Steve Smith and Usman Khawaja scored half-centuries to crush a defiant West Indies fight back, pushing Australia’s lead to an imposing 459 runs at the close of day three of the second test last night.

The pair’s composed 79-run stand tempered the West Indies’ cheer after their bowlers took early wickets in the wake of some spirited tail-end batting at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Thrashed within three days in the opener in Hobart, West Indies were left on the brink of losing the series 2-NIL with a game in hand.

Replying to Australia’s mammoth first innings declaration at 551-3, West Indies resumed in the morning on 91-6 and eked 180 runs from their last four wickets before being bowled out for 271.

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