David Warner yesterday battled through searing heat to hit an epic unbeaten 200 in his 100th Test before retiring in pain as Australia consolidated their advantage against South Africa at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
On a scorching day, the hosts were 386-3 at stumps on day two of the second Test, leading by 197 after the Proteas were dismissed in their first innings for 189.
Travis Head was not out 48 with Alex Carey on nine. Steve Smith (85) and Marnus Labuschagne (14) were the only wickets to fall.
Yet worryingly for Australia, Cameron Green, who took 5-27 in South Africa’s first innings, also retired hurt after a nasty rap on the finger from Anrich Nortje.
Smith and Warner’s 239-run partnership took the game further away from South Africa, whose bowlers toiled in temperatures touching 37°C. Opener Warner, 36, snapped a near-three-year century drought in typically aggressive and gritty fashion, reaching three figures for a 25th time after coming into the game under pressure on a lean run.
It was his first Test hundred since January 2020, and as the opposition bowlers tired, he battled the elements and converted it to 200 for only the third time.
“You’d think by now people would know writing David Warner off is the wrong thing to do,” his wife, Candice Warner, told host broadcaster Fox.
However, it was an exhausting effort, as he passed 8,000 Test runs en route.
Chairs had to be brought out for David Warner and Smith to rest on in the drinks breaks, with towels draped over their heads and ice-packs on their shoulders.
David Warner needed treatment several times for cramps and retired in pain after reaching 200 and dropping to his knees, eventually helped from the field by support staff.
“The boys were cramping left, right and center,” Smith told reporters. “So, difficult [conditions], but nice to get us to the position where we are now.”
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