Sports, Cricket

Aussies lead day one

Published : 17 Jan 2024 10:03 PM

Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins had all when Shamar Joseph enjoyed a memorable opening day in Test cricket as West Indies just dismantled their first innings about kept themselves in touch with Australia at Adelaide Oval on Wednesday.   

After hitting 36 from No. 11 in a final-wicket stand of 55 to lift the visitors from 133 for 9, Shamar Joseph became the 23rd player to strike with his first ball in Test cricket when he had new opener Steven Smith caught in the slips. In his first innings as opener, Smith had played a couple of strong pulls before becoming a little part of cricket history. 

But Shamar Joseph's day wasn't done yet. He added Marnus Labuschagne, top-edging a hook to long leg, to his tally and was a crowd favourite by the end of play. Things might have been even better for West Indies had wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva not dropped Usman Khawaja on 3 in Alzarri Joseph's first over.

Khawaja and Cameron Green, recalled at No. 4, managed to see out the closing half an hour of the day. Australia remained in control having kept West Indies to an under-par total after putting them into bat, but it was not the sort of dominant position that appeared likely midway through the afternoon when Hazlewood sliced through the middle order, including taking his 250th Test wicket.

There had been concerns over the nature of the contest given the disparity in experience and skill between the teams: Australia had 700 Test caps in their XI compared to 246 in West Indies' of which two players, Kraigg Brathwaite and Roach, held 168.

Left-hander Kirk McKenzie, playing his second Test, had offered some encouragement for the inexperienced visiting team with a well-constructed maiden fifty, but he was among the afternoon-session slide against Hazlewood as West Indies lost 6 for 35 and eyes were quickly turning to Smith in his new opening role. However, there was unexpected resistance from the final-wicket pair who saw out an extended session. Shamar Joseph, a 24-year-old who had just five first-class matches under his belt, was given a tough welcome to Test cricket when cracked on the helmet by Mitchell Starc but took on the quicks including mowing Hazlewood for six over the leg side. It was the second time in consecutive Tests that Australia had conceded a final-wicket stand over 50.

For the most part, Australia were excellent with the ball and Hazlewood was to the fore. His first wicket of the day, when Alick Athanaze shouldered arms and lost off stump, was his 250th and meant all four of Australia's frontline quicks had hit that mark - the first such instance in history of a quartet playing together with that tally.