By David Gray
PERTH (Reuters) – David Warner dominated, dissected and demolished New Zealand with his maiden double century to drive Australia to 416 for two at the close of play on a one-sided opening day of the second test at the WACA on Friday.
Picking up where he left off in the first test in Brisbane, the opener scored 244 not out for his third century in three innings as the hosts dominated New Zealand’s bowlers as ruthlessly as they had in the 208-run victory at the Gabba.
Usman Khawaja claimed his maiden test century in the first test and got his second on Friday but even his sometimes sublime strokeplay had to play second fiddle to his fellow lefthander’s brilliance on a sweltering day in Perth.
The 28-year-old was caught by Tom Latham in the covers off Doug Bracewell and departed for 121 to end a 302-run partnership with Warner shortly before stumps, leaving skipper Steve Smith (five not out) to resume on day two.
Warner, once dismissed as a Twenty20 slogger, was batting on the same ground where he hit a 69-ball century on the way to his previous career-highest score of 180 against India in 2012.
This innings was the work of a far more experienced batsman, however, even if it started with similar aggression when Warner clattered the first two balls he faced for four to either side of the ground.
Having established his dominance, however, his batting became more circumspect and he was happy to reach his fifty off a single.
The 29-year-old had put on 101 with Joe Burns when his new opening partner chopped a Matt Henry delivery onto his stumps to depart for 40 just before lunch.
Warner was by no means done yet, though, and he brought up his 15th test century by hammering his 12th four over mid-wicket.
The 150 came from 182 balls with another two fours and the addition of his first six but his celebrations were muted compared to that for his century, indicating that his real target still lay ahead.
His second six took him to 197 and after a single from the 236th ball he faced got him to the milestone for the first time, Warner performed another celebratory leap before raising his bat and helmet to the sky.
At stumps, he had faced 272 balls and hit 22 fours and two sixes.
New Zealand’s day had started well with key paceman Tim Southee passed fit to play but it rapidly went downhill after skipper Brendon McCullum lost the toss.
Fielding a four-pronged pace attack after Henry replaced injured all-rounder James Neesham, the Black Caps were unable to muster any movement from swing or seam to test the Australian batsmen.
McCullum was also culpable for using up New Zealand’s two DRS reviews on marginal lbw calls and leaving them without one when Khawaja appeared to get an edge on a Mark Craig delivery and was caught behind.
Khawaja had another life just before tea when Bracewell let the ball through his hands on the boundary and he made the most of his reprieve in the final session as Australia racked up the highest score ever on the opening day of a WACA test.
(Writing by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Peter Rutherford/Patrick Johnston)