaine Blackwood at midwicket put down a tough chance.
It was an example of the difference in fielding between the two sides: Australia grasped nearly everything in West Indies’ first innings, but West Indies let opportunities slip. Voges received another life on 104 when Hope dropped one at gully off Taylor, and Hazlewood was put down on 33 as the afternoon wore on.
West Indies seemed unable to find the intensity they needed to finish the Australians off: the seventh-, ninth- and tenth-wicket partnerships were Australia’s best of the innings. They were six down when Voges nudged them past West Indies’ total of 148 but Johnson, Lyon and then Hazlewood all offered vital support to Voges, who never looked flustered as wickets fell.
For a while it looked like Voges might be denied the chance to reach his hundred: he was on 77 when Hazlewood joined him at the wicket. But Hazlewood proved himself a worthy partner, defending capably as Voges kept the scoreboard ticking along and then moved to 98 with a six slammed down the ground off Jerome Taylor.
Voges was still there on 130 when Hazlewood was bowled by Marlon Samuels for 39, completing Australia’s innings at 318. It was a wonderful recovery after Bishoo threatened to skittle them cheaply. During the morning, he turned the ball sharply but also varied his degree of spin, and found enough drift to deceive the batsmen.
In the morning session, Bishoo claimed the three key wickets of Steven Smith, Shane Watson and Brad Haddin, and after the break he added Johnson and Starc. Smith (25) added eight to his overnight score before he was hoodwinked by Bishoo, advancing down the pitch only to see the ball drop short of him, spin past his edge and Denesh Ramdin complete the stumping.
If it is rare for Smith to be outflighted by a spinner, it is not so uncommon for Watson, who on 11 drove hard and had his thick edge well caught at second slip by Jason Holder. Haddin showed some intent by launching a Bishoo wrong’un back over the bowler’s head for six, but Bishoo had his revenge by bowling Haddin for 8.
It was a beautiful piece of legspin that fittingly came 22 years to the day after Shane Warne’s ball of the century tricked Mike Gatting. Bishoo similarly drifted the ball in and pitched it on leg stump, turning it perfectly past Haddin’s bat to clip the top of off stump.
Johnson’s 52-run stand with Voges ended when Johnson top-edged a sweep and was caught at short fine leg for 20. Starc lasted only two balls, bowled for a duck when he tried to slog Bishoo, and a quick finish appeared possible. However, Bishoo had to go off for some treatment to his hand, and Lyon’s temperament was what Voges needed at the other end, quiet and unperturbed.
Lyon managed 22 from 50 balls before he walked across his stumps and was trapped lbw by Shannon Gabriel, but Hazlewood was able to offer even greater support. Bishoo looked like having a seven-for when he trapped Voges lbw on 127, but a review suggested the ball would have turned past off stump and Voges was reprieved. It was just one more frustration on a disappointing day for West Indies.