The hapless West Indies somehow found a new tour low against Australia in Hobart on Friday before villain-turned-hero Darren Bravo salvaged a measure of first Test respect.
Before some stubborn resistance from the stylish left-hander, Windies captain Jason Holder had been left ruing a disastrous option not to challenge a lbw ruling which left the visitors reeling at 6-116 in response to Australia’s 4(dec)-583.
Holder’s decision was based on lousy advice from Bravo at the other end. To his credit, however, Bravo (94no) then set about rectifying his misjudged call, guiding the Windies to 6-207 by stumps on a rain-hit day two.
They still trail Australia by 376 runs.
While impressive, Bravo paled in comparison to Australia’s heroes Adam Voges and Shaun Marsh.
Their mighty fourth-wicket Test record stand of 449 finally ended just before lunch.
Marsh (182) and Voges (269no) also amassed the second-highest Test partnership for Australia, the biggest on home soil and sixth largest overall.
The Windies’ dire tour to date was summed up by Holder’s unfortunate dismissal for 15.
Given lbw by umpire Marais Erasmus off Peter Siddle, he opted not to review after consulting a sceptical Bravo who had arguably the best seat in the house at the non-striker’s end.
Holder then walked despite the two-metre tall allrounder being hit on the pads high and was the last of the recognised batsmen.
Ball-tracking technology showed the ball would have comfortably bounced over the top of the stumps on big screens as Holder trudged off.
He appeared to baulk at a challenge after Kraigg Brathwaite’s unsuccessful review when the opener was trapped in front by Josh Hazlewood (2-43) for two.
“That sums up how the Windies have done,” Nine Network commentator Shane Warne said of Holder’s call.
Bravo sparked a fightback in an unbroken 91-run seventh-wicket stand with tailender Kemar Roach (31no).
“For what he saw, he thought he (Holder) was out,” Roach said of Bravo’s call.
“We moved on. Hopefully, he (Bravo) can come out and score big for us.”
At least Bravo enjoyed a rare piece of luck.
He had a life on 74 when his nick off Hazlewood sailed between Voges and Steve Smith in the slips.
Offspinner Nathan Lyon (3-43) blamed “black spots” around the ground for Voges losing sight of the nick but did not want to make excuses.
“It should have been taken,” Lyon said.
“It’s not the Australian standard.”
Lyon celebrated his 50th Test with quick wickets – including two in five balls – to leave the Windies reeling at 4-81 by tea.
But that was not the only milestone celebrated on Friday – not by a long shot considering the efforts of Marsh and Voges.
Voges’ knock, peppered with 33 fours, was the highest Test score against the Windies and 10th biggest overall by an Australian.
He also set a new Hobart Test highest score, overtaking Ricky Ponting’s 209 against Pakistan in 2010.
It was the third Test tons for both Marsh and Voges and Marsh’s first on home soil.
The Windies will learn on Saturday whether they have to send injured paceman Shannon Gabriel home.
Despite arriving at the ground on Friday on crutches, he has been cleared of an ankle fracture but will take no further part in the Hobart Test.