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Warner century makes it Australia’s day

India pull things back a bit near the end but hosts still put up 354/6 by close on Day 1 of the Adelaide Test

Warner century makes it Australia’s day - Cricket News
David Warner scored a punishing 145 that pushed India firmly on to the back foot.
An emotional build up, a nervy start, and a sentimental return to Test cricket morphed into a hard day out on the field for India as Australia, led by David Warner, piled on the runs at Adelaide Oval to reach 354 for 6 at stumps on the first day of a much-anticipated Test series on Tuesday (December 9).
 
Test cricket’s gods were not in a mood to be generous to India’s latest captain, and Virat Kohli endured the kind of day when nothing he attempted succeeded fully, and his patience was tested to the fullest.
 
Warner, who was around when Phillip Hughes was felled by that Sean Abbott bouncer, and sat with Hughes when he was taken off the field in a motorised stretcher, paid tribute to his mate in the best possible way, with a punishing innings that pushed India firmly on to the back foot.
 
Having been asked to bowl on what appeared to be a belter of a track, India chose pace over experience, opening with Mohammed Shami and Varun Aaron. Both went around the stumps straight away, a move that backfired spectacularly as balls were sprayed well wide of the stumps and carted away by Warner.
 
The first bouncer of the innings, for the record, came in the fourth over, with 31 already on the board, and Warner ducked comfortably under the Aaron offering.
 
Australia’s 50 came off only 45 balls, and relief for India came in the form of a mistake from Chris Rogers, who hung his bat out to an Ishant Sharma delivery that slanted away from him.
 
Shane Watson, another player who admitted to being rattled by events past, was welcomed to the crease by a well-directed Ishant short ball, and quickly got out of the way. He then struck the most pleasing of boundaries, clipping one off his toes past two fielders inside the ring on the on side placed there especially for the shot.
 
Warner brought up his half-century without fuss, having already picked off boundaries through sumptuous on-the-rise drives through cover, rasping slices through and over point, and punchy shots down the ground. Warner acknowledged the cheers of the crowd, but it was a muted celebration.


 
Watson created India’s second moment of relief, flashing hard at a wide and full delivery from Aaron to bring Shikhar Dhawan into business for the second time in the day.
 
Warner waited patiently on a full toss from Karn Sharma, making his debut as India’s lone specialist spinner, and paddled the ball down to long-leg for a brace that took him to 63 not out, a score whose significance needed no explaining to the 25,000-plus crowd that burst into spontaneous applause. Looking up to the sky, Warner took a moment, clearly underscoring how happy he was to be able to do something that not merely helped his team, but honoured the memory of his opening partner and mate.
 
India would have been happy with two wickets before lunch on a pitch such as this one, but the fact that Australia had scored at 4.7 runs an over should have been an obvious cause for concern.
 
After lunch, Warner and Michael Clarke, who had walked out to the kind of rapturous applause usually reserved only for India’s former No. 4, set about feasting. Clarke, playing his first game since a One-Day International against South Africa in early November, showed that his hamstring had recovered well enough to allow him to score runs. A couple of awkward moments were endured when edges did not carry to the slips, but once Clarke established himself, the purity of his strokeplay was on display. A committed thump down the ground, a whiplash pull to a short ball that didn’t quite get past waist height, and that trademark cover drive, one of the prettiest sights in cricket, and Clarke had gone past 50 and was on the verge of replicating the Hughes Number of 63* when his back gave out. After some mid-pitch attention from the physio, it was clear Clarke could not go on, and he trudged off disconsolately on 60, India having received their third unearned break of the day.
 
When Warner got to his century, with a relaxed push down to long off, he leapt in the air in idiosyncratic fashion, and on return to terra firma turned straight to the heavens again, kissing the badge on his helmet and waving his bat in a message that was loud and clear: This one’s for you, Phil.
 
Karn, who risked having an inglorious first day in the format of cricket that counts the most, lucked out when Warner, on 145, went for the big heave over the on side and picked off Ishant at deep midwicket. The shot was completely unnecessary with the field being what it was, but this is the Warner method. On a day when he became the fourth fastest Australian to ten Test centuries – only Don Bradman (16), Arthur Morris (23) and Neil Harvey (24) had taken fewer Tests than Warner’s 32 – you could hardly fault him.
 
Steve Smith (72 not out) and Mitchell Marsh (41) added 87 chanceless and trouble-free runs before India took the second new ball, and with it, clawed its way back into the game a touch. Aaron managed to get a short ball to rise steeply enough to catch Marsh’s edge, nightwatchman Nathan Lyon dragged one back on to his stumps, and off what turned out to the be the final over of the day, Brad Haddin feathered a nick to the keeper for a duck. At 354 for 6, you would have to say Australia was well ahead, but the consolation for India was that this track was an ideal one on which their batsmen could respond in kind.

Please click here to see the full scorecard and follow live ball-by-ball coverage of Australia v India from Adelaide.

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