Steven Smith carried on with his sublime form in international cricket, notching up his ninth Test ton, and his fifth in his last six Tests, as Australia recovered from yet another poor start to end the day at a healthy 258 for 4. Smith ended the day, unbeaten on 135, with Shane Watson for company. For West Indies, their opening bowler Jerome Taylor came up with a sensational spell, in which he dismissed both openers. But, the lack of support from the others meant Australia could breath easy once he was away from the bowling crease. And, Dinesh Ramdin had yet another disappointing day as West Indies captain as his bowlers could not make good use of a reasonably grassy surface.
Smith batted with ease, finding the gaps without much trouble. He was especially severe on Veerasammy Permaul, stepping out, flicking and cutting the spinner with ease. In fact, it was with a couple of straight sixes against the same bowler that Smith brought up his fifty and his team's hundred. At the other end, skipper Michael Clarke also grew in confidence. He drove and pulled Jason Holder for fours early in his innings, and then punished a Kemar Roach losener for a maximum. The Aussie captain slowed down a bit, even as Smith continued to find the boundaries. Their partnership was taking Australia to a position of comfort when Clarke was caught behind off Holder for 47.
Earlier in the day, Taylor had gotten the hosts off to an unbelievable start, swinging the ball vigorously. He had David Warner caught at slip with one that reared off a length and took the edge. Not soon after, Taylor had Shaun Marsh 'trapped' in front of the wicket. After a couple of away swingers, Taylor brought the third one back in, which Marsh failed to read, and the Aussies had stumbled to 16 for 2. It could easily have been 22 for 3 after Roach had Clarke caught and bowled. But the replays showed that it was an illegal delivery as the fast bowler had overstepped. There weren't too many chances offered thereafter.
While West Indies were disappointing with the ball, they were also unlucky as far as team selection was concerned. Some of their key players were ruled out of the Test as they were unfit. Marlon Samuels had a problem with his eye, last match hero Devendra Bishoo had a sore finger while Shannon Gabriel was down with flu. As a result, the hosts had to hand a debut to Rajendra Chandrika apart from bringing in Permaul and Roach. Australia, to their credit, full advantage of the situation, especially since no one apart from Taylor was effective on the day.
After Clarke was dismissed, Smith carried on in the company of last game's man of the match Adam Voges. Smith got to his hundred immediately after tea, punching Permaul through covers. Voges began by cutting Holder for fours and, after settling in, later smashed Permaul for a six. Voges was looking good for another big score when he became Taylor's third victim caught behind for 37, playing a loose drive. Smith too could have been dismissed for 109, but Darren Bravo grassed a chance at slip off Kraigg Braithwaite. It was that kind of a day for West Indies, albeit a familiar tale as Smith went on to punish them further.
--By A Cricket Correspondent