Cricket

Joe Burns and Usman Khawaja hit centuries as Australia dominate West Indies

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Joe Burns and the fit-again Usman Khawaja hit centuries as Australia assumed total control of the second Test against West Indies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, ending day one on 345 for three.

After the early wicket of David Warner following a rain-delayed start to the Boxing Day Test, Burns and Khajawa - back in the team after a hamstring injury at the expense of in-form Shaun Marsh - joined forces in the fifth over and gave the tourists a torrid time.

Burns (128) and Khawaja (144) shared a mammoth 258-run partnership as Australia took a stranglehold on the match.

Skipper Steven Smith (32) and Adam Voges (10) were the not out batsman at stumps after both centurions fell in the final session.

The Windies' toil will be even harder to bear considering they chose to field first as they looked to bounce back from their hefty first Test loss - they were beaten by an innings and 212 runs inside three days in Hobart earlier this month.

Warner made a fast start - hitting three straight boundaries from the second over, bowled by Kemar Roach. But he was sent on his way by Jerome Taylor in the fifth over when he lofted one towards Marlon Samuels, who grabbed it at the third attempt as he ran in from short extra cover.

The left-hander's exit - with the Australia score on 29 - signalled the arrival of Khawaja, who was back in the number three role after a two-Test absence.

The Pakistan-born batsman offered half a chance on 23 when he drove a thick edge towards gully where Jermaine Blackwood, diving to his right, got a hand to the ball but it did not stick.

Other than that, the pair rarely looked troubled on a placid pitch as they steadily built a commanding lead for Australia.

Khawaja was picking up a lot of runs through the leg side, and further delighted the home crowd by launching a tossed-up delivery from left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican straight down the ground for six.

Both batsmen were in the eighties at tea and duly completed their hundreds in the final session of the day.

Burns, having lofted a big one from Warrican over extra cover for six in the 54th over, brought up his second Test hundred from the first ball of the 58th over by despatching a short delivery from the same bowler through point for three, prompting celebrations of waving his bat towards all corners of the MCG.

Two balls later, Khawaja joined his partner on three figures - three hundreds in three straight Tests for the 29-year-old - when he made the most of a misfield at square leg and grabbed a quick single.

West Indies' bowling attack finally had some reward for their afternoon and evening toil by removing both Burns and Khawaja.

Burns was stumped off the off-spin of Kraigg Braithwaite while Khawaja was strangled down the leg side by Taylor.

Smith looked in menacingly good form as he shepherded the hosts to 345 at the close.

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