Marnus Labuschagne has continued his run-scoring ways and Travis Head made a hometown century as Australia piled on the runs and the pain for the West Indies in the Day/Night Test in Adelaide.
As has become a tradition of the Australian summer, the day-night test arrived at the usual venue of Adelaide Oval with Australia beaming with confidence following its first test win.
Here are the moments that mattered from Day one in Adelaide:
Selection drama in both camps
Australian captain Pat Cummins was a confirmed out prior to the first day. As Ashes hero Scott Boland made his return to the Test XI for the first time since January.
Steve Smith, as he did in the Adelaide Test last year, was named captain in Cummins’ absence. But, the changes didn’t stop there for the Australian team.
Like the morning of the Adelaide Test last year, Michael Neser, who was called into the squad this week as cover, replaced Josh Hazlewood, who withdrew for the game with ‘general soreness’.
Hazlewood was later discovered to have suffered a ‘side strain’, something that he has dealt with in the past.
The West Indian camp was hit with mass changes to the playing XI, following a brutal Perth Test.
Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales, and Kyle Mayers, all key members of the West Indies bowling attack were ruled out and replaced by Anderson Phillip, Devon Thomas, and Marquino Mindley.
Mindley was called over to join the squad earlier in the week. Arriving in Australia two days ago, joining Thomas as debutants.
Shamrah Brooks retained his place in the XI after replacing Bonner as a concussion substitute in Perth.
Warner misses another golden opportunity
Stand-in captain Smith, had no hesitation in batting first when the coin fell his way. In an attempt to give his profitable top order the chance to cash in against a depleted Windies attack.
After an early contest between the Australian openers and Alzarri Joseph and Jason Holder, David Warner started asserting himself. He began to take control, hitting Joseph for three boundaries through the covers in the one over, releasing the shackles.
Joseph ended up having the last laugh, following up with a short ball which Warner missed. Yet, had him ducking and weaving before enticing him, edging behind to Josh Da Silva with a wide delivery.
Warner, visibly upset as he walked off, wasted another golden chance to end his Test century drought. Warner’s last test century came in January 2020, with a classy 111* against New Zealand at the SCG.
More pain for the visitors
The blows kept on coming for the West Indies. After losing the toss, the tourists found themselves down another fast bowler and were scrambling for options.
Already missing quick bowlers Kemar Roach and Jayden Seales through injury, Marquino Mindley broke down on Test debut, leaving Kraigg Brathwaite searching for answers.
Mindley had only arrived in Australia from the Caribbean two days before the start of play. He managed to get through two overs only before pulling up lame toward the end of his second over.
He went down the race with the physio before drinks and wasn’t sighted after the Dinner break.
Khawaja reaches a big milestone and crosses 50 again
2022 has been the year that Usman Khawaja never thought he’d get at International level. After getting his opportunity back in January, his stellar form throughout the year has been one of the feel-good stories of Australian cricket.
As the Dinner break neared, Khawaja leaned into a cover drive to send the ball to the boundary for four. Bringing up 1,000 Test runs for the calendar year simultaneously.
Joining only Englishmen Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root as the only other two batsmen to hit the milestone this year. Khawaja becomes the first Australian to reach 1,000 runs in a calendar year since Marnus Labuschagne in 2019.
Khawaja raised his bat for his second 50 this series, Australia went into the Dinner break at 1/89.
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Smith’s collectors item
Khawaja was only just dismissed via LBW by debutant Thomas. The umpire on-field gave the decision out immediately, but also immediate was Khawaja’s review.
The ball only just edged the wickets, but due to the umpires’ original decision, Khawaja had to walk off.
Australia’s stand-in captain, Smith was brought to the crease after the dismissal of Khawaja, early into the second session.
He didn’t last very long either, departing for a duck. It may not seem that deep, but it was only his fifth Test duck on Australian soil and third Test duck in 2022.
To make matters even rarer, Smith was caught and bowled off the bowling of West Indies’ big man Jason Holder.
Smith’s awkward slice on the ball levitated the ball upwards and comfortably into the hands of Holder. Without hesitation, Smith headed straight for the pavilion.
It wasn’t all bad news as Travis Head was welcomed to the crease by his adored local crowd. Another Aussie in form, Head came off an unfortunate 99 in Perth.
The stats don’t lie
Over the six Day-Night Tests held at the Adelaide Oval, a trend has formed which has stayed consistent throughout most games.
It was found that the second session is generally easier for batting. The ball is more worn, the fielders sit in the sun, and usually, runs galore for the batters.
This wasn’t the case for Australia – at least at first. Khawaja and Smith departed early into the session, bringing Travis Head to the crease on his home ground.
As the Windies hoped to continue the string of wickets, they didn’t come. Labuschagne and Head quickly settled into their innings’.
Labuschagne brought up another half-century, before the final break. Both batters looked unstoppable heading into the final session.
The final session in a day-night Test in Adelaide is typically the hardest conditions to bat. Only in one Test in the past, no wickets have fallen in the final session.
This one-off occurrence turned into a re-occurrence when Labuschagne and Head stayed at the crease for the entirety of the session, in a session to remember.
Double ton delight for Australia
The final session on Day One which is usually the hardest session to bat became delight for Australia.
Labuschagne brought up his third consecutive century, becoming the third player to score three centuries in a row against the West Indies.
Labuschagne now has an average of 428 this series, after only being dismissed once in the first inning of the first Test.
As the local hero, Head was storming toward a fast-paced century, after just missing out in the first Test. Head collected his fifty Test century in the final session, continuing his reputation of moving the game along and putting the bowlers on the back foot.
The new ball arrived and this was statistically the West Indies’ best chance to score any late wickets in the day. But nothing was going to stop Head from getting a century in front of his home crowd.
He did so with only a few overs left in the day, with a lovely off-drive for four. Head finally recorded his first Test century in Adelaide and the fifth of his career.
The Aussies completed Day One on 3/330, only completing 89 overs in the day. Labuschagne and Head compiled 199 runs together after conjoining early into the second session.
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