Warner comeback ton powers Australia A
Australia A 399 for 5 (Warner 193, Maxwell 103*) v South Africa A
David Warner's reinvention as a middle-order batsman received a tremendous boost as the left-hander amassed 193 against South Africa A in Pretoria. The visitors finished one run short of 400 on the opening day as Glenn Maxwell celebrated his maiden first-class century as well.
Warner was suspended from the Australian side after an altercation with England batsman Joe Root during the Champions Trophy and could not participate in the warm-up matches for the Ashes. Subsequently he was not picked to play the first Test and with coach Darren Lehmann confirming Chris Rogers and Shane Watson as Australia's openers, Warner's future in the side demanded that he adjust to the role of a middle-order batsman. He was sent to Africa with the A side to prepare him for the role; a role he was keen to perform, expressing a wish to fill the shoes of Michael Hussey.
Having failed in his only outing in Zimbabwe, Warner stepped into a delicate situation with Australia A two down, both wickets going to Kyle Abbott, by the 13th over. A 73-run partnership for the third wicket between Warner and captain Aaron Finch, who scored a half-century, revived Australia A. Marchant de Lange accounted for Finch, but Warner, having already surged to a run-a-ball, fifty spearheaded a 76-run stand with Moises Henriques to put Australia A in the driver's seat.
Henriques' fall brought Maxwell to the crease and misery to South Africa A as the duo piled on 204 runs off 229 balls with Maxwell reaching his century with his 13th four. Warner's wicket, bowled by de Lange, signalled the end of day one, but not before Warner had lasted 226 balls, and hit 30 boundaries, including one six.
Maxwell was very pleased with his innings. "It's always nice to get the century out of the way on the first day," he said. "I'm very happy with my performance; this is probably the best I've batted in a long time. It was good to bat with Dave Warner. He was taking a lot of the pressure off me by scoring pretty quickly."
Justin Ontong, the South Africa A captain, was disappointed with his side's performance. "It was quite a hard day for us. The wicket was good to bat on but we should have bowled a little better in the first hour," he said. "We bowled on both sides of the wicket which made it very difficult for me to set fields. And if you bowl [like that] to good batsmen like Warner, they'll punish you.
"We need to pick up five more wickets. We are going to have a good chat now and come back strongly tomorrow. Still it will be hard work for our batters but they need to apply themselves and show patience and get themselves in a position like David Warner got."