West Indies stage gritty fightback in Gabba Test

Joshua Da Silva has top scored with 79 to steer West Indies to 8-266 at stumps at the Gabba.

Joshua Da Silva has top scored with 79 to steer West Indies to 8-266 at stumps at the Gabba. Photo: Getty

The Australian cricket summer’s longest partnership has given West Indies a fighting chance at the Gabba, Josh Da Silva and second-gamer Kavem Hodge showing welcome grit to halt another quick kill.

The pair came together at 5-64 after a devastating opening session in Brisbane on Thursday and defied the narrative to put on 149 and pilot the visitors to 8-266.

It took 311 balls for the hosts to crack the pair, their union the most profitable in a day-night Test against Australia and comfortably the longest in terms of balls faced by any team this summer.

The welcome retort, which also featured some final-hour swagger from debutant Kevin Sinclair (16 not out) and Alzarri Joseph (32 off 21 balls), followed a 10-wicket loss in Adelaide’s series opener.

That match finished before lunch on day three in the venue’s shortest-ever Test and the hosts looked on pace to match it in Brisbane.

Mitchell Starc (4-68) had ripped through the visitor’s top order to become just the third left-arm quick – and fifth Australian – to take at least 350 Test wickets.

But, on a wicket that had its last hint of green shaved clean before play, the pink ball quickly softened.

And wicketkeeper Da Silva (79) and No.5 Hodge (71), in just his second Test, looked at ease in a chanceless middle session that featured some sublime straight and cover drives.

Nathan Lyon (1-62) found the breakthrough, Da Silva trapped in front and unsuccessfully reviewing to expose debutant Kevin Sinclair less than three overs before the introduction of the second new ball.

Hodge couldn’t see it off, playing across the line as Starc nabbed a fourth wicket shortly after 9pm local time.

A horizontal Cameron Green, social distancing before play and in the field after a positive COVID-19 test on Wednesday, almost added to his highlight reel in gully but couldn’t hang on to a Hodge edge when he was on 59.

There was little else to crow about for a bowling unit that had looked on track for another early finish after West Indies skipper Kraigg Braithwaite won the toss and chose to bat in ideal conditions.

The captain survived two reviews, one given out and one not, before falling for a scratchy four off 25 balls when he nibbled at a wide Josh Hazlewood (2-32) delivery.

No.3 Kirk McKenzie (21 off 25) then tried to move the game on but had to depart when Usman Khawaja held onto a sharp high catch at first slip off Pat Cummins (1-70).

Chanderpaul had moved steadily to 21 but his wicket swung the contest in the host’s favour, Starc collecting his 349th Test scalp when second slip Steve Smith pocketed a simple catch.

Starc then notched the milestone, Carey taking a regulation edge to see the back of Athanaze for eight.

Justin Greaves (six) was the fifth to fall, newly-crowned ICC Test player of 2023 Khawaja with another sharp catch low to the ground to gift Starc his third to cap a one-sided session.

The 23,602 fans were then witness to an unlikely fightback, while the prospect of weekend rain adds another element of intrigue.


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