Run machine Marnus Labuschagne hit his third consecutive Test century and Travis Head also scored a ton on Thursday as Australia took control on the first day of the pink-ball second Test against the West Indies.
Labuschagne, at number three in a row, scored an unbeaten 204 in the first Test in Perth and then an unbeaten 104 to overtake England’s Joe Root as the world’s top-ranked Test batsman this week.
And he carried that form again in Adelaide with an unbeaten 120 to torment an injury-ravaged Caribbean team as the hosts posted 330-3 at stumps.
Head was 114 not out, having been relieved to convert three figures after being dismissed for 99 in the First Test.
“It’s good to be in good form,” said Head.
He said, “A chanceless century from Marnus.”
The visitors, who are missing three first-choice bowlers, enjoyed some success on a flat track, removing David Warner (21), Usman Khawaja (62) and skipper Steve Smith for ducks, which opened the door for the pacers. offered very little.
His knock saw Khawaja cross 1,000 Test runs for the year, becoming only the third man to hit the landmark in 2022 after Root and fellow Englishman Jonny Bairstow, who have both played more matches.
He lbw to debutant Devon Thomas, who earned his maiden Test wicket.
Like Labuschagne, Smith scored 200 in Perth, but in Adelaide he lasted only eight balls, caught and bowled by Jason Holder, while Warner had Alzarri Joseph caught by wicketkeeper Joshua da Silva.
Australia have won every day-night Test, including six in Adelaide, and will be looking to wrap up the two-match series after winning the opener by 164 runs.
West Indies coach Phil Simmons said, “It’s been a tough week to make sure we had that balance with the squad, especially with the amount of injuries.”
“Like the last game, we were on target in the first two sessions but in the last session we let the runs flow, so it’s disappointing.”
– Frustrated by injuries –
Both sides were without key players.
Australian fast bowlers Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood were dropped, replaced by Scott Boland and Michael Neser.
West Indies’ three mainstays were also injured, with all-rounder Kyle Mayer joined by pacers Kemar Roach and Jayden Seales.
Anderson Phillip, Marquino Mindley and Thomas started instead, the latter two starting.
But in another setback, Mindley, who arrived in Adelaide after a dash from Jamaica on Tuesday, lasted just two overs before succumbing to a hamstring problem.
His condition was so dire that Omar Phillips, who was playing club cricket in Australia, was flown to Adelaide to serve as an emergency fielder.
On a fine but overcast day, Smith elected to bat after winning the toss and was looking to make a big score.
Warner bided his time initially, but then dismissed Joseph in the ninth over with three scintillating fours.
But the left-handed batsman’s desire to score quick runs cost him. After slashing another wide ball from Joseph and taking a single, he was caught by da Silva.
Khawaja was just getting into his stride when Thomas lofted, the Australian was slow to react as the ball clipped his pads.
Smith was undone by good reflexes from the lanky holder, who got down to take the catch off his own ball.
As he departed, Labuschagne remained defiant to bring up his 10th Test century, hitting a four through cover off Thomas as the bowlers ran out of ideas.
Head, on his home ground, was equally poised to make a fifth century, also converting with a boundary off Joseph’s bowling.