The West Indies have been savaged by cricket fans after an insipid performance with the ball in the first innings that saw Australia pile on the runs in Perth. On a massive day for Australia on Thursday, Marnus Labuschagne made 204 for the second double-century of his career before Steve Smith made 200 not out as the hosts declared at 4-598.
Travis Head also got in on the run-fest but was dismissed agonisingly short of three figures for 99. The West Indies then got through a tricky two-hour period before stumps, ending play at 0-74 in a mini-fightback.
However their efforts with the ball and in the field left much to be desired. Aussie great Mark Waugh was particularly scathing in his assessment of the tourists in commentary.
“I don’t think there’s any sort of reason behind what they’re doing at the moment. They’re just hoping for a mistake somewhere," Waugh said.
“Just change it up. At the moment it’s far too easy. I’m not sure how they can get him out bowling this … it’s not Test match cricket. This is not Test match quality.”
With his recently tweaked batting technique, Smith's century brought him level with Don Bradman with his 29th Test century and only behind Ricky Ponting (41), Steve Waugh (32) and Matthew Hayden (30) of all Australians.
"Any time your name is mentioned alongside The Don it is pretty special and flattering," Smith said after play. "It was nice to get a big one today and set us up and put us in a good position."
Asked if he had a goal of one day eclipsing Ponting's tally of 41 centuries, Smith said he did not. "I'm 34 next year. I am not sure how long I will play for. We'll see," he responded.
"But 41 is a long way away. There are a lot of Tests in the next year for us, so hopefully I can get a few more in that period of time and go from there."
Smith resumed on Thursday morning on 59 not out and was aggressive from the outset, late-cutting and upper-cutting Alzarri Joseph to the third-man boundary. After becoming the third-fasted man to 29 Test tons after Bradman and Sachin Tendulkar, the former captain went big and put the West Indies to the sword.
"I think from the first one-dayer against England where I implemented the work I have been doing it felt very good straight away," Smith said about his revamped technique. "It was good to just spend another bit of long time out in the middle adapting to that change. It's a little different to how I have been playing.
"It's a little different to how I have been playing. I feel a lot more free and able to score in different areas and put a little more pressure back on the bowlers. Hopefully it stays for a little while."
Cricket fans shred West Indies over 'pathetic' scenes
Head's 99 came in just 95 balls, but his innings ended in heartache when he chopped Kraigg Brathwaite onto his own stumps one ball after Smith reached his 200. At that point it looked like Australia's bowlers were eying off the chance to run through the West Indies and assume full control of the match, but Brathwaite and Chanderpaul defied the hosts.
Chanderpaul was 47 not out at stumps after copping a number of painful blows to the body, while Brathwaite was unbeaten on 18. The Windies batters breathed some life back into the tourists after a day and a half in the field.
"It was a job well done. But the job is far from over," Brathwaite said. "Tomorrow is very important. The first hour once again. It was good to see the fight but we need to continue it."
But the Windies made the worst-possible start to the third day, with Chanderpaul caught by David Warner at slip off the bowling of Josh Hazlewood for 51. Despite their mini-fightback, fans were highly critical of the West Indies' display, labelling their efforts in the field 'horrible' and 'pathetic'.
— Matthew Humphreys (@MattHumphreys11) December 1, 2022
— Kaylan Geekie 🧢 (@KaylanGeekie) December 1, 2022
— gavin (@gavin2k) December 1, 2022
103/0 and 478/3 at Pindi and Perth respectively. Two venues which are supposed to be the most bowler friendly based on both international+domestic records.
What a joke. Great advert for Test Cricket. #ENGvsPAK #AUSvsWI
— Saad (@MuhammadSaad91) December 1, 2022
This is the worst bowling I’ve ever seen. Club cricketers bowl better than this. Embarrassing. #AUSvsWI
— Darren 🧢 (@DrBlackVelvet) December 1, 2022
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