Da Silva and Hodge Steady West Indies Ship Against Australia’s Starc

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In a resilient display, Kavem Hodge and Joshua Da Silva withstood Mitchell Starc’s fiery spell, guiding the West Indies to a wicketless second session at the Gabba after a shaky start. Starc claimed three crucial wickets, including his 350th in Test cricket, as the West Indies’ top order faced early troubles.

After winning the toss, West Indies stumbled in the opening session, losing five wickets for 64 runs. Starc took three wickets, and Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins contributed with one each. The top order struggled against extra bounce, with several batsmen nicking deliveries they could have left.

However, Hodge and Da Silva displayed resilience in the middle session, forging an unbeaten partnership of 81 runs. Their solid defensive skills and wise shot selection frustrated the Australian bowlers on a pitch favoring the batsmen. Despite Starc’s testing short deliveries, Da Silva made smart decisions, while Hodge grew in confidence as the session progressed. Capitalizing on any overpitched deliveries, they executed controlled drives through cover and down the ground.

Australia’s captain Pat Cummins rotated through seven bowlers in the session, but the West Indies duo held firm, establishing the highest and longest stand of the series to date.

In the earlier session, the West Indies top order struggled with discipline, losing key wickets. Kraigg Brathwaite fell to Hazlewood’s swing, and despite a steady partnership between Tagenarine Chanderpaul and Kirk McKenzie, aggression led to McKenzie’s downfall as he nicked to slip. Starc’s return before the break saw the dismissals of Chanderpaul, Alick Athanaze, and Justin Greaves.

Despite disruptions in the Australian camp due to COVID-19 infections, they maintained their winning formula, with Cameron Green and coach Andrew McDonald testing positive. Usman Khawaja, declared fit after recovering from a blow to the head, contributed with two crucial catches at first slip. The West Indies introduced debutant Kevin Sinclair, but the team faced a disappointing first session after choosing to bat first.

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