SYDNEY: David Warner’s historic hundred and a maiden test century by fellow opener Matt Renshaw lifted Australia to a commanding 365-3 at stumps on the first day of the third test against Pakistan at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Tuesday.
Renshaw will start day two on 167, having shared an unbroken 121-run partnership with Peter Handscomb (40 not out), with the hosts well-placed in their quest for a series clean sweep.
After Australia won the toss the day started brightly for the hosts with Warner becoming the first player to score a hundred in the opening session of a test in Australia.
Warner plundered 17 boundaries in a 78-ball century which he completed in the final over before lunch.
The diminutive opener removed his helmet and did his trademark leap to celebrate his 18th test century, and third in Sydney, in front of an appreciative 30,305 crowd at his home ground.
“I started last year with a hundred here and I started with another hundred here and I’ve got to capitalise on that,” said Warner, who also paid tribute to former Australian opener Philip Hughes, who died after being hit by a short pitched ball in a domestic game at the SCG in 2014.
“Every time I walk out here my little mate (Philip Hughes) is walking with us and it’s always in the back of my mind here.
“He’s with me and I always think that he’s up the other end with me. Every time I score runs here, I score a hundred it’s always for him.”
It was just the fifth time in test history a century has been scored in the first session of a match, after Warner’s fellow Australians Victor Trumper (1902 in Manchester), Charlie Macartney (1926 in Leeds) and Don Bradman (1930 in Leeds) as well as Pakistan’s Majid Khan (1976 in Karachi).
Warner was eventually dismissed for 113 off 95 balls by Wahab Riaz, who had the left-hander caught behind by Sarfraz Ahmed.
“I always ride my luck and I play it the way I see it,” Warner said. “I live by the sword and die by the sword whether it’s the first ball or the last ball.”
“Whatever it is that’s the way I play.”
Renshaw, in his fourth test, played with discipline in supporting Warner early, but was more attacking after his fellow opener’s dismissal to raise his maiden test century off 201 balls, with eight boundaries.
The Queensland state opener dabbed as Yasir deliver on the legside and raced through for a single to complete his century.
The 20-year-old raised both arms to acknowledge the crowd before warmly embracing his batting partner, and fellow test newcomer, Handscombe.
The only difficulty for Renshaw during a chanceless innings was a nasty blow to the helmet from a rising Mohammad Amir delivery, when on 91, which delayed play for several minutes while he received treatment on the field by Australia team doctors.
“He (team doctor Peter Brukner) asked me if I was ok and I was fine,” Renshaw said. “I just wanted to be out there and not retire hurt on 91.”
Earlier, Riaz (2-63) also claimed Usman Khawaja (13) caught behind, while captain Steve Smith edged a Yasir Shah (1-132) delivery to Sarfraz when on 24 in his 50th test.
Yasir thought he had Renshaw on 137 after the on field umpire Sundaram Ravi gave the opener out lbw, but the decision was overturned on review by the television umpire after replays clearly showed the ball had hit Renshaw’s bat prior to the pad.
Soon after, Renshaw raised his 150 off 254 balls with a flick through square leg for his 17th boundary.
“You go into every game and try and do as well as you can but I wasn’t expecting to be this score tonight,” Renshaw said.
Both teams made two changes from the second test in Melbourne, with allrounder Hilton Cartwright selected for his test debut at the expense of batsman Nic Maddinson at No.6, while left-arm orthodox spinner Steve O’Keefe replaced paceman Jackson Bird.
Seamer Imran Khan came into the Pakistan team for Sohail Khan, with Sharjeel Khan replacing opener Sami Aslam.
Captain Misbah-ul-Haq played despite hinting at his retirement after Pakistan’s capitulation on the final day of the second test at Melbourne to lose by an innings and 18 runs.
Australia won the first test at Brisbane by 39-runs.—AP