MELBOURNE, Australia, Dec 27 (Reuters) – David Warner hit a superb century in his 100th test, partnering with Steve Smith to frustrate South Africa and propel Australia to a 42-run lead at tea on day two of the second test on Tuesday.
Warner grabs a ton in the 100th test
On a scorching day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australia was 231 for two in reply to South Africa’s first innings 189, with Warner 135 not out and Steve Smith on 60, the duo have created a 156-run partnership. South Africa trailed the three-match series 1-0 after losing the opener in Brisbane by six wickets, and their prospects withered during a barren session when Warner and Smith resumed on 136 for two after lunch. Warner, who entered the match under duress and short of runs, drew speed leader Kagiso Rabada to the fine leg boundary for his 25th test century and first in almost three years.
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As the terraces erupted, the 36-year-old opener celebrated furiously, blowing kisses off his bat. Smith reached his 37th test half-century after cutting Marco Jansen past point for four, following in Warner’s footsteps. After tea, the Proteas will have more toil on a flat surface with 17 overs till the second new ball. On day two, none of their bowlers took a wicket, and the only batsman to fall was Marnus Labuschagne, who was run out for 14 following a mix-up with Warner in the morning.
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Warner, on the verge of his 50th birthday, pushed a fast single into the covers but stunned Labuschagne by asking for another run on an overthrow. Labuschagne, who had gone far beyond the wickets on the first single, began back but then hesitated and fell well short as Anrich Nortje slammed down the stumps from close range at the bowler’s end. South Africa’s only luck was the runout. Smith was dropped by wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne, who dove for a difficult one-handed chance down the leg-side when Jansen found Smith’s glove.
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South Africa burnt a review by attempting to dismiss Smith lbw in the closing minutes of the morning session when Jansen fired a yorker thudding into his pads. Smith had previously edged Jansen just short of the second slip. Warner completed his 8,000th test run with an all-run four off Keshav Maharaj’s first delivery after Elgar switched to the spinner late in the session. He joined Ricky Ponting, Allan Border, Steve Waugh, Michael Clarke, Matthew Hayden, Steven Smith, and Mark Waugh as the eighth Australian to attain the milestone. Mitchell Starc of Australia was permitted to bowl after receiving treatment on the middle finger of his bowling hand after a fielding accident on day one.
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