Lunch Australia 598 for Dec 4 and 182 for Dec 2 (Labuschagne 104*, Warner 48, Roach 1-30) lead West Indies 283 by 497 runs
Marnus Labuschagne added an unbeaten century to his first innings 204 to help set up Australia’s statement at lunchtime on the fourth day against an injury-stricken West Indies in the Perth Test.
Australia declared 497 runs up front after Labuschagne had some luck, becoming only the third Australian after Greg Chappell and Doug Walters to score a double century and a century in the same Test. He reached the milestone just before lunch with a view of the border and celebrated by removing his helmet and raising his arms to the delight of the sparse crowd.
Labuschagne’s 308 runs in the Test came on a personal run at Optus Stadium after scoring 143 and 50 against New Zealand in the last Test played at the ground three years ago.
But opener David Warner missed a chance to make a big score after falling 48 in the first session. Warner, who has not made a Test century since January 2020, was unable to convert a strong start and fell to spinner Roston Chase just after the morning drink break.
He made 5 in the only failure in Australia’s massive first innings. With Australia in such a commanding position, Warner saw a big score and looked solid in his 71-ball knock before jabbing a full Chase delivery to the short leg.
From day four at 29 for 1, there were initially no clear signs of aggression from Labuschagne and Warner on a field with fewer cracks than expected due to the mild weather of the past few days.
But the speedy Alzarri Joseph conjured a sharp bounce to get Labuschagne up and down through his helmet, but the batter’s seemingly never-ending luck continued as it was ruled a no-ball.
After receiving medical attention, Labuschagne continued on his merry way, passing 2000 Test runs in Australia in his 31st innings. Only Sir Don Bradman (19 in England and 26 in Australia) and Sir Garfield Sobers (29 in the West Indies) have reached the milestone in a country faster.
It was probably needed earlier in the game, but Joseph summoned a vicious outburst during a riveting fight with Labuschagne, who occasionally found himself swinging clumsily to fight off the hostile short bowling.
But Labuschagne threw himself into anything loose in a trademark fashion, scoring his half-century with a beautiful straight to the limit from the speedy Jayden Seales. He lifted his aggression to reach his Test ninth century just minutes before the lunch break.
With their backs to the wall, after such a listless bowling and fielding effort over the first two days, the West Indies’ quick showing produced occasional fireworks, but breakthroughs were hard to come by amid a waiting game when australia will declare.
Spearhead Kemar Roach stumbled off the field just before the drink break after appearing to have injured a left quad in his follow-up. Roach had bowled well late on day four and claimed the wicket from opener Usman Khawaja.
Kyle Mayers, who may have been underused in Australia’s first innings, has not bowled in the innings due to a strain in his right teres major muscle.
Adding to the injury woes, top league batsman Nkrumah Bonner was substituted out of the game on day three with a concussion after being hit in the back of the helmet by a short delivery from Cameron Green.
Tristan Lavalette is a journalist from Perth