Starc shines with 350th test wicket, West Indies’ recovery tests Australia.

In a thrilling turn of events at the Gabba, Mitchell Starc showcased his prowess by claiming three crucial wickets, including his 350th Test scalp, to dismantle the West Indies’ top order. However, Kavem Hodge and Joshua Da Silva orchestrated a remarkable fightback during the middle session, frustrating the hosts on what appeared to be a batting-friendly pitch.

Despite winning the toss, West Indies faced early turmoil, losing 5 for 64 in the opening session, with Starc securing three wickets and Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins contributing one each. The top order struggled to adapt to the extra bounce, resulting in five of the top six players nicking deliveries they could have left.

The tide turned after the first dinner interval when Hodge and Da Silva, with resolute defense and astute decision-making, crafted an unbeaten partnership of 81. Displaying resilience as the pink ball softened and the pitch eased, they thwarted Australia’s bowlers, frustrating attempts to break West Indies’ highest stand of the series.

Earlier, West Indies’ top order faltered, with Kraigg Brathwaite succumbing to Hazlewood’s deceptive delivery. Tagenarine Chanderpaul and Kirk McKenzie steadied the ship, but McKenzie’s aggression led to his downfall as he nicked to slip. Starc’s return before the first break saw Chanderpaul and Alick Athanaze fall victim, the latter handing Starc his 350th Test wicket.

Australia, despite facing COVID-19 challenges within the camp, maintained their winning formula. Debutant Kevin Sinclair, in place of Gudakesh Motie, couldn’t prevent a disappointing first session for West Indies, who opted to bat. Australia’s Cameron Green, despite testing positive, contributed both in the field and with the ball. Usman Khawaja, declared fit after recovering from a head injury in the Adelaide Test, showcased his skills with two crucial catches at first slip. The intriguing contest sets the stage for a compelling continuation at the Gabba. – Courtesy ESPNcricinfo