Cricket-Labuschagne century puts Australia in charge v West Indies


FILE PHOTO: Cricket - Ashes - Second Test - Australia v England - Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, Australia - December 20, 2021 Australia's Marnus Labuschagne REUTERS/Morgan Sette

PERTH (Reuters) - Marnus Labuschagne led Australia's domination of the West Indies on Wednesday with 154 not out as his side cruised to 293-2 at stumps on day one of the first test at Perth Stadium.

Electing to bat first, the hosts started cautiously after three frenetic months of white-ball cricket but built momentum throughout the day in front of a modest crowd of 10,929.

Steve Smith was on 59 unbeaten with Labuschagne at the close.

"Whenever you finish a day nearing 300, only losing two wickets, (it means) the batters have got in," Labuschagne said.

"If you're patient and you've got a good process, you can score big runs."

David Warner waited until the fourth over to play a shot in anger, pulling fast bowler Jayden Searles (1-63) to the fence. The opener chopped the next ball on to his stumps though, departing for five.

The tourists were then made to toil as Labuschagne slowly settled in with Usman Khawaja. The pair comfortably worked the ball around the defensive field, taking few risks to reach 72-1 at lunch.

When both Queenslanders passed fifty, visiting captain Kraigg Brathwaite was left searching for answers as he tried six different bowlers.

It was all-rounder Kyle Mayers (1-24) who gave the islanders a much-needed breakthrough before tea, ending the century partnership when he seamed a delivery away from Khawaja (65) into the hands of wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva.

In a sign that he was in for a good day, Labuschagne evaded the fielders three times in the second session with streaky shots that could easily have been his downfall but instead rolled to the boundary.

The combination of lethargic fielding and a flattening pitch allowed the 28-year-old to bat more fluently as the day wore on.

In the 67th over he cut Seales for four and celebrated his eighth test ton by cradling the bat to mark the recent birth of his daughter.

A sharp diving chance missed by debutant Tagenarine Chanderpaul in the deep and a failed lbw review off Kemar Roach in the final overs of the day ensured Smith and Labuschagne's 142-run stand remained unbroken.

The two-test series includes a pink-ball match in Adelaide starting Dec. 8.

(Reporting by Joel Dubber in Perth; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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