Sports, Cricket

Warner ton puts Aussies in control

By Reuters
Published : 14 Dec 2023 08:57 PM

Opener David Warner brushed aside any doubts about his test match pedigree on Thursday with a brutal 164-run assault on Pakistan's bowlers as Australia glided to 346-5 after 84 overs at stumps on day one of the series opener in Perth.

The 37-year-old, who intends to retire from tests after the third and final game in Sydney, combined with Usman Khawaja (41) in a 126-run opening stand to get the hosts off to a strong start after winning the toss.

A delightful upper cut for four in the 43rd over saw Warner bring up a breezy 125-ball hundred, his 26th in tests, prompting a trademark celebratory leap and a blown kiss towards the media box."It's my job to come out here and score runs, that was from the get-go to put pressure on the Pakistani bowlers," Warner, who had averaged only 32 in tests since the start of 2020, told Fox Cricket.

"There's going to be criticism but you've got to take that. There's no better way to silence them (than) by putting runs on the board."

The world test champions got off to a flyer, with spearhead quick Shaheen Afridi's 14-run opening over foreshadowing a punishing session for the visitors.

Khawaja, donning a black armband after International Cricket Council rules prohibited him from wearing shoes showing messages of solidarity with Gaza Palestinians, was first to fall after lunch, caught behind by Sarfaraz Ahmed off Afridi (1-75).

Warner rode his luck to survive a dropped catch and a mis-stumping to spinner Agha Salman, cashing in on anything in his zone to nail 16 boundaries and four sixes before miscuing debutant quick Aamer Jamal (2-63) to backward square in the 75th over.

The New South Welshman is now Australia's fifth-highest run scorer in tests with 8651, having overtaken past greats Matthew Hayden (8625) and Michael Clarke (8643) during the 211-ball vigil.

Pakistan will take heart from their disciplined post-lunch bowling performance and the possibility of restricting Australia to under 400 on day two, when Mitchell Marsh (15 not out) and Alex Carey (14 not out) resume the innings.