West Indies will take a 35-run lead over Australia into the third day of the second Test in Brisbane after three sessions of punch and counterpunch, and a bold declaration by Pat Cummins that has the contest evenly poised.
Australia’s opener Usman Khawaja made 75 and was the rock for Australia against a venomous visiting pace attack.
He featured in two vital partnerships with the rollicking Alex Carey (65 off 49 deliveries) and swashbuckling Cummins (64 not out off 73) in his highest Test score to ensure Australia recovered from a dire 5-54 to declare at 9-289 after West Indies were dismissed for 311.
Cummins called for a review from the last ball before stumps and Tagenarine Chanderpaul was given out caught behind for four leaving West Indies on 13 at the close.
Earlier, West Indies opening bowlers Kemar Roach (3-47) and Alzarri Joseph (4-84) stunned Australia’s top order.
Steve Smith (six) failed again as an opener when Roach had him lbw in the first over. Joseph had a tentative Marnus Labuschagne brilliantly caught by a diving Kevin Sinclair at fourth slip before Roach removed Cameron Green (eight) and Travis Head for a first ball duck in successive deliveries.
Khawaja, ICC Test cricketer of 2023, was in serene form and appeared to be playing on a different surface to his teammates. His partnerships of 96 with Carey and 81 with Cummins, the ICC cricketer of the year, were key in Australia’s revival.
West Indies offspinner Sinclair did a backflip somersault to celebrate the opener’s wicket, his first in Test cricket. The debutant had earlier made a vital 50 to lift his side to a competitive total.
Carey made his own luck with the bat after enjoying a huge slice of fortune. Australia’s wicketkeeper was on eight, and Australia 5-72, when a ripping delivery from Shamar Joseph hit the off stump bail.
It rotated in its groove but did not dislodge and Carey somehow survived.
From that moment, he found top gear with an assortment of cover drives and reverse sweeps.
Sinclair and veteran paceman Roach (eight) added 31 for the ninth wicket after the visitors resumed at 8-266 on Friday.
The 24-year-old Sinclair now has nine first-class half-centuries, with a highest score of 86.
West Indies did well to recover from 5-64 to set Australia a competitive total.
No.5 batter Kavem Hodge (71) and wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva (79) were the stars on day one, while left-armer Mitchell Starc (4-82) was the pick of the Australian bowlers.