Sat, Dec 13, 2014 - Page 20 News List

Second ton for Warner puts the Aussies in lead


Australia’s David Warner celebrates as he reaches his century in the second innings against India on the fourth day of the first Test match between Australia and India at the Adelaide Oval in Australia yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Red-hot opening batsman David Warner punished a wasteful India with his second century of the first Test yesterday as Australia seized control of the match at the close of play on day four.

The combative left-hander, who scored an emotional 145 in the first innings, added another 102 to help fire Australia to a 363-run lead at a sun-drenched Adelaide Oval.

Steven Smith added a half-century to his own first innings ton to push the hosts to 290-5. He was unbeaten on 52 at stumps, with wicketkeeper Brad Haddin on 14 and Australia in position to make an early declaration on the final day.

Warner gazed at the sky in tribute to batsman Phillip Hughes during his first innings knock and repeated the gesture yesterday after raising his sixth hundred in his past 11 Test innings.

Two of those hundreds also came in the same Test on tour against South Africa earlier in the year.

Hughes, who died two weeks ago after being hit by a ball during a domestic match, famously became the youngest player to score two centuries in a match when he achieved the feat against South Africa in Durban in his second Test in 2009.

“Definitely it was in the back of my mind,” Warner said of Hughes’ record. “He was giving me some luck out there today, which is fortunate enough for myself.”

Warner got himself out attempting a frivolous reverse-sweep and was bowled by leg-spinner Karn Sharma as Australia picked up the tempo in the last session.

Mitchell Marsh smashed 24 runs, including three sixes, off one over from Sharma, but chanced his arm once too often to be caught slogging in the deep after a cavalier 40 off 26 balls.

Injured captain Michael Clarke could not repeat his first-innings heroics when he scored 128, despite a painful back strain and was caught behind for 7 off the bowling of Varun Aaron.

Warner was reprieved on 66 when Aaron bowled him, only to be recalled when television replays showed the paceman overstepping the crease on his delivery.

A match that had proceeded in good spirit suddenly became tetchy. Aaron gave Warner a big send-off after rattling his stumps and the Australian retaliated after his let-off.

Umpires Marais Erasmus and Ian Gould intervened to stop the opposing players from arguing and had to do so again after Smith and Rohit Sharma exchanged words following a hopeful LBW appeal after tea, which also fired up India captain Virat Kohli.

Warner also survived a big shout for caught behind off Aaron’s bowling and was dropped in the gully when on 89 off Mohammed Shami.

Earlier in the day, India were bowled out for 444, with Australia spinner Nathan Lyon finishing with 5-134.

“He was hitting it [the rough] virtually every delivery,” Warner said of the bowler’s encouraging performance. “That’s going to be the key for us.”

A former groundsman at the Adelaide Oval, Lyon captured three early wickets as India, who resumed on 369-5, lost their last five wickets for just 45 runs.

The highest victorious run-chase in Adelaide was Australia’s 315-6 against England in 1902, though the hosts will remember ruefully how South Africa managed to bat through an entire fifth day with only six wickets in hand to save a match in 2012.

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