Superb Smith lifts Aussies
Despite a creditable final session, the West Indies will have to dig deep on today's second day of the second and final Test against Australia at Sabina Park if they are to harbour serious hopes of a series-levelling win.
The Australians, sent in to bat, were 258 for four when stumps were drawn on an enterprising opening day, which saw a century for Australian shot-maker Steve Smith and West Indies fast man Jerome Taylor, proving why he is a world-rated bowler.
Smith, who, earlier this year, played a massive role in Australia lifting the Cricket World Cup, played a gem of an innings to finish on 135 not out, his ninth Test century in his 28th Test.
The 26-year-old, while favouring the on-side, played some delightful straight drives and cuts and 200 balls to reach his landmark, which included 13 fours and two sixes.
Taylor, who began the day with six maidens, two of which accounted for wickets, bothered the Australian top order all day to end with three for 18 off 15 overs.
"I don't think we did too bad at the end of the day," said West Indies all-rounder, Jason Holder, while reflecting on the encounter, which saw the Australians reaching 91 for two at lunch and 170 for three at tea.
"I just think we need to capitalise tomorrow morning inside the first hour. We need to take the new ball, get wickets and just put them on the back foot and try to restrict them to just a total over 300, which would be a commendable effort on this track," Holder added.
three forced changes
The West Indies were forced to make three forced changes to the team that played in the first Test. Batsman Marlon Samuels and fast bowler Shannon Gabriel were both ill, while leg-spinner Davendra Bishoo was injured.
This resulted in 25-year-old Guyanese batsman Rajendra Chandrika being handed his debut and a return to the line-up for fast bowler Kemar Roach and left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul. The Australians played an unchanged team.
Home captain Denesh Ramdin, perhaps driven by the sight of a green-top pitch in the days leading up to the Test, won the toss and decided to field first.
It appeared to be the right decision when, after three balls, Taylor had opener David Warner caught for zero at third slip off a sharp, rising delivery.
Taylor then trapped left-handed opener Shaun Marsh leg before wicket for 11 in his third over.
Marsh reviewed the decision, but television replays showed that the ball would have clipped the top of leg stump.
Those, however, proved to be the West Indies' only successes for the first session as after that, Smith, coming in at number three, and Clarke, treated the small first-day crowd to a flurry of top-notch shots.
The pair went on to put up 118 runs for the third wicket before Clarke was caught by wicketkeeper Ramdin for 47 off the bowling of all-rounder Jason Holder midway the second session.
First-Test centurion Adam Voges also looked comfortable before being caught behind by Ramdin off the bowling of Taylor for 37, shortly after tea, with the Australians on 210.
"I think it (day's play) is a good start," noted Smith. I think a big first-innings score is going to be crucial for us, so hopefully, we will continue to do well in the morning and take it from there."
Play is scheduled to resume at 10 a.m. today.