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Ken Borland

Warner motors to commanding century as SA bowlers keep chugging in

Posted on August 01, 2023 by Ken

David Warner was able to motor to a commanding century as Australia reached 231 for two at tea against a South African attack that kept chugging in without much luck on the second day of the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Tuesday.

Warner celebrated the considerable milestone of making a century in his 100th Test, becoming just the 11th player to achieve this landmark, but arguably more important to him was that it was his first hundred in nearly three years.

Together with Steven Smith, he ensured that Australia were already 42 runs ahead on first innings, with eight wickets in hand. Warner had reached 135 not out off 207 balls at tea, while Smith stuck to his task well against plenty of testing bowling as he reached the break on 60 not out off 129 deliveries.

Although the only wicket South Africa had claimed on Tuesday came through a run out, the Proteas bowlers generally stuck to their task well. Anrich Nortje was especially impressive, running in tirelessly and delivering 150km/h thunderbolts, and he troubled the left-handed Warner in particular, several inside-edges narrowly avoiding the stumps.

Left-armer Marco Jansen was also probing and he had Smith dropped on nine, gloving a hook down the leg-side, wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne spilling a tough, diving chance.

Australia had resumed on 45 for one in pursuit of South Africa’s poor first innings of just 189, and made a bright start as Warner and Marnus Labuschagne took their stand to 54.

Warner had been particularly busy and intense, always looking for the extra run. His enthusiasm proved to be Labuschagne’s downfall, however, as he called his partner through for a second run on an overthrow, but the South African had run through the crease scampering what was a quick single in the first place, and, after trying to send Warner back, Labuschagne was run out at the bowler’s end for 14.

Keshav Maharaj had thrown the ball to Nortje, who had done well to transfer the throw on to the stumps from a couple of metres away.

But Warner and Smith have since added 156. This Australian batting line-up spares nobody when they get the bit between their teeth, and on a lovely batting pitch on a sweltering day in Melbourne, South Africa’s bowlers are once again in for plenty of toil after another dismal failure by their batsmen.

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