Cricket: West Indies still confident of shocking Australia

Australia's Nathan Lyon, center, is congratulated by captain Steve Smith, right, after taking the wicket of West Indies batsman Jermaine Blackwood. Photo / AP
Australia's Nathan Lyon, center, is congratulated by captain Steve Smith, right, after taking the wicket of West Indies batsman Jermaine Blackwood. Photo / AP

West Indies slumped to 6-207 at stumps on a sodden opening day of the third Test but were confident of shocking Australia on a subcontinent-like SCG pitch.

The hosts lost the toss and struggled in Sunday's morning session but Nathan Lyon helped conjure a collapse of 5-55 after lunch.

Showers washed out most of the post-lunch session, while players scurried off the ground at 4.50pm (AEDT) because of another downpour.

Spinners Lyon and Steve O'Keefe both struck upon their return before Carlos Brathwaite slapped an unbeaten 35 off as many balls.

Lyon bowled 32 of the day's 75 overs and turned the ball sharply in every one of them.

"Probably not," Lyon said, when asked if he has ever bowled on an SCG wicket that has turned so much on day one.

"It's probably a lot closer to a sub-continental pitch."

Kraigg Brathwaite top-scored for the visitors with 85 then turned his thoughts to the prospect of spinning out the hosts.

Part-time offspinner Brathwaite and left-arm tweaker Jomel Warrican will be crucial to the tourists' hopes of an upset win in Sydney.

"On a first-day pitch that is spinning like that, once we get a score - anything about 300 will put ourselves in a good position," he said.

"We can put some pressure on Australia."

Australia have struggled to play spin bowling during recent series in India and the United Arab Emirates, with Brathwaite confident his side can exploit their woes.

"I think so," he said.

"It is important when we do bowl that we string those dots together, because dot balls can build pressure and that brings wickets."

Brathwaite, who shared a resolute 91-run stand with Darren Bravo before Australia swung momentum their way, was "quite surprised" by how much the SCG strip spun.

"I didn't expect the first day to spin like that. I heard it can spin here but I didn't expect that," he said.

Rain is predicted to interrupt every day of the contest but Lyon was certain there would be enough play for a result.

"This pitch will probably speed this game up, it will have a lot of movement especially for the spinners," he said.

"There's enough time even if it's rain affected.

"It's going to deteriorate.

"Smudgey's a fairly pro-active captain and I know he'll be pushing for a victory."

Lyon snagged his 100th Test scalp in Australia, having been thrown the ball in just the eighth over.

"I'm proud of that, it's a pretty big achievement," he said.

The offspinner dismissed Jermaine Blackwood for 10 and Kraigg Brathwaite for 85.

Blackwood shouldered arms to a ball that fizzed off the deck and clipped the top of off stump, while Brathwaite guided a ball straight to Steve Smith at slip.

Recalled left-arm tweaker O'Keefe celebrated his first Test wicket on home soil, removing Jason Holder with the help of a superb one-hander from Joe Burns at short leg.

"The boys reckon it was a bit of a fluke from Burnsy," Lyon said.


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