Australia v India, 3rd Test, Perth, 1st day January 13, 2012

Warner's blazing ton destroys India


Australia 0 for 149 (Warner 104*, Cowan 40*) trail India 161 (Kohli 44, Hilfenhaus 4-43, Siddle 3-42)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

David Warner smote a magnificently brazen century to rush Australia to 0 for 149 after their quartet of fast bowlers dismantled India for 161 in dishearteningly familiar scenes for the visitors on day one of the third Test at the WACA ground.

In what was the joint fourth-fastest century in Tests, Warner utterly demoralised India in the company of the relatively obdurate but still free-scoring Ed Cowan. Warner was momentarily stopped by a blow to the head from Umesh Yadav, but recovered to clout his next two deliveries to the fence and moved from 95 to 101 with a rasping club over wide long-on from the bowling of the debutant Vinay Kumar. Unbeaten at the close, he did not give a chance.

The match is now streaking away from the tourists, who had placed themselves in a position of peril with another abject batting display. Sent in to bat by Michael Clarke on a pitch promising early movement in addition to its customary bounce and pace, India were 4 for 63 at lunch, and subsided not long after tea to undo the grafting of Virat Kohli and VVS Laxman, who added 68 in the afternoon to momentarily blunt the hosts.

That partnership aside, India once again failed to cope with the swing, seam and disciplined line of the home attack, comprising Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus, Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc. Upon his dismissal of Laxman, Siddle sank to his haunches, in a sign of how much a hot day in Perth had drained Australia's bowlers despite their regular wickets, and he did not re-emerge after tea.

Hilfenhaus removed Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir at either end of the morning session before helping to round up the tail, while Siddle accounted for Rahul Dravid, bowled for the fourth time in five innings. Harris was sturdy in his first Test appearance since November last year, and had the wicket of Sachin Tendulkar to show for it. Starc nabbed two of the last four wickets.

Warner and Cowan began not long after tea, intent on building their most substantial opening stand together. There were a few nervy moments early as Zaheer Khan gained some early swing, and Cowan edged centimetres short of Tendulkar at first slip.

However Warner was striking the ball crisply, and he was given added impetus when Ishant Sharma chanced a few jibes. Warner responded with fighting words and a flailing bat, in what soon became a rare exhibition of unbridled batting aggression.

He drove Zaheer through mid off, pulled Yadav wide of mid on, and greeted Vinay's entry to Test cricket with the most impudent straight six. Warner would save his most telling blow for Ishant, who delivered a length ball only to watch it sail back over his head and rows back into the crowd.

Cowan was moving along quite swiftly himself, driving and pulling with good sense, and together he and Warner looked the most perfect of contrasts. In the space of 17 overs Warner had sprinted to 80, on what now looked the most friendly of pitches.

Warner's eagerness to attack brought him one moment's discomfort when he was too swiftly through a hook at Yadav and suffered a blow to the side of the head and helmet. After gathering himself and calling for new headgear, he spanked the next two balls to the boundary - there was toughness to go with the terrorising of India's bowlers.

His century duly and deservedly arrived before the close, and a sell-out crowd rose unanimously to salute two hours of awe-inspiring destruction.

India's openers fared very differently. They were confronted by a pitch that looked green but was already beginning to show evidence of cracking, which suggested it was not as moist as it appeared. Nonetheless there was still plenty of swing, seam and bounce on offer to Australia's bowlers, requiring astute judgment of line and length.

Sehwag had been at the centre of plenty of pre-match bluster surrounding his natural method, and the batsman looked tentative in his brief stay. Sehwag only faced four balls, the last of which was a beautifully pitched Hilfenhaus away swinger that flicked the edge and was well held by Ricky Ponting in the cordon.

Dravid walked to the wicket having been bowled in three out of four innings, and played at more than he might otherwise have done to avoid a repeat. He struggled for timing, however, and was so intent on defence that when Siddle delivered a leg side ball of full length, Dravid's unnecessarily conservative posture turned it into a yorker that clattered into middle stump via the pads.

Tendulkar drew applause for a trio of straight drives from Siddle that recalled his sparkling 114 at the ground in 1992, but was not in total command. Harris was rewarded for two unstinting spells before lunch when he seamed one back to pin Tendulkar in front of the stumps.

Next over Hilfenhaus ended Gambhir's stony-faced occupation, whizzing an offcutter across the left-hand batsman to prompt a push away from the body and an edge through to Brad Haddin. Gambhir admonished himself for succumbing to a nick for the fifth time in as many innings, the victim of another intelligent display of full, fast bowling from Australia.

Laxman and Kohli were more or less India's last hope of a substantial total, and their batting in the first hour of the afternoon was suitably grave. Starc, Hilfenhaus, Harris and Siddle continued to bowl well, but neither batsman offered quite so much in the way of probing bats that their predecessors had done. The ball grew older, the pitch settled under the sun, and the batsmen grew a little more comfortable.

The stand was gathering strength and tea was less than 10 minutes away when Siddle made a critical break. Bowling full and swinging wider, he tempted Kohli to press too eagerly forward, and the low chance was held by Warner at point. In Siddle's next over Laxman pushed firmly at a length delivery and offered a catch to Clarke at first slip.

Starc had been threatening to bowl the perfect inswinger for most of the day, and it was Vinay Kumar who received it to be palpably lbw. MS Dhoni played an ordinary stroke at Hilfenhaus to be caught in the slips, though Zaheer's ugly smear at the same bowler was arguably worse. Ishant edged Starc behind to complete what had become a procession - the last six wickets falling for 30.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Al on January 14, 2012, 16:05 GMT

    It's still not too late to fix the India team. Get rid of the pensioners - Laxman, Dravid, and Tendulkar. Bring in young guns like Rohit Sharma and Manoj Tiwary. For bowling - get rid of the most over-rated bowler - Ishant and bring in bowlers who did well in Ranji Trophy - Irfan Pathan, Ashok Dinda, Taduri Sudhindra, etc. Please, no more IPL players in test cricket.

  • Al on January 14, 2012, 15:55 GMT

    As much as Indians like to complain about their bowling, their batting has been their downfall in the last couple of years. It's easy to fix the India batting - get rid of the pensioners - Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman. Also Sehwag should not be allowed to play outside the subcontinent. Let him be our Flat Track bully. For bowling - get rid of that most over-rated of bowlers - Ishant. Give a chance to Taduri Sudhindra, Ashok Dinda, or Irfan Pathan. Cricinfo - pls post.

  • Andrew on January 14, 2012, 12:35 GMT

    @InnocentGuy - too true. I couldn't believe Vinay is slower than Zaheer!!! @ Front-Foot-Lunge - Sth Africa hold the first two places, then comes Oz, an England XI is ranked somewhere near Isle of Mann! @JG2704 - it's not over yet, but on the other hand doesn't make the Ashes 2013 look very juicy????? @LillianThomson - it is funny that the Indian players sledge Warner, given he has plenty of experience in India & some people rate him as a low deck specialist!!!! @Truemans_Ghost - so true!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! @Dravid_Gravitas - I know why you call the pitches Grassbowls but really, what has been bad about the pitches? On Day 1 Laxman & Kohli were cruising, they got out to stupid shots that were forced on them by tight bowling. Isn't that what you want to see? Tight bowling = success??? == == == You know the Indian cricket team is in town when you have 636 comments & counting..........

  • Jay on January 14, 2012, 11:15 GMT

    GO KARTING BOYS!!! You are here to enjoy, not to play cricket. Have fun. Hit few sixes (DLF Maximum in your terms!!!!) in the next IPL and everything will be forgiven and forgotten. Long live Indian Cricket.

  • Ashish on January 14, 2012, 10:03 GMT

    One thing this Indian team progressed in this entire series is reducing the number of days of a Test Match 1st Test - 5 days; 2nd Test - 4 days; 3rd Test - 3 days(almost sure) and 4th Test - 2 days (as per the trend).

  • disco on January 14, 2012, 5:04 GMT

    Re Ashwin/Kumar, strange decision to replace one slow bowler who can bat and spin with another slow bowler who can er... bowl slowly.

  • Randolph on January 14, 2012, 5:02 GMT

    This Indian side is one of the poorest I have ever seen. Zimbabwe would smash this team. Grade-esque cricketers like Kohli, Gahmbir and Tendulkar are walking wickets and when you have the #1 attack like Oz do, they're going to take them. Harris was bowling wonderfully too. Really shows up how bad England's win was. We are crushing them twice as bad. Australia - what a team!

  • Syed Sharful on January 14, 2012, 4:52 GMT

    What a pathetic display of Test Cricket Batting by Team India ! Ordinary Indian players in action against the professionals.This team must not be allowed to play the remaining(4th)test and be asked to go back to India to play in IPL !!

  • Hritam on January 14, 2012, 4:42 GMT

    This Indian Team is all in ruins. I'm an Indian myself, but I have a question: Is this Indian team any better than Zimbabwe or Bangladesh, whom people regularly call to be stripped of their Test status? They are losing every Test that they play overseas. By the way, it was a wonderful ton from Warner and I wish he can perform like this throughout his Test career.

  • Dummy4 on January 14, 2012, 4:36 GMT

    Indians who were shouting at the top of their lungs to strip Bangladesh of their test status-I think it is time India who are totally uncompetitive overseas, be stripped off test status when they play abroad!

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