January 27, 2024

Second Test LIVE: Gabba affair on a knife’s edge after Australia’s bold declaration

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Wicket with a no-ball and Windies quick injured

Drama aplenty in the middle. Mitchell Starc has ripped a brutal yorker through No.11 Shamar Joseph. That is the definition of a sandshoe crusher. It’s given out LBW and it’s plumb. But Starc’s guilty of a front foot no-ball, so Joseph is not-out.

He’s in no state to bat on though. He went down immediately and right now has his shoe off with a fair bit of blood about. That’s a broken toe if ever I’ve seen one. He’ll be retiring hurt and surely won’t bowl tonight, he can barely walk.


Stats: Smith’s rare place in Australian fielding history


Wicket: Nathan Lyon snags another

Lyon is well into his work now and he’s trapped Kemar Roach in front. Referred upstairs after an on-field decision of out. Looked very likely, a flatter, quicker ball and Roach had no real idea.

Hitting the top of leg stump, umpire’s call has it and that’s a fall of 3-2 since the dinner break.

Absolutely stuck in the mud with just one run from the last five overs. West Indies are in a heap now and Australia will have plenty of momentum when they start their innings.

West Indies 9-185: (Sinclair 10*, Roach 1) lead by 207 runs


Wicket: Smith takes a screamer, then leaves the field

And now Steve Smith with an absolute belter at second slip. Alzarri Joseph has thrown everything at a full ball from Josh Hazlewood. That was fa-lying. Smith is at full stretch above his head – effectively taking it one-handed – and that’s a brilliant catch. All Australia now.

Although… he’s left the field immediately afterwards. The body was under a bit of strain there. Looks to be in discomfort with a side issue or stomach muscle there. Fears are allayed though as he returns to the field in quick time.

Put it this way, if it was me, I’d be taking my time, having a rest and dodging an innings under lights. But I’d also be incapacitated for six weeks if I tried to move like that too.

West Indies 8-185: (Sinclair 10*, Roach 1*) lead by 207 runs


Wicket: Carey hangs on with third attempt

Josh Hazlewood does the job. Alex Carey does his best to undo it, juggling a simple caught behind from Greaves a couple of times before hanging onto it with his third grab.

Straight seam from Hazlewood draws the edge from Greaves and it’s in and out of Carey’s gloves. He gets one hand to the rebound before eventually really it in as his elbows hit the ground.

Very relieved man behind the stumps and that’s a critical breakthrough – Greaves was holding this together with 33 from 69 balls. Alzarri Joseph to the crease and he won’t muck about.

West Indies 7-184: (Greaves 33, Sinclair 10*) lead by 206 runs


The night session begins

We’re underway under lights. Things have cooled down in BrisVegas thankfully. But this Test is cooking. Justin Greaves and Kevin Sinclair at the crease, with Greaves on strike to Nathan Lyon. He’s been at his best this innings, and starts again with a short leg, leg slip and conventional man at first.

First ball: Flighted and full. Defended stoutly by Greaves.Second ball: Floated up again, this time on leg, and Greaves turns it through mid-wicket for a single.

Third ball: Sinclair now, no leg slip for him. 89 km/hr on off stump and prodded back to the bowler.

Fourth leg: Twirls away again at the same speed. A little shorter and Sinclair is back and across defending.

Fifth stump: Slower and flighted at 86.7km/hr. He’s forward and defending.

Sixth ball: Same speed, similar length and a little straighter. Full face of the bat without much footwork to the defence.

Josh Hazlewood now from the other end.

West Indies 6-184: (Greaves 33*, Sinclair 10*) lead by 206 runs


Stats: Australia’s bowling card


Tea: Could we see a West Indies declaration?

Day/night tea is upon us. Windies do well once more to stop Australia’s momentum, with Justin Greaves and Kevin Sinclair adding 26 after losing three quick wickets. The visitors break with a lead of 205.

Kevin Sinclair steadies the ship for the West Indies.Credit: Getty

And now the question turns to whether we might see a declaration tonight from the West Indies, in similar vein to what Pat Cummins did last night, to bowl at Australia under lights.

It will be a gutsy call either way. Or Australia might make it easy for Kraigg Brathwaite and knock over the last four wickets inside the last three hours.

Right now, with a lead just over 200, it’s not enough.

But add another 70 or 80 – which will require the West Indies upping their scoring rate, which Sinclair and Greaves might naturally do, and suddenly you’re weighing up the value of 30-40 minutes bowling under lights at a shaky Australian top order.

Can’t imagine Steve Smith and Usman Khawaja are hanging out for a short, difficult stay at the crease tonight.

Compelling times in Brisbane. Not least with heavy thunderstorms on the way tomorrow, and the threat of more to come on day five.


Stats: Lyon/Smith combo will go down in history

One we were working on earlier before the Test exploded, thanks to Australia’s fielding, and the Steve Smith catch at first slip that triggered a 3-34 collapse.

It hasn’t been the best Test in the field for Australia or Smith, especially with dropped catches from he and Cameron Green in the first innings that they’d take 90 times out of 100. But he and Nathan Lyon have a very good thing going on.


Watch: Green hangs on with one hand

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