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David Warner hits century as Australia reach 210-2 at tea against Pakistan

David Warner hits century as Australia reach 210-2 at tea against Pakistan


Pakistan’s bowlers removed Usman Khawaja soon after lunch for 41, then Marnus Labuschagne for 16

Australia’s David Warner plays a shot during the first day of the first Test cricket match between Australia and Pakistan at Optus Stadium in Perth on December 14, 2023. — AFP
  • “We play pretty well here, have a good record,” says Cummins.
  • Pakistan captain Shan Masood included two debutants in his side.
  • Pakistan have performed poorly in Australia, losing 14 Tests.

PERTH: Veteran opener David Warner hammered an unbeaten century to silence critics and steer Australia to 210-2 at tea against Pakistan in the first Test at Perth.

At the break, the 37-year-old was on 111 and Steve Smith not out 21.

But Pakistan’s bowlers did earn some reward for their toil in searing heat by removing Usman Khawaja soon after lunch for 41, then Marnus Labuschagne for 16.

The hosts won the toss and opted to bat first, with Warner padding up under pressure to score runs with an emotional goodbye from the five-day game at the third Test in Sydney in front of his hometown fans his stated goal.

In the lead-up, former paceman Mitchell Johnson questioned whether Warner deserved a hero’s farewell given his recent poor red-ball form and involvement in the 2018 ball-tampering scandal.

The left-hander, in his 110th Test, responded in typical swashbuckling fashion, crashing 15 fours and one giant six in his 149-ball knock.

He took a confident single off his first ball in an opening over from Shaheen Shah Afridi that leaked 14 runs and never looked back.

After living dangerously on a pitch offering bounce, he settled down to bring up his half-century off just 41 balls with a boundary from Faheem Ashraf.

His strike rate slowed after lunch as he moved towards a 26th Test ton, reaching three figures from 125 balls with an uppercut boundary off debutant Aamer Jamal, celebrating with his trademark leap and soaking in the applause.

Khawaja, wearing a black armband in solidarity with the people of Gaza, was happy to play second fiddle.

He had a massive let-off on 25 when dropped by Abdullah Shafique, who fumbled his catch off a mis-hit pull shot.

But he departed when Pakistan’s bowlers picked up their game after lunch, caught behind by wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed off Afridi’s bowling.

Labuschagne looked in good nick, racing to 16 when he was beaten by a ball pitched up by Ashraf and given out lbw. He reviewed the decision, but it was hitting a flush on the leg stump.

Smith clattered a four through midwicket off only his second ball to signal his intent and was untroubled.

Pakistan have never won a Test series in Australia and have failed to win a Test in the country since 1995.

They were beaten by innings in both matches in Australia four years ago when Warner ominously scored 154 and 335 not out.

Australia made just one change from their last Test, against England in July, with spinner Nathan Lyon fit again and back in the side.

Pacemen Jamal and Khurram Shahzad made their debuts for Pakistan under new captain Shan Masood.

Squads

Australia: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins (capt), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood

Pakistan: Shan Masood (capt), Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Babar Azam, Saud Shakeel, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Salman Ali Agha, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Aamer Jamal, Khurram Shahzad



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