Confident Australia build on Warner’s record ton

03 Jan, 2017 9:22 am

SYDNEY – David Warner’s spectacular century in the opening session gave Australia the perfect start to the third test against Pakistan on Tuesday and the hosts reached tea on 224 for two despite his departure for 113.

The left-hander, playing on his home ground just a few hundred metres from where he was born, reached the hundred mark from 78 balls in 118 minutes to become only the fifth batsman to notch up a century before lunch on the first day of a test.

He was unable to add to his tally of 17 fours before being caught behind off Wahab Riaz soon after the break, however, and Usman Khawaja followed for 13 in similar fashion half an hour before tea.

That left opener Matt Renshaw, who had stuck to his more circumspect game while Warner lit up the SCG in the morning, inching towards his maiden century on 83 not out and set to resume for the final session with Steve Smith (12 not out).

Australia are already assured of victory in the series after wins in the day/night Brisbane test and Boxing Day contest in Melbourne gave them an unassailable 2-0 lead.

Skipper Smith won the toss and chose to bat with Warner setting the tone for his innings by hitting Mohammad Amir for four off the second ball he faced.

As pugnacious as ever, Warner barely hit a false note and did not let up until he had run three runs, albeit helped by a misfield, to secure his 18th test century.

The 30-year-old emitted a roar of delight before his traditional celebratory leap into the air, despite being unaware he had joined some select company.

No batsman had ever hit a century in the opening session of a test match in Australia and only compatriots Victor Trumper, Charles Macartney and Don Bradman as well as Pakistan’s Majid Khan had done it elsewhere.

“It’s a honour and privilege to be amongst the greats of the game,” Warner said. “It wasn’t something in the back of my mind to go out and score a 100 in a session. It was about going out there with intent and batting positive.”

Warner also bettered his own record for the fastest test century at the SCG, having taken 82 balls to reach the milestone against West Indies here last year.

Pakistan had made two changes to their line-up from the Melbourne test, handing opener Sharjeel Khan his debut and recalling seamer Imran Khan.

Khan was smashed for 44 runs in his first seven-over spell but should have had a wicket in his second dig when Khawaja, on three, hit the ball towards Babar Azam in the gully but the fielder was unable to hold on to it. -Reuters

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