Tea West Indies 283 & 84 for 0 (Brathwaite 40*, Chanderpaul 35*) need 414 runs to beat Australia 182 for 2 dec & 598 for 4 dec
Needing a record 498 runs for victory or – more realistically – bat through 154 overs to draw, West Indies’ slim chances of avoiding a series-opening defeat were boosted when Cummins did not take the field after experiencing quadricep soreness.
Brathwaite survived an early challenge against quick Mitchell Starc, who hit a dangerous length bowling around the wicket. Chanderpaul, the son of legendary batter Shivnarine, had played adventurously in the first innings but was more circumspect in a stonewall.
He scored just three runs off his first 36 balls faced before breaking the shackles with a commanding pull shot to the boundary off quick Josh Hazlewood. In a bid for a spark before tea, Smith turned to Marnus Labuschagne who bowled medium pacers instead of his usual leg-spin but it didn’t do the trick.
With doubt surrounding Cummins, Australia might have to rely on frontline spinner Nathan Lyon, who took seven wickets combined in the fourth innings of victories over India and New Zealand at Optus Stadium.
He entered the attack in the eighth over but was thwarted as West Indies successfully ticked off the first task in their daunting challenge.
Australia had earlier declared their second innings at lunch after Labuschagne added a ton to his first innings double century. Labuschagne rode some luck to become just the third Australia batter after Greg Chappell and Doug Walters to score a double century and century in the same Test.
He reached the milestone just before lunch with a leg glance to the boundary and then celebrated by taking off his helmet and raising both arms aloft much to the delight of the sparse crowd.
Labuschagne made 308 runs for the match to continue a personal run spree at Optus Stadium after he scored 143 and 50 against New Zealand three years ago in the last Test played at the ground.
But opener David Warner missed a golden opportunity to break a near three-year Test century drought after falling for 48.
Starting day four at 29 for 1, Labuschagne received luck when he top-edged to gully via his helmet but was reprieved by a no ball from Alzarri Joseph.
After receiving medical attention, Labuschagne continued on his merry way and passed 2000 Test runs in Australia in his 31st innings. Only Sir Don Bradman (19 in England and 26 in Australia), and Sir Garfield Sobers (29 in West Indies) have achieved the milestone in a country faster.
Labuschagne survived an onslaught from Joseph in a riveting battle before putting the foot down to reach his ninth Test century moments before lunch.
West Indies’ shorthanded attack was unable to limit Australia with spearhead Kemar Roach forced off after injuring his left thigh, while seamer Kyle Mayers did not bowl in the innings due to a strain in his right teres major muscle.
Adding to their woes, top-order batter Nkrumah Bonner was on day three substituted out of the match with concussion after being hit in the back of the helmet from a Cameron Green short delivery.
But Cummins’ injury might prove to have the biggest bearing on the outcome of the match.