Smith hundred tops Taylor’s spell to give Aussies edge

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Kingston (Jamaica), June 12 (IANS) Steve Smith’s ninth hundred, fifth in six Tests, up-staged Jerome Taylor’s fireworks to lead an admirable Australian recovery as the visitors took honours on the opening day of the second Test against West Indies here.

Asked to bat, Australia were reduced to 16/2 by the irrepressible Taylor by the fifth over of the morning but Smith arrived to lash a splendid unbeaten 135 to lift his side to 258/4 at close at Sabina Park on Thursday.

The right-handed strokemaker was joined by captain Michael Clarke, who scored 47, first Test hero Adam Voges, who scored 37, and Shane Watson, who was unbeaten at the end on 20 runs.

Fast bowler Taylor shone brightly bowling with pace and getting the ball to swing to finish with 3/18 from 15 overs.

It was his opening burst which rocked Australia as he removed openers David Warner (0) and Shaun Marsh (11) in an inspired spell which yielded two wickets for no runs from six overs.

West Indies then had a great opportunity to stamp home their advantage but had that chance scuppered by seamer Kemar Roach’s indiscretion.

Clarke had made just three when he found himself tucked up by the 18th delivery he faced, and got a leading edge back to Roach, who snared the catch. The batsman was already walking off when replays showed that Roach had overstepped.

West Indies were made to pay dearly as Clarke and Smith proceeded to add 118 for the third wicket and dig Australia out of trouble. Smith has so far struck 16 fours and two sixes while Clarke counted four fours and two sixes.

The pair took the Aussies to lunch on 91/2 with positive batting but were helped by the ineffectiveness of Roach, seamer Jason Holder and left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul in particular.

Both batsmen continued in the same vein after lunch with Smith reaching his 50 in style. Just when the partnership was growing in stature, it was broken when Clarke drove at a wide ball from Holder and nicked a catch behind to Ramdin.

He was the only victim of the session as Smith found an ally in Voges to post a further 76 for the fourth wicket and take Australia to tea at 170/3.

Unbeaten on 86 at tea, Smith reached three figures after resumption when he stroked Permaul through cover for a boundary.

Voges too was finding his stride when he fell to Taylor, caught at the wicket driving. He faced 81 balls and struck five fours and a six.

West Indies muffed a great chance to remove Smith on 109 when Darren Bravo at slip failed to hold on to an edge off part-time spinner Kraigg Brathwaite. A rejuvenated Smith put his head down again to put on a further 48 with Watson and pile frustration on the Windies.

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