David Warner raised a brilliant century in his 100th test as he combined with Steve Smith to frustrate South Africa and push Australia to a 42-run lead by tea on day two of the second test on Tuesday.
Australia were 231 for two in reply to South Africa’s first innings 189 with Warner 135 not out and Steve Smith on 60 on a hot afternoon at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the pair having built a 156-run partnership.
Trailing 1-0 in the three-match series after losing the Brisbane opener by six wickets, South Africa’s hopes faded through a barren session after Warner and Smith resumed on 136 for two after lunch. Having come into the match under pressure and out of runs, Warner pulled pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada to the fine leg fence to raise his 25th test century and first in nearly three years.
David Warner‘s entering T20 mode!
— 7Cricket (@7Cricket) December 27, 2022
The 36-year-old opener celebrated wildly, blowing kisses off his bat as the terraces roared. Moving in Warner’s slipstream, Smith grabbed his 37th test half-century by cutting Marco Jansen past point for four.
Further toil looms for the Proteas after tea on a flat wicket with 17 overs until they can take the second new ball. None of their bowlers could take a wicket on day two, with Marnus Labuschagne, the only batsman to fall, run out for 14 after a mix-up with Warner in the morning.
On the cusp of his half-century, Warner pushed a quick single into the covers but surprised Labuschagne by calling for another run on an overthrow.
Labuschagne, who had run well past the stumps on the initial single, started back but then hesitated and was well short when Anrich Nortje threw down the stumps at the bowler’s end from close range. The run out was all the luck South Africa had.
Smith was dropped on nine by wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne, who dived for a tough, one-handed chance down the leg-side when Jansen found Smith’s glove.
South Africa burned a review trying to dismiss Smith lbw when Jansen sent a yorker thudding into his pads in the final minutes of the morning session. Smith had earlier edged Jansen just short of second slip.
After Elgar turned to Keshav Maharaj late in the session, Warner brought up his 8,000th test run with an all-run four off the spinner’s first ball.
He became the eighth Australian to reach the milestone, joining Ricky Ponting, Allan Border, Steve Waugh, Michael Clarke, Matthew Hayden, team mate Smith and Mark Waugh.
Australia paceman Mitchell Starc was cleared to bowl after having treatment on the middle finger of his bowling hand after a fielding mishap on day one.