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Khawaja, Burns punish the West Indies

Centuries from duo take Australia to 345 for 3 on the opening day of second Test

Khawaja, Burns punish the West Indies - Cricket News
Usman Khawaja scored 144 as Australia made 345 for 3 on the opening day of the second Test against West Indies.
Centuries from Usman Khawaja and Joe Burns gave Australia a strong start to the second Test against the West Indies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday (December 26). 

Burns's place in the side had been uncertain after Khawaja recovered from hamstring issues. But when Australia decided to drop Shaun Marsh, the first Test centurion, instead, Burns responded magnificently. Proving that the faith in him wasn't misplaced, he stuck around for nearly 40 overs, scoring 128 in the process. 

Khawaja, who last scored a century against New Zealand in Perth before spending time in the sidelines, played his first match for Australia in over a month and scored 144. The duo's efforts ensured that Australia raced away to 345 for 3 in 90 overs when stumps were drawn on the opening day. 

Khawaja and Burns joined forces at the fall of David Warner with Australia 29 for 1. The duo then punished the West Indies bowlers for 69.1 overs, putting on 258 runs for the second wicket.     

Both batsmen got to their hundreds in the same over, the 58th of the innings, bowled by Jomel Warrican, the left-arm spinner. First, Burns punched a short one through point for three to raise his second Test century. Two deliveries later, Khawaja picked up a single after a misfield at square leg for his third century in as many matches.  

Burns was also the first one to fall when Kraigg Brathwaite, the offspinner, had him stumped. Burns gave the bowler the charge, but Brathwaite made the adjustment nicely, firing one shorter and quicker as the lack of turn took the ball past the outside edge and Denesh Ramdin clipped the bails off. 

Steven Smith, the Australia captain, joined Khawaja and the duo kept the good work going, adding 41 runs off 65 balls as Australia moved along at brisk pace. 

Jerome Taylor then broke the partnership with a short ball. Khawaja nicked it while trying to flick it off his hips and Ramdin took a smart catch. Khawaja's effort had lasted 227 balls. 

With less than six overs remaining in the day, Adam Voges made sure to prevent further damage, even as Smith marched along to 32 not out off 49 balls. Voges remained not out on 10. 

Earlier in the day, a wet outfield, followed by rain, had delayed the start by an hour. Warner got off to a blazing start, before he let adrenaline get the better of him. 

He got off the mark with three consecutive boundaries off the bowling of Kemar Roach, who tried to catch the opener off guard with the short delivery. But Warner was equal to the task, dispatching all three to the boundary. 

The short ball eventually got Warner though, and it was Taylor who would provide West Indies with the opening breakthrough. Warner tried to pull one from outside off, but with the ball hurrying on to him, he could only get the ball awkwardly towards short extra cover where Marlon Samuels ran to his right to take the catch. 

Thereafter, the West Indies was made to sweat and toil as Khawaja and Burns made merry to ensure Australia ended the day on top.

To view the full scorecard, please click here.  

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