Dogged skipper Kraigg Brathwaite scored an unbeaten 101 on Saturday to lead the West Indies resistance as they chase 498 to win the first Test against Australia after Marnus Labuschagne joined rare company in making a double and single century.
The home side declared at lunch on day four in Perth after reaching 182-2 to go with their first innings 598-4, having bowled out the Caribbean nation for 283.
The in-form Labuschagne belted 104* to go with his first innings 204 – only the eighth player to achieve the 200-100 feat in the same Test, joining the likes of Sunil Gavaskar, Brian Lara and Kumar Sangakkara.
In reply, the West Indies battled to 192-3 at stumps, still 306 runs behind, with Kyle Mayers yet to score alongside Brathwaite.
Tagenarine Chanderpaul (45), Shamarh Brooks (11) and Jermaine Blackwood (24) were the wickets to fall.
Brathwaite said the team believed they could hang on for a draw or even a win.
“It all starts from the first over [on Sunday]. We don’t want to think too far ahead, just take it over by over, session by session,” he said.
“We’ve got to believe. It was good to get through today obviously and that first over tomorrow is very, very crucial. Australia are going to come hard and it’s important that we start extremely well.”
In a blow for Australia, skipper and pace spearhead Pat Cummins did not bowl after experiencing thigh soreness.
The experienced Brathwaite brought up his 5,000th Test run with a boundary off Cameron Green before completing a second successive 50 after his first innings 64.
Chanderpaul was dropped on 42 with the ball slipping out of Mitchell Starc’s fingers at full stretch in the deep after he hooked Green.
But the speedster quickly made amends when he bowled the son of West Indies great Shivnarine Chanderpaul to snap a dangerous 116-run stand.
Nathan Lyon’s spin accounted for Brooks, a concussion substitute for Nkrumah Bonner, with Steve Smith taking the catch at slip after an edge, and then Blackwood for 24 with Labuschagne the safe pair of hands.
But Brathwaite was unmovable and brought up his 11th Test century off 157 balls.
“For me it means everything … you know Australia is going to be a tough place for batting and to do it really meant a lot,” he said of getting to three figures.
Australia resumed at 29-1 with David Warner, who began on 17, the only wicket to fall, out for 48.
Labuschagne confidently built on his overnight three to reach a ninth Test century and a slice of history with Smith, who hit an unbeaten 200 in the first innings, not out 20.
“It’s always nice, it’s something I’ve never done in Test cricket [double century and century in the same match], very proud,” said Labuschagne.
In a setback for the West Indies, Mayers was unable to bowl with a right shoulder strain and Kemar Roach went off with a hamstring injury,
But the pace of Alzarri Joseph and Jason Holder proved intimidating.
Labuschagne edged a six off Joseph before a huge let-off next delivery when a brutal short ball flew off his bat onto the side of his helmet and he was caught.
But a no-ball was called as he made his way off the field, with the batsman undergoing a concussion check before continuing on 19.
“Obviously a bit of luck today with that bouncer, he [Joseph] was bowling fast there and it got away,” admitted Labuschagne.
Warner and Labuschagne weathered the storm until spinner Roston Chase ended their 81-run partnership, with the veteran opener caught by Brooks at short leg.
With runs flowing freely, Labuschagne powered to his century, from just 109 balls.
© Agence France-Presse