David Warner etched his name into cricket folklore with a majestic triple-century before Australian pace blasted through Pakistan’s batsmen to put the hosts in complete control of the second test at the end of day two on Saturday.
Seamer Mitchell Starc grabbed four wickets as Pakistan staggered to 96 for six at stumps in reply to Australia’s 589 for three declared in the day-night test at Adelaide Oval. Having lost the opener in Brisbane by an innings and five runs, Pakistan will hope rain forecast in coming days might help stave off an ignominious series whitewash.
Babar Azam was on 43, with tailender Yasir Shah on four, the pair facing an improbable rescue mission. Tim Paine’s declaration robbed Warner of the chance to push for Brian Lara’s world record of 400 but the left-handed opener joined exalted company after striding off unbeaten on 335, the 10th highest score in tests.
“At the moment I’m getting a little bit of luck, which is good,” said Warner. “But it’s just being disciplined. As I said yesterday, the last two weeks that I’ve played I’ve been very disciplined and I’m very happy with that.”
Among Australians, only opener Matthew Hayden’s 380 against Zimbabwe in Perth in 2003 sits higher in the records.
Facing 418 balls in more than nine hours at the crease, Warner became the seventh Australian to reach triple figures and only the third to score more than 250 twice, joining former captains Don Bradman and Michael Clarke.
The stocky 33-year-old pulled seamer Mohammad Abbas for four to reach the milestone, eclipsing Don Bradman’s unbeaten 299 against South Africa in 1932, the previous highest score at the ground. All this, eight months after completing a year-long suspension for ball-tampering that scandalised a nation and saw the former vice captain banned from leadership roles for life.
Having brought the crowd to their feet with his 200th run earlier in the day, Warner bowed before another standing ovation, after bounding down the pitch roaring and leaping twice in the air.
Warner hammered 154 in the innings and five run win in Brisbane and now has 489 runs for the series. Flaying legspinner Yasir Shah for a run-a-ball, the man nicknamed “Bull” plundered 39 fours and a six from a dispirited Pakistan attack. However, for the second test in succession, he was reprieved by a no-ball from a debutant paceman.
In Brisbane it was 16-year-old Naseem Shah who overstepped when Warner tickled a catch behind the wicket when on 56.
At Adelaide, 19-year-old Muhammed Musa was similarly culpable when he had Warner caught in the slips when on 226. Warner’s magic test continued in the field when he took a sharp catch at third slip to remove opener Imam-ul-Haq, who was out for two edging Starc.
On a day of tumbling records, Warner and Marnus Labuschagne combined for 361 runs, the highest second-wicket partnership in tests in Australia.
Steve Smith notched his 7,000th run in his knock of 36, becoming the fastest player to reach the milestone in tests. Pakistan’s Shaheen Afridi took all three of Australia’s wickets, including bowling Labuschagne for 162.