Australia are in a commanding position after the opening session of the second Test at the MCG.
After Cameron Green ripped the heart out of the South African batting order with 5/27 on the opening day, it was over to David Warner on day two.
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Warner reinforced Australia’s dominance by scoring his first Test century in almost three years during his 100th Test.
The devastating opener broke out of his recent form slump and carried Australia past South Africa’s first innings total.
Steve Smith joined Warner at the crease following a nightmare mix-up between Warner and Marnus Labuschagne that cost Labuschagne his wicket.
Smith falls for 85
David Warner was looking distressed during the drinks break but it’s Steve Smith that’s fallen foul of the rest, losing his wicket on the first ball after the breaks.
Anrich Nortje went short and Smith steered it straight to Theunis de Bruyn at gully.
Smith was disappointed to be gone so close to a hundred after a 239 run stand with Warner.
Warner joins elite of the elite
David Warner’s century in his 100th Test could just be about to get even better as he moves his way up the list of highest scores in the elite group.
Warner brought up his 150 after tea to move into the third highest score in a batters 100th match, with only Joe Root’s 218 and Inzamam-ul-Haq’s 184 ahead of him.
Warner caught Ul-Haq before drinks but was clearly in distress as the Aussie team doctors and physios checked him over.
Warner joined the elite group of 10 players to hit three figures in their 100th Test — only the second Aussie behind Ricky Ponting, who had centuries in each innings.
Centuries in 100th Test
— Joe Root – 218 – England v India, 2021
— David Warner – 192* – Australia v South Africa, 2022
— Inzamam-ul-Haq – 184 – Pakistan v India, 2005
— Gordon Greenidge – 149 – West Indies v England, 1990
— Javed Miandad – 145 – Pakistan v India, 1989
— *Ricky Ponting – 143* – Australia v South Africa, 2006
— Hashim Amla – 134 – South Africa v Sri Lanka, 2017
— Graeme Smith – 131 – South Africa v England, 2012
— *Ricky Ponting – 120 and 143* – Australia v South Africa, 2006
— Alec Stewart – 105 – England v West Indies, 2000
— Colin Cowdrey – 104 – England v Australia, 1968
*Same Test match
Warner makes history in miracle moment
David Warner’s form slump is behind him after a stellar display during the second Test at the MCG.
Warner last registered a Test half century back in March against Pakistan in Lahore, he has failed to score more than 10 runs in five out of his past 10 innings.
It marks his first Test century in almost three years.
South African paceman Anrich Nortje peppered the Aussie opener with 150km/h plus deliveries but Warner withstood the barrage and saluted in blistering Melbourne conditions.
On his way to the century, Warner became only the eighth man in Australian history to register more than 8000 Test runs.
Shortly before lunch Warner passed the 8000 run mark, joining Ricky Ponting, Allan Border, Steve Waugh, Michael Clarke, Matt Hayden, Steve Smith and Mark Waugh.
Horror run out sends Marnus packing
A nightmare mix up in the middle has cost Marnus Labuschagne his wicket.
David Warner took off for a quick single before the throw at the stumps missed wide and saw Warner turn back for a second.
As he was halfway down the pitch however, Labuschagne shouted no but it was too late and the number one batsman in the world tried to scramble down the pitch only to be left short of the crease.
It’s the fifth time Labuschagne has been run out in Test cricket.
Damning extent of Starc’s injury revealed
Mitchell Starc was given the all clear to bowl again during the second Test after suffering a nasty injury during the opening day, but serious concerns remain that he will bowl in the second innings.
Starc finished with an impressive 2/39 from 13 overs, but serious concerns hung over the Australian camp after he appeared to dislocate a finger in the field.
After diving to stop a ball on the boundary, the ball slammed into Starc’s middle finger on his left hand and replays showed the tip of his finger not in a position it should have been.
Fox Cricket’s Kath Loughnan provided an update during the opening session on the extent of Starc’s injury.
“There are serious doubts whether he’ll bowl in the second innings,” Loughnan said.
“We are hearing he has done a fair bit of damage to the extent he could be out for some time and miss the Sydney Test due to potential tendon damage, but the official line from Cricket Australia is he has simply hurt the tip of his middle finger and he’ll be reassessed at the completion of this match.”
SEN’s Peter Lalor believes the injury will sideline Starc for six weeks.
“He’ll play this Test in great discomfort, but it’s at least six weeks recovery. I believe it’s tendon damage to that middle finger, that bowling finger,” Lalor said.
Starc is now also more than likely to miss the third and final Test in Sydney.
South African legend Shaun Pollock said the importance of the middle finger would work against Starc.
“I think it’s a big problem, those are the two that really count,” he said on Fox Cricket.
“Even if you have an injection, it doesn’t really do the job because you want to feel the release of the ball.
“If you’ve got a numb finger, I suppose it’d be like having an injection into your gum when you finish at the dentist – it just doesn’t feel right.
“For him to come out and try and bowl with it, it’s a huge blow. Every time that arm goes over, the force that goes over, it’ll obviously create a lot of pain.
Pollock also noted that players are “not allowed to have strapping on that finger” like Starc did on Monday.