Warner grabs lucky tonne as Australia slow to 145-2
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – David Warner rode his luck to reach his 21st Test century as Australia crawled to 145 for two at tea on day one of the fourth Ashes Test against England on Tuesday.
Warner was caught on 99 just before drinks break but was reprieved when the TV replay showed debutant paceman Tom Curran had overstepped his mark to the delight of a bumper Boxing Day crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Warner raised his hundred with a single on the next ball to add insult to England’s injury but he was unable to capitalise on the life, nicking James Anderson behind to be out for 103.
Usman Khawaja was 10 not out at tea, with home captain Steve Smith on five, as Australia managed only 43 runs in the middle session after piling on 102 in the morning.
All-rounder Chris Woakes had earlier broken a 122-run opening partnership between vice captain Warner and Cameron Bancroft after Australia resumed on 102 without loss.
Woakes removed Bancroft leg before for 26 early in the session, the tourists’ first reward following a fruitless morning after Smith won the toss and opted to bat.
Warner had galloped to 83 at lunch but England’s bowlers did well to pin him down in the nineties and he ended up top-edging Curran to Stuart Broad at mid-on with a clumsy pull-shot.
The hard-hitting 31-year-old trudged away furious with himself but turned straight back after seeing the no-ball replayed on the scoreboard.
The terraces roared in delight at Curran’s misfortune and again when Warner pushed a single off his hip off the next ball to raise a tonne boasting 13 fours and a six.
He celebrated with his customary leap and fist-pump but Anderson mercifully cut short Curran’s agony with a fine delivery that jagged back off the seam to catch the edge on the way through to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.
Australia, leading the series 3-0, regained the urn with victory in the third match at the WACA and are bidding to whitewash the tourists for a second consecutive home Ashes.
Australia made one change to their side from the third Test with right-arm pace bowler Jackson Bird coming in for injured left-armer Mitchell Starc.
England also made one change to the side that lost by an innings and 41 runs in Perth with Surrey seamer Curran replacing Craig Overton who was ruled out with a broken rib.