Steve Smith joins Sir Don Bradman in the esteemed Australian cricket company

Steve Smith scored an unbeaten 114 to match Donald Bradman’s 29 Test centuries and help Australia tighten their grip on Thursday’s opening cricket test against the West Indies.

Marnus Labuschagne (204) fell to the last ball before lunch on the second day as Australia went into the break 402-3, ending a 251-run tie for the third wicket.

Labuschagne, crushing fast bowler Jayden Seales for his 20th boundary to reach the milestone, fell as he beat offspinner Roston Chase while wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva eventually held a catch after dropping Labuschagne twice on 132 and 194.

Australia resumed the second day at 293-2 with Labuschagne on 154 and Smith on 59, and the West Indies desperate for a breakthrough in overcast conditions conducive to swing bowling.

Instead, Labuschagne and Smith picked up where they left off overnight and stubbornly heaped the misery on the tourists, taking the game away with each run.

Smith hit flawlessly to match former Australian batting legend Bradman in his 88th test appearance. Only Ricky Ponting (41), Steve Waugh (32) and Matthew Hayden (30) scored more hundreds for Australia.

Smith was more cautious, reaching only nine boundaries in his century coming off 179 balls. It was Smith’s second century in the space of three innings after his 145 not out against Sri Lanka at Galle in July this year.

Labuschagne’s double century is his second since his 215 against New Zealand in Sydney in January 2020. He went 483 minutes and hit six and 20 fours off 350 balls.

After losing opener David Warner cheaply on the first morning, Labuschagne teamed up with opener Usman Khawaja (65) in a 142-run second wicket stand to set up the innings.

Australia won the toss and chose to bat first in the first of two Tests. The second test, a day-night match, will be played in Adelaide from December 8.

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