Windies show some resolve
At last, the besieged West Indian tourists displayed a bit of fight on Day 3 of the Boxing Day Test. They may trail by 459 runs and still have seven Australian second-innings wickets to take, but the Windies restored some pride to send the match into a fourth day – a prospect that seemed a long way off on Monday morning.
West Indies resumed on 6/91, but they ultimately racked up 192 runs for their last four wickets. First-Test century-maker Darren Bravo grinded his way to a team-high 81, while debutant Carlos Brathwaite – coming in at No.8 – made 59, and tailenders Kemar Roach (22), Jerome Taylor (15) and Jomel Warrican (11) made handy contributions before the side was bowled out for 271.
The previously listless attack created far more opportunities early in Australia’s second dig, dismissing openers Joe Burns (4) and David Warner (17) to have the hosts at 2/46. Australia wrested back control emphatically, however, to finish the day at 3/179.
Pattinson’s claims harmed by no-ball gaffes
In for the injured Mitchell Starc in this series, James Pattinson is staking a claim for long-term retention as he goes head-to-head with veteran Peter Siddle for a spot in Australia’s first-choice pace attack. The 25-year-old, who took five wickets in Hobart, took 4/72 in the Windies’ first innings at the MCG – including three lbws – but he twice let Carlos Brathwaite off the hook with overstepping no-balls. Meanwhile, Nathan Lyon claimed two caught-and-bowled efforts in his 4/66, and Siddle picked up the other two scalps.
— ONE News – Sport (@ONENewsSport) December 28, 2015
Khawaja, Smith up the tempo
First-innings studs Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith were at it again on Day 3, with Khawaja smashing 56 off 61 balls and Smith unbeaten on 70 off as many deliveries as Australia raced to a mammoth lead at better than five and a half runs per over. Mitch Marsh (18 not out) will resume with Smith on Day 4, so expect some entertaining batting followed by an early declaration on Tuesday.
— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) December 28, 2015
Around the world
NZ v SL – 2nd ODI: New Zealand has taken a 2-0 lead in their ODI series against Sri Lanka courtesy of a crushing 10-wicket win at Christchurch’s Hagley Oval. The tourists were bundled out for just 117, with Nuwan Kulasekara top-scoring with just 19. Matt Henry continued his great form with 4/33, while Mitch McClenaghan nabbed 3/32. The day belong to Martin Guptill, however, as the opener belted 93 not out off just 30 balls – including nine fours and eight sixes. He brought up his 50 in just 17 balls – a new NZ record, equal second-fastest in ODI history and just one ball short of AB de Villiers’ all-time record – as the Black Caps knocked off the meagre target with a preposterous 41.4 overs to spare, reaching 0/118 at 14.16 runs per over.
SA v ENG – 1st Test, Day 3: England took a firm grip on the first Test in Durban, dismissing No.1-ranked South Africa for just 214 to set up a first-innings lead of 89. Dean Elgar’s 118 not out was a shining light, but Stuart Broad (4/25) and Moeen Ali (4/69) caused all sorts of problems for the Proteas’ other batsmen. England reached 3/179 at stumps – a lead of 261 – thanks to strong contributions from Nick Compton (49), Joe Root (60 not out) and Joe Taylor (24 not out). An injury to Dale Steyn early in England’s second innings has hampered the hosts’ prospects of pulling off a comeback win.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 28, 2015
-Darren Bravo has the best overseas average of any West Indian batsman, with 1840 runs at 52.57 in 21 matches – ahead of even legendary knights Garfield Sobers (3957 runs at 50.72 in 49 matches) and Viv Richards (5404 runs at 50.50 in 73 matches).
-Australia’s run-rate of 5.59 so far in their second innings is their fourth-highest ever for an innings of 30-plus overs.
-Joe Root has equalled Virender Sehwag’s all-time record for most 50-plus scores in a calendar, notching his 13th on Day 3 against South Africa.
-Dean Elgar became the first South Africa opener since Gary Kirsten in 1997 to carry their bat.
-New Zealand’s run-rate of 14.16 was the second-highest in an ODI innings by any country, after only the Black Caps’ 15.83 against Bangladesh in Queenstown in 2007.