In the face of pressure to keep his spot on the Australian cricket team, David Warner put on a remarkable performance, scoring a 200 in his 100th Test match despite challenging conditions.
Leading the three-match series against South Africa 1-0, Australia resumed play at the MCG on Tuesday at 45-1 in response to South Africa’s first-innings total of 189. By the end of the day, Australia had scored 386-3, giving them a lead of 197 runs, with Alex Carey not out on nine and Travis Head undefeated on 48.
Though Australia are in a strong position, two of the home team’s pace bowlers, Mitchell Starc and first-innings hero Cameron Green, are nursing finger injuries ahead of South Africa’s second innings.
Steve Smith (85) and Warner (200 retired hurt) put on an entertaining third-wicket partnership of 239 runs, helping Australia take control of the match in sweltering conditions. After Smith’s exit at 314-3, Warner retired hurt 15 runs later.
Warner’s 200 makes him just the second player in Test history, after England’s Joe Root, to score a double century in his 100th Test. Despite suffering from leg cramps, Warner celebrated his 200 by leaping into the air, but was forced to retire due to exhaustion and cramps after scoring 16 fours and two sixes in his 254-ball knock in the 99-degree Fahrenheit heat.
The 36-year-old left-hander scored his 25th Test century and first since January 2020 off 144 deliveries, pulling a short ball to the leg-side boundary before celebrating extravagantly in the post-lunch session on Tuesday.
By tea, Australia held a 42-run advantage at 231-2. Anrich Nortje ended the third-wicket partnership by removing Smith caught at gully at 315-3. Nortje had a close call earlier in the day when an overhead “Spidercam” camera zoomed past and collided with him, knocking the fielder to the ground in a strange incident. Green retired hurt for six at 363-3 after being struck by Nortje on the finger, which meant that Carey had to come out to bat.