Head, Labuschagne centuries put Australia on top in 2nd test
ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne posted big hundreds in a 297-run partnership to set Australia on course for a declaration in the second cricket test Friday before Michael Neser took two wickets under lights to consolidate the home team’s dominance in the day-night match against West Indies.
Head’s 175 and Labuschagne’s 163 helped Australia to 511-7 before stand-in skipper Steve Smith declared the innings just before the second interval on Day 2.
Opener Tagenarine Chanderpaul resisted the Australian bowling attack for 98 deliveries, scoring a defiant unbeaten 47 as West Indies struggled to 102-4 at stumps.
Paceman Neser (2-20) had West Indies skipper Kraigg Brathwaite (19) and No. 3 Shamarh Brooks (8) caught behind and Nathan Lyon took a return catch to dismiss Jermaine Blackwood (3) and become the leading all-time wicket-taker at the Adelaide Oval, surpassing the great Shane Warne’s career haul of 56.
Allrounder Cameron Green chimed in late with the wicket of Devon Thomas (19) before Chanderpaul, in his second test, and night-watchman Anderson Phillip (1 not out) navigated the final four overs to stumps, with the West Indies still trailing by 409 runs.
“We had them out there for nearly two days, then took advantage of the night session,” said Neser, one of two injury-enforced changes to Australia’s bowling attack after a 164-run win in the first test at Perth. Offspinner Lyon moved to 57 wickets at the Adelaide Oval in his 12th test and is expected to play a greater role as the pitch deteriorates this week.
“He’s a great athlete,” Neser said. “He’s been performing for many years now — it’s great to see him getting milestones.”
Labuschagne also had a milestone moment earlier Friday when he surpassed 3,000 career test runs in his 51st innings, a rate second only to Australian legend Donald Bradman.
He was on 120 overnight and Head was 114 when Australia resumed Day 2 at 330-3.
Head outpaced Labuschagne in their big partnership, reaching 150 faster and plundering a depleted West Indies attack for 20 boundaries.
Labuschagne was the only wicket to fall in the first session on Day 2, playing a nearly chanceless innings to follow up his double-century and a century in Perth before he edged the versatile Thomas to wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva in the 111th over.
He faced 305 deliveries in a 7 1/2-hour innings before Da Silva’s sharp, reflex catch up at the stumps broke up Australia’s key partnership.
Head continued on his home ground, reaching a career test high of 175 from 219 balls before he was run out following a mix-up with Green.
Head seemed destined for a double century before his run out following good outfield work by the 33-year-old Thomas, who was making his test debut and was the pick of the West Indies bowlers with figures of 2-53 despite being selected as a backup wicketkeeper for the tour.
Green was later bowled by Alzarri Joseph (2-107) before Alex Cary guided Australia past 500 with an unbeaten 41 from 54 balls.
Carey finished the day with two catches behind the wicket to underline Australia’s dominance.
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