Steve Smith.
Steve Smith has Australia eyeing off a win after enjoying his best innings as a Test opener. Image by Darren England/AAP PHOTOS
  • cricket

Australia within 156 of Windies win, Smith unbeaten

January 27, 2024

Australia require a further 156 runs to win the Gabba pink-ball Test with Steve Smith still at the crease after West Indies lost strike bowler Shamar Joseph to a crushed big right toe.

The hosts were 2-60 at stumps on the third day of the second Test on Saturday with Smith 33 not out and looking as assured as he has been since moving to opener.

Australia have their nose in front but West Indies will still give themselves some hope of making the run chase of 216 interesting. Rain is forecast for Brisbane on Sunday and Monday.

Marnus Labuschagne (five) failed for the second time in the Test, out once again to a diving Kevin Sinclair catch in the slips.

Justin Greaves gets Marnus Labuschagne out.
Justin Greaves celebrates after the West Indies quick dismissed Marnus Labuschagne at the Gabba.

West Indies were all out for 193 in their second innings when Mitchell Starc hit Joseph flush on the foot and the paceman was unable to continue.

He limped from the field and was unable to bowl in the final session, but was later assessed and cleared of any fracture.

The tourists lost 3-1 immediately after the second break with their nemesis Josh Hazlewood (3-23) taking his series wicket tally to 14 and Nathan Lyon (3-42) chiming in.

A piece of Travis Head brilliance at short leg had earlier given Australia the edge in a tense second session.

Head ran out in-form No.5 Kavem Hodge (29) when the visitors were 4-148 and in control.

Hodge, who made 71 in the first innings, played Lyon straight to Head and wandered out of his crease.

Head gathered and flicked the ball onto the stumps with Hodge’s bat in the air after it had bounced before the crease.

Alick Athanaze (35) was dropped by Smith before tea but gave him another chance off Lyon that he accepted with glee.

Cameron Green then came up with a piece of magic of his own at gully to tap up a flying edge from Josh Da Silva (seven) and grab it with one hand at the second attempt.

“We’re in a decent position but understand there’s still a lot of hard work to do,” Lyon said.

“The bowling attack did exceptionally well today in pretty hard, hot humid conditions.

“Travis has taken it on, wants that spot (at short leg, and it was a) big turning point, he’s been fantastic.”

Parried, juggled – and caught!

Cameron Green held his nerve! #OhWhatAFeeling | #AUSvWI

— (@cricketcomau) January 27, 2024

In the first session, West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite (16) drove loosely to cover off Green and promising left-hander Kirk McKenzie (41) was striking the ball beautifully when he was lbw attempting to sweep Lyon.

In their first innings, West Indies made 311 after electing to bat before Australia responded with 9-289 declared.

The visitors are seeking to win their first Test in Australia since Brian Lara and Curtly Ambrose spearheaded a 10-wicket triumph in Perth in 1997.

“You never know what could have happened but the game must go on … you can’t worry about who’s not there,” West Indies quick Alzarri Joseph said of his injured namesake being unable to bowl on Saturday night.

“We bowled pretty well. We’ll keep pegging away … you never know what can happen on the fourth day.”