Australia takes 459-run lead after day 3 against W Indies

December 28, 2015

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Steven Smith and Usman Khawaja compiled confident half centuries Monday as Australia took a 459-run lead over the West Indies with two days remaining in the second test.

Smith elected not to enforce the follow-on after Darren Bravo and Carlos Brathwaite fired a spirited West Indies first innings that ended on 271, after being 91-6 overnight.

Australia, which scored 551-3 in its first innings, went to stumps at 179-3 in its second and is likely to declare early Tuesday. Smith will resume day four on 70 not out with Mitchell Marsh on 18.

An Australian win still appears the most likely outcome, but the West Indies did well merely to force the game to a day 4, having been in a dire predicament going into Monday's play.

"I was happy with the fight that we showed," Brathwaite said. "Ultimately the game is very far out of our hands and it's going to take a monumental effort to bring ourselves back into the game and even try to draw or win it."

Bravo made a patient 81 and was the last man out at tea, and Carlos Brathwaite rode his luck to make 59 in his test debut as the pair shared a 90-run seventh-inning stand.

After Brathwaite was caught and bowled by off-spinner Nathan Lyon (4-66) with the last ball before lunch, Bravo stubbornly anchored his team's tail to restore some badly needed respectability.

"Although we're not satisfied with where we are in the game, with the effort and intensity we had out on the field today, we should give ourselves a pat on the back," Brathwaite said.

James Pattinson (4-72), who appeared to dismiss Brathwaite twice in the morning session - one clean bowled and the other caught at long leg - only to have both deliveries called for no balls, broke through with the new ball after lunch by trapping Kemar Roach lbw for 22 with full-pitched delivery.

"It cost us a bit of time today and a few runs, so I have to work on it and try and improve it," Pattinson said of the front-foot no balls.

Jerome Taylor made an aggressive 15 before being caught behind off Lyon, and the innings ended when Bravo sliced a Pattinson ball to Steven Smith at gully.

Bravo's dogged knock held the innings together, facing 204 balls over almost a day's play and driving eight boundaries.

"Bravo didn't give us much at all. He made us work really hard for his wicket," Pattinson said. "The same with Brathwaite when he came out. He looked pretty solid and fought pretty hard."

The West Indies bowlers continued the momentum in the final session, showing significant improvement on their poor efforts in the first innings and in the series opener in Hobart.

First-innings centurion Joe Burns lasted just two shaky overs before nicking a Jason Holder out-swinger to Kraigg Braithwaite at second slip for 4.

Fellow-opener David Warner made another early exit, scoring just 17 before becoming Carlos Brathwaite's first test wicket when he was caught by Holder at gully.

Brathwaite celebrated the dismissal in exuberant fashion, running around the wicket and colliding with Holder before sliding along the ground.

Khawaja shared a quick-fire 77-run stand with Steven Smith before offering a top-edge to wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin off Holder for 56.