SYDNEY – Persistent rain marred the second day’s play of the third Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground with West Indies advancing to 248 for 7 after showers brought an end to proceedings in the 12th over of the day.
Further rain is expected on the third day and a draw now looms as the most likely outcome. However in the time available fast-bowling allrounder Carlos Brathwaite again impressed with a belligerent and entertaining 69.
The start of play was delayed by 10 minutes after morning rain, and when Nathan Lyon was finally able to take the ball he sent down only three deliveries before the rain returned to the ground and the players to the dressing rooms. An 80-minute delay was followed by 3.3 overs of spin before further rain ended the session early.
The weather cleared enough for play to resume after lunch and the 7.2 overs that were then bowled at least provided the crowd with some entertainment as Brathwaite went after James Pattinson with the new ball. He brought up his half-century from exactly 50 balls with the first of two consecutive fours off Pattinson, and became the first West Indian since Darren Bravo in 2010 to score a fifty in each of his first two Tests.
Brathwaite upped the ante in Pattinson’s next over, lifting him over extra cover for six and two balls later clipping another six over square leg, with 15 runs coming from the over after Denesh Ramdin started it with a three. But Pattinson had his revenge in his third over of the day when he produced an excellent fullish outswinger that bowled Brathwaite, whose runs were made off 71 deliveries.
It was the end of an 87-run partnership between Brathwaite and Ramdin, who quietly moved along to 30 not out from his 103 balls. He had just struck two runs off Josh Hazlewood, whose previous three overs in the day had all been maidens, when the afternoon rain arrived and set in. Play was eventually abandoned for the day with Ramdin on 30 and Kemar Roach yet to score, West Indies having added 41 to their overnight total.
Brathwaite later expressed disappointment that he could not have gone on to get a century.
“I just went out there and tried to play my game. Thankfully I got from 30-odd overnight to 69. I’m not satisfied with the fact I didn’t carry on to get three figures or to see out the day but still happy in the sense that I managed to record my highest Test score so far.”
“I was very, very upset, not on the dismissal because I think it was a good nut – didn’t handle it as well as I could have though – but walking off I was upset that once again I got a start and couldn’t carry on. One of my mantras in cricket is when things are going good you maximise, because when things are going bad it’s very hard to play yourself out of a slump. But reaching halfway off and hearing the applause and seeing some people standing, I took a step back and just enjoyed the feeling, raised my bat and looked around. It was a very good feeling, I felt at home and really appreciated it,” he said.
Though his number eight position in the order might not suggest a lynchpin in the batting department, Brathwaite confirmed he was no bunny.
“Funnily enough when I was growing up I used to bat No. 3 and I was very defensive. I used to bat the majority of balls and Rahul Dravid was my idol. A little shift now, in the years since I’ve bulked up and changed my game a bit I’ve looked to Kevin Pietersen, the way he puts bowlers under pressure, the way he stamps his authority on the game. If I can have half the career he had I’ll be happy with that.”
In taking the West Indies as far as 248 for 7, Brathwaite has given the West Indies a chance to put some pressure on Australia’s batsmen. Even so, Brathwaite still felt there were more runs to be had down the order, and there was plenty to like about the detailed way in which he looked at the talents of the lower-order batting Ramdin will have for company on day three.
“We always go out there with a positive mindset,” he said. “Kemar Roach has been batting very well, Jerome Taylor has a Test hundred, and Jomel Warrican will never let any of us forget he’s averaging 45 in Test cricket, only being dismissed once. So the guys in the dressing room can back their talents and see how far we can go from here.”
West Indies 1st Innings (Overnight; 207/6)
K Brathwaite c Smith b Lyon 85
S Hope c †Nevill b Hazlewood 9
D Bravo c Khawaja b Pattinson 33
M Samuels run out (Hazlewood/†Nevill) 4
J Blackwood b Lyon 10
D Ramdin+ not out 30
J Holder* c Burns b O’Keefe 1
C Brathwaite b Pattinson 69
K Roach not out 0
Total: 248/7 (86.2 Overs)
Extras: (b 5, lb 1, nb 1) 7
Still to Bat: J Taylor, J Warrican.
Fall of Wickets: 1-13 (Hope, 4.3 ov), 2-104 (Bravo, 34.4 ov), 3-115 (Samuels, 41.3 ov), 4-131 (Blackwood, 49.4 ov), 5-158 (KC Brathwaite, 61.6 ov), 6-159 (Holder, 64.3 ov), 7-246 (CR Brathwaite, 85.5 ov).
Australia Final XI: D Warner, J Burns, U Khawaja, S Smith*, A Voges, M Marsh, P Nevill+, S O’Keefe, J Pattinson, J
Hazlewood, N Lyon.
Australia 1st Innings Bowling: J Hazlewood 15.2-5-37-2, J Pattinson 16-3-67-2 (nb1), N Lyon 35-12-78-2, M Marsh 4-1-15-0, O’Keefe 16-5-45-1.