Khawaja's 144 and Joe Burns’ 128 help Aussies reach 345-3 against hapless Windies
Melbourne: Usman Khawaja and Joe Burns hammered centuries as Australia again put the West Indies to the sword on the opening day of the second Test in Melbourne on Saturday.
Australia's Joe Burns (right) and Usman Khawaja run between the wickets on Day One of the second Test against West Indies at the MCG on Saturday. Pic/Getty Images
Fit-again Khawaja hit 144 for his third ton in four Test innings and opener Burns cracked 128 for his second Test hundred of the season as the Australians reached 345 for three at stumps after being sent into bat. Skipper Steve Smith was unbeaten on 32 with Hobart Test double centurion Adam Voges on 10.
Before the lowest Boxing Day crowd of 53,389 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 16 years, Australia made Windies skipper Jason Holder pay dearly for sending the home side into bat after winning the toss.
It was another day of triumph for Pakistan-born Khawaja who returned from missing the last two Tests with a hamstring injury to take up where he left off. Khawaja scored 174 and 121 in the first two Tests against the Kiwis last month.
He shared in a stand of 258 runs with Burns in the third-highest partnership for the second wicket at the famous ground. Only two Australian partnerships for the second wicket at the MCG were higher — Ian Chappell-Bill Lawry’s 298 against the West Indies in 1968 and Don Bradman-Bill Woodfull’s 274 against South Africa in 1931.
"I’ll enjoy this moment, a hundred in my first Boxing Day Test, a 250-odd run partnership with Burnsy. I couldn’t have asked for a lot more on day one," Khawaja said.
Khawaja had a life on 142 when Marlon Samuels dropped a chest-high sitter in the covers off Jerome Taylor. But Taylor had the last word when he snared Khawaja’s wicket just two runs later when he was caught down leg-side by wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin just under six overs from stumps. Khawaja’s runs came off 227 balls in 331 minutes with just six fours and a six. Khawaja has not been dismissed for less than 100 in any format of the game since October.
Burns also made a personal statement with his ton amid concerns over his position in the side with the return of Khawaja. Selectors ultimately decided to make the tough decision to drop Shaun Marsh to fit in Khawaja’s return despite Marsh hitting his highest Test score of 182 against the Windies in Hobart. Burns was finally out when he was smartly stumped by Ramdin off part-time spinner Kraigg Brathwaite for 128.
The hapless Caribbean tourists again struggled to make any impression in the rain-delayed Boxing Day showpiece after losing by an innings and 212 runs in the first Hobart Test. So far in the series, Australia have amassed 928 runs for the loss of just seven wickets. "I think it was a decent day for us. Showed some improvement bowling-wise," Kraigg Brathwaite said.
The lowest Boxing Day crowd turnout at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 16 years