REUTERS – Australia were on the brink of a thumping victory over West Indies in the first test on Saturday after forcing the follow-on and reducing the tourists to 35 for five, still 325 runs behind, when lunch was taken early on the third day at Hobart.
Josh Hazlewood (4-45) took the lead as the hosts took the last three wickets to wrap up the tourists’ first innings for 223 inside five overs on a chilly morning at Bellerive Oval.
The fall of Darren Bravo (108), who had completed his seventh test century in the opening over, gave the West Indies batsmen only brief respite, however, as Steve Smith sent them straight back in again.
It was a fired-up James Pattinson, playing his first test in 18 months and expensive in the first innings, who then provided the spearhead as the hosts ripped through West Indies’ batting order.
Opener Rajendra Chandrika lasted just three balls before departing with his third duck in four test innings, edging Pattinson’s delivery to Smith at second slip.
Bravo, so impressive in the first innings, was Pattinson’s next victim in the sixth over of the innings, dragging the ball onto his stumps for four.
Two overs later and Pattinson sent back Marlon Samuels (3) and Jermaine Blackwood (0) in successive balls, giving Australia a hat-trick chance for the second time in the day.
Pattinson was unable to convert and it was all-rounder Mitchell Marsh who next took advantage of the feeble West Indies batting, having Denesh Ramdin caught at gully for four with his first delivery.
Only opener Kraigg Brathwaite of the West Indies batsmen got into double figures and he will resume after the break on 21 not out alongside his captain Jason Holder, who had scored one run.
West Indies pace bowler Shannon Gabriel did not bat in the first innings and is unlikely to do so in the second after injuring his ankle on day one.
Hazlewood also took two wickets in two balls in the rump end of West Indies’ first innings, removing Kemar Roach (31) to end his 97-run partnership with Bravo, and inducing Jerome Taylor to a thick edge onto his stumps for a duck.
Australia made 583 for four declared in their first innings on the back of a world record fourth wicket stand of 449 between Adam Voges and Shaun Marsh.
The three-match series continues with tests in Melbourne and Sydney around the New Year.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford)