Career best Warner puts Kiwis to sword
Opener David Warner continued his love affair with New Zealand's bowling and the WACA Ground by notching a career-best double century as Australia took total control and records tumbled on the opening day of the second Test in Perth on Friday. After winning the toss and electing to bat, Warner's third century in as many innings saw the home side reach a commanding 416 for two at stumps against the demoralised Kiwis in what is shaping up to be a disappointingly lopsided three-Test Trans-Tasman series.
At stumps Warner was unbeaten on 244, having notched the highest score by an Australian in a single day on home soil, with captain Steve Smith on five. The Australian total was the highest on the first day of a Test at the venue. Usman Khawaja posted his second century of the series before falling just before stumps for 121 to end a 302-run stand with Warner.
That set a new second-wicket partnership mark for Australia, surpassing Arthur Morris and Don Bradman's 301-run effort at Headingley in 1948. Already down 1-0 in the three-Test series after being thumped by 208 runs at The Gabba, the Kiwi bowlers gained little assistance from the pitch and were again on the wrong end of the decision review system. Warner cashed in to notch his 15th Test century in 45 matches and went on to post his highest score. After narrowly surviving a decision review on 78, he reached triple figures with his 12th boundary, having faced 118 balls.
It was also his fourth successive century against New Zealand, making him just the fifth batsman in history to score four hundreds in a row against the same opponent. The others in the select group are South Africa's Alan Melville and Hashim Amla, West Indian Everton Weekes and Pakistan's Shoaib Mohammad. Warner went on to post his maiden Test double century late in the day, having faced 236 balls and hit 17 fours and two sixes in reaching the milestone.
Left-handed Warner has scored 676 runs against the Kiwis at a formidable average of 169, and has 638 runs at 127.60 at the WACA in four Tests. His total is the second biggest individual score at the ground behind Matthew Hayden's 380 against Zimbabwe in 2003 and Warner also passed 4,000 Test runs during his innings. Warner and fellow opener Joe Burns put on 101 for the first wicket - their third century opening stand in as many innings together.
The feat emulates the great Australian partnership of Hayden and Justin Langer, who passed centuries in their first three outings together in 2001 and went on to become the fourth-highest scoring partnership in Test history. It also takes Australia to a Test cricket world record of five successive century opening partnerships, including Warner and Chris Rogers's last two innings together in this year's Ashes. Burns made 40 before chopping a ball on from the bowling of recalled seamer Matt Henry (1-51).
Warner and Khawaja then broke Kiwi hearts as the visitors toiled without reward in the searing heat on a day where even skipper Brendon McCullum had a rare bowl. The Kiwis wasted an early decision review on a leg-before-wicket (lbw) appeal when a replay showed a clear inside edge from Burns from the bowling of Tim Southee.
Their second review was much more marginal, with Warner given not out lbw and the replay showing fractionally less than half the ball was hitting the bails, leaving the decision as umpire's call and the visitors without any more reviews. Khawaja was then given not out caught behind from the bowling of spinner Mark Craig for 38, with replays showing he clearly edged it to add to Kiwi frustration. Without addition to his score, Khawaja survived another close appeal for lbw by the unlucky Southee. Khawaja was also dropped on the boundary on 62 just before tea, with the ball deflecting for six to compound Kiwi misery.
Fall of wickets: 1-101
(Burns), 2-403 (Khawaja)
To bat: S. Smith, A. Voges, M. Marsh, P. Nevill, M. Johnson, M. Starc, J. Hazlewood, N. Lyon
Bowling: Southee 19-1-73-0, Boult 17-0-99-0 (1w), Henry 16-0-75-1, Bracewell 16-0-57-1 (4nb), Craig 14-0-77-0, Williamson 3-0-11-0, Guptill 3-0-7-0, McCullum 2-0-16-0
Umpires: Nigel Llong (ENG), Sundaram Ravi (IND)
TV umpire: Richard Illingworth (ENG)
Match referee: Roshan Mahanama (SRI).
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015