Wed, Jan 07, 2015 - Page 18 News List

Warner honors Hughes as Aussies dominate

AFP, SYDNEY

With his score on 63, Australia batsman David Warner kisses the spot where Phillip Hughes was fatally struck while also on 63 in a domestic match last year at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Warner went on to make 101 on the first day of the fourth Test against India yesterday.

Photo: Reuters

David Warner kissed the ground in Phillip Hughes’ memory to lead an Australia run spree with an emotional century on the opening day of the final Test against India yesterday.

The dynamic opener posted his third ton of the series and 12th in Tests as he honored the memory of his fallen friend Hughes, who was fatally struck by a bouncer at the same Sydney Cricket Ground in November.

Upon reaching the symbolic score of 63 that Hughes had made when he was hit, Warner kissed the ground and then looked skyward before clapping in tribute.

Warner scored 101 and shared in an opening stand of 200 on a benign SCG pitch with veteran Chris Rogers, who again fell short of a ton in his fifth consecutive half-century of the series.

Skipper Steve Smith and Shane Watson maintained Australia’s grip with an unbroken 144-run stand after winning the toss to put the home side at a formidable 348-2 at the close.

Smith, who glided to his half-century for his fifth innings beyond 50 in the series, was unbeaten on 82 with Watson on 61.

Watson was dropped by Ravichandran Ashwin at slip off the second-to-last delivery of the day.

It is now seven consecutive Tests that the in-form Smith has scored a 50 or a 100.

India have already conceded the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with Australia holding an unassailable 2-0 lead following wins in Adelaide and Brisbane.

The tourists have won only one of their past 22 Tests overseas and have been successful in only one of their 10 Tests at the Sydney Cricket Ground, that sole victory coming 37 years ago.

Warner batted for 180 minutes and stroked 16 fours, pulling Mohammed Shami to the boundary to bring up his century.

He was out soon afterward for 101, caught at slip off a leading edge from spinner Ashwin.

Rogers, who gave chances on 19 and 90, followed Warner to the pavilion six deliveries later when he was bowled for 95 by Shami.

The Sydney Test was being played against the poignant backdrop of the tragic death of Hughes.

Warner posted his first Test century at the SCG and he, along with Smith, Watson, Brad Haddin and Nathan Lyon, were all on the field when Hughes was felled by the short-pitched ball.

A plaque honoring the batsman has been installed outside the home dressing room at the SCG and served as a reminder for the Australia players of their former teammate.

India, with Virat Kohli leading the team after the sudden Test retirement of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, made four changes with Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Wriddhiman Saha and Bhuvneshwar Kumar coming into the side.

The tourists left out opener Shikhar Dhawan with Lokesh Rahul promoted to open the innings, Sharma replacing Cheteshwar Pujara and Saha for Dhoni at wicketkeeper, while Kumar came in for paceman Ishant Sharma.

Australia made only one change with Mitchell Starc replacing injured paceman Mitchell Johnson.

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