Windies Fight But Smith Extends Lead

Windies show spirit with bat and ball but Australia remain in control of Boxing Day Test

On a tour that thus far has delivered them little other than embarrassment and criticism, the West Indies might be tempted to take some pride from seeing Australia captain Steve Smith opt out of enforcing the follow-on.

While a first innings deficit of 280 would be viewed as abject by most professional cricket teams and their fans, it represented a triumph of sorts for a side that was eyeing a shortfall of 460 with more than half of their first innings wickets lost when day three began under bright Melbourne sun.

It’s an assessment not meant to patronize, but rather grant kudos to the maligned visitors’ most spirited performance of a Test series that had delivered nothing other than free-flowing one-way traffic throughout its preceding five days.

But even though the West Indies tail, in concert with obdurate top-order batsman Darren Bravo, wagged doggedly for almost four hours and nearly 200 runs and their bowlers made an unprecedented early incision into Australia’s batting, this Test is already beyond their reach.

The 458–run lead that Australia holds at stumps means the West Indies will need to post the highest fourth-innings score in their Test history – even more than the record-setting 418 that Brian Lara’s team plundered to win the final match of the already lost 2003 series in the Caribbean.

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Edited by Jesus Chan

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