David Warner entered a list of elite cricketers on Tuesday after he scored his 18th ton in the third Test against Pakistan at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The star left-hander emulated the likes of Don Bradman and Victor Trumper with a Test century before lunch. Warner’s partner Matthew Renshaw too was in fine form, hitting his maiden hundred against Misbah-ul-Haq’s side.
Warner’s hundred came off 78 balls in just 117 minutes, while 20-year-old Renshaw took 282 minutes to get to the three-figure mark.
Australia ended the day on 365 for three with Renshaw batting on 167 and fellow newcomer Peter Handscomb on 40 in an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 121.
Warner became the first Australian since Bradman 87 years ago to make a century in the opening session of a Test, and the only batsman to achieve the feat in Australia.
Bradman made 105 in Leeds in 1930 on his way to 334, with fellow Australians Trumper hitting 103 in Manchester in 1902 and Charlie Macartney scoring 112 at Leeds in 1926.
Warner was finally out 20 minutes after lunch, caught behind by Sarfraz Ahmed off Wahab Riaz for 113 off 95 balls with 17 fours.
“That’s obviously an honour and privilege to be amongst the greats of the game,” Warner said.
“It’s great to be out there with those guys. Hopefully I can continue with that great start and positive approach.
“I started last year with a hundred here (against the West Indies) and I started here with another hundred here and I’ve got to capitalise on that.”
The only other player to post a century before lunch on the first day of a Test was Pakistan’s Majid Khan (108) against New Zealand at Karachi in 1976.
– Head-rattling blow –
Warner’s knock eclipsed his previous fastest century at the SCG — off 82 balls in last year’s Test against the West Indies.
Vice-captain Warner has now scored 5,206 runs in 60 Tests at an average of 49.11.
In contrast to Warner’s dazzling century, rookie Renshaw provided the steady foil, painstakingly taking almost five hours to bring up his maiden Test century.
Renshaw fought back from a head-rattling blow on the grille of his batting helmet from speedster Mohammad Amir on 91 to go on and claim his resilient hundred.
“That first session was all a bit of a whirlwind. He was absolutely smoking them and I was trudging along on not many,” Renshaw said of batting with Warner.
“I was trying to not keep up with him as I have in the past, apparently.”
Renshaw also successfully overturned a leg before wicket decision to leg spinner Yasir Shah on 137 when a review showed he had edged onto his pad.
It was a timely innings for the Yorkshire-born youngster ahead of next month’s demanding four-Test tour of India, where he faces a challenge for his opening spot from the fit-again and vastly more experienced Shaun Marsh.
There were precious few successes on a deflating first day for the tourists after their shattering innings defeat in last week’s second Melbourne Test to lose the series.
“Our execution was not up to the mark and at the end of the day it’s a bowling unit that’s not doing really good,” paceman Wahab Riaz said.
“As a bowling unit we have let our team down.”
Usman Khawaja was put down on three by Babar Azam in the gully off Imran Khan before he too was caught behind off Riaz for 13.
Skipper Steve Smith, playing in his 50th Test, was caught behind cutting Shah for 24, his lowest score of a series in which he scored centuries in each of the first two matches.