Warner and Smith warm up for Test with tons
New South Wales 353 (Smith 107, Warner 104, Hastings 5-61) lead Victoria 236 by 117 runs
David Warner confirmed himself as a certain starter for the opening Ashes Test with a dynamic century on the second day against Victoria at the MCG. Warner and fellow Test incumbent Steven Smith both scored hundreds as New South Wales comfortably claimed first-innings points, but it wasn't such a good day for baggy-green aspirant Fawad Ahmed, who struggled in taking 1 for 91 from 21 overs.
Warner was one of the disappointments of the Ashes tour of England for the Australians, averaging 23 in his three appearances, but three hundreds in the Ryobi Cup last month suggested he was starting to see the ball a little better. Red-ball form was what the selectors were most keen to see from Warner, who began briskly on the second morning against Victoria and struck 16 boundaries in his innings of 104 from 87 deliveries.
Warner found his runs all around the ground and bettered the score of his Test opening partner Chris Rogers, who on the previous day had ground out 88 for Victoria. The runs kept flowing for Australia's Test cricketers after Warner pulled a catch to wide mid-on off Scott Boland, as Smith compiled a classy 107 from 169 deliveries.
A centurion in the final Ashes Test at The Oval and the incumbent No.5 in the national side, Smith struck 13 fours and two sixes in his impressive innings before he was caught off the bowling of John Hastings, who finished with five wickets. Michael Clarke also spent some time at the crease, scoring 43 and contributing to a 104-run third-wicket stand with Warner.
Hastings was the best of the bowlers, while Test spearhead Peter Siddle collected 2 for 66. The chances of Ahmed usurping Nathan Lyon in the Test outfit appear slim after Ahmed battled to find his rhythm, picking up only the wicket of Sean Abbott for 9. The Blues were dismissed just before stumps for 353, giving them a 117-run first-innings lead.