Australia dismantles West Indies’ top order to move within victory in first Test

Josh Hazlewood takes the wicket of Alick Athanaze on Thursday at Adelaide Oval.

Josh Hazlewood takes the wicket of Alick Athanaze on Thursday at Adelaide Oval. Photo: Getty

After Travis Head’s counter-punch century, Australian paceman Josh Hazlewood landed further blows to leave the West Indies on the ropes after two days of the first Test.

Home-town hero Head’s belligerent 119 helped Australia bank a 95-run first-innings lead at Adelaide Oval on Thursday.

At stumps, the wobbling West Indies are 6-73, with Hazlewood taking 4-2 from his initial 27 deliveries.

Hazlewood ripped through the top order after Australia posted 283 in reply to the West Indies’ first innings of 188.

South Australian Head dominated the innings, smacking a dozen fours and three sixes in an audacious 134-ball knock.

But the visitors unearthed a gem in Shamar Joseph.

Three years ago, Joseph, from the remote Guyanese village of Baracara, had only bowled with fruit and tape-balls.

Now, a year after playing his first first-class match, the 24-year-old is the 10th West Indian to take five or more wickets in an innings on Test debut.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Joseph told Fox Sports after capturing 5-95.

“The only thing left for me is to bring tears to my eyes … I can’t explain how emotional I am right now.”

Joseph’s feats helped curtail the Australian batsmen, apart from Head.

The 30-year-old reached his ton from 122 balls to a raucous reception from a parochial 23,698-strong home crowd.

On a tricky batting pitch, Head, Usman Khawaja (45) and No.10 Nathan Lyon (24) were the only Australians to pass 15.

Cameron Green’s return to the line-up fell flat when he was dismissed for 12 by Joseph in Thursday’s second over.

The West Indian novice later added the scalps of Mitchell Starc (10) and Lyon, adding to his prized day-one victims of Steve Smith (12) and Marnus Labuschagne (10).

Fellow debutant Justin Greaves (2-36) removed Khawaja and Alex Carey (15).

Kemar Roach (2-48) dismissed Mitchell Marsh for five and Pat Cummins for 12.

But Head flourished, mixing some edgy near-misses with brutal strokeplay.

He reached his century with a cracking cover drive, highlighting a return to form after averaging only 16 in the recent three-Test series against Pakistan.

The Head knock delivered Australia a handy lead and Hazlewood promptly cashed in with a stunning opening spell.

The right-armer, who took 4-41 in the first innings, removed Tagenarine Chanderpaul for a duck, Kraigg Brathwaite (one), Alick Athanaze (duck) and Kavem Hodge (three) in a 27-ball span.

Green (1-9) later dismissed Kirk McKenzie, who followed his 50 in the first dig with 26.

Greaves (24) was trapped lbw by Lyon (1-4) on the last ball of the day.

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