Adam Voges and Shaun Marsh pounded tons in a triple-century unbroken stand to crush the dispirited West Indies and put Australia in immediate command of the first Test in Hobart on Thursday.
In a grim foreboding of what lies ahead for the Caribbean tourists in the three-Test series, Australia cruised to 438 for three at stumps on the opening day with the West Australian pair taking the game away from the Windies.
It was the most runs scored by Australia on an opening day of a Test in 85 years against the West Indies. At the close, Voges was unbeaten on 174 with Marsh not out 139 in a unbeaten fourth-wicket partnership of 317.
Voges slammed the fastest century for Australia in Hobart, his ton coming off 100 balls and eclipsing another West Australian Adam Gilchrist’s hundred off 110 balls against Pakistan in 1999.
“It’s been a great day,” Voges said. “To be able to bat with Shaun for as long as I have and to put on over 300, it’s been terrific.
“We’re obviously good mates as well as team-mates so to spend a lot of time out there together was tremendous.”
It was Voges’s third Test century and second against the West Indies after scoring an unbeaten 130 on his Test debut in Dominica last June.
Marsh, in scoring his third Test century and first at home also posed a dilemma for selectors about whether he will make way for the imminent return of Usman Khawaja from a hamstring injury.
“I worked really hard over the last couple of days on my preparation and I felt really confident coming into the game,” he said.
“I definitely feel comfortable at this level. I just have to keep working on my consistency.”
– ‘Not disciplined enough’ -The West Indies had got themselves into a reasonable position to have Australia at 121 for three at lunch with key batsmen David Warner (64) and skipper Steve Smith (10) back in the dressing room.
But Voges and Marsh batted through the remaining two sessions without difficulty to leave the West Indies in despair.
“I thought it wasn’t disciplined enough — there were too many boundary balls and we just let the game get away from us,” Windies spinner Jomel Warrican said.
“That Voges and Marsh partnership was very key as well. I think they batted very well. But I also think we didn’t bowl as good as we can.”
Voges reached his Test century on the penultimate ball before tea, scampering through for two with Marsh taking the risk running to the danger end.
The West Indies did not help their cause with a painfully slow over rate.
They bowled only 50 overs in the first two sessions of play and needed to call on part-time spinners to get to 89 of the regulation 90 overs under the threat of disciplinary action from the match referee Chris Broad.
Australia lost three wickets in a breezy first session of play, after openers Warner and Joe Burns set about helping themselves to the West Indian bowling attack.
Warner, who was dropped on four, was out nearing lunch for 64 off 61 balls to a leg-side catch by wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin off left-arm spinner Warrican.
It was a big relief for Ramdin, who had dropped Warner in the second over from a tough chance off Kemar Roach, diving across first slip with his outstretched left glove.
The tourists had two other successes in the morning session with muscular paceman Shannon Gabriel bowling Burns on the top of middle stump for 33 in the 11th over.
Warrican, picked as the West Indies’ spin option ahead of wrist-spinner Devendra Bishoo, then had Smith caught by Jermaine Blackwood at first slip for 10.
Gabriel left the field with ankle trouble and will be further assessed overnight, a team spokesman said.