Marnus Labuschagne hits a fine century as Australia take control against West Indies on day one of first Test

Marnus Labuschagne reaffirmed his position as one of Australia’s best and most important strikers with a consummate century on the first day of the Summer Men’s Test against West Indies.

Australia finished the opening day at Perth Stadium 2-292 thanks mainly to Marnus Labuschagne’s unbeaten 154, although he had plenty of help in the partnerships of the century with Usman Khawaja (65) and Steve Smith (59 unbeaten). removed).

The stumps scene was a far cry from how the tourists started the day, grabbing the scalp of David Warner (5) in just fourth after Pat Cummins won the toss and opted to strike on a green-tinged pitch .

That first breakthrough united Australia’s top scorer for 2022, Khawaja, with Queensland State teammate Labuschagne, and they set about rebuilding the innings.

In front of mostly empty stands, with just 10,929 spectators in the 60,000 capacity arena, which was hosting only its third Test match since it opened in 2018, the Australian bats came under pressure early before going wild in the final session.

The West Indies bowlers persevered throughout, but the use of sixes in the opening session highlighted how easily the second-wicket Australian pair handled their attacks.

Alzarri Joseph (0-46) bought some warmth and aggression with a shoot-off from Labuschagne, who was beaten a handful of times outside the goal, and had to take evasive action at other occasions.

Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne went 142 for the second wicket from 288 balls.(PA: Richard Wainwright)

Kyle Mayers (1-24) was used sparingly despite being economical in his first spell, but when the versatile Barbadian returned before tea he proved to be the key that ultimately unlocked the partnership , having Khawaja behind Joshua da Silva. first ball of his fate.

It seemed to rattle Australia – Kemar Roach (0-59) finding the Labuschagne advantage in the very next, only to have the ball slip into Jason Holder’s hands on the second slip, the frustration only growing when the two subsequent balls had the Australian number three squared.

But Roach’s dangerous overtaking was more of an aberration as Labuschagne and Smith added 141 runs for the third wicket – with the promise of plenty more to come on day two.

Debutant Tagenarine Chanderpaul, son of Guyanese legend Shivnarine, could have caught Labuschagne on 136 from the bowling of Jayden Seales (1-63) to change the day’s complexion somewhat for the tourists, but took a chance difficult to dive forward. at the deep point.

David Warner hasn’t scored a century try since January 2020.(Getty Images: James Worsfold)

As Labsuchagne and Co patiently racked up points through the middle, Warner was back in the sheds, contemplating a drop in form that saw him drop 50 just four times in his last 22 Test rounds.

Since his last Test ton, an unbeaten 111 against New Zealand at the SCG in 2020, Warner has averaged just 27.52, well below his overall Test average of 46.28.

It was his ninth single-digit tally in the same time frame.

David Warner is leaving
David Warner hasn’t scored a Test century in his last 22 innings dating back to January 2020.(PA: Richard Wainwright)

Cutting when attempting an expansive drive to a wide Seales delivery indicated he may be waiting for another short ball and was unable to adjust his feet in time to drive.

The 97 Test veteran will play, barring injury, his 100th Test on Boxing Day at the MCG against South Africa.

But the length of his slump has raised questions over the 36-year-old’s Testing future, with Marcus Harris and Matthew Renshaw both waiting in the wings after impressing against tourists in Canberra last week for the XI of the Prime Minister.


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