Warner, Labuschagne punish Pakistan again

Warner, Labuschagne punish Pakistan again

Agency News

Adelaide, Nov 30: Australia stacked up 302/1 from 73 overs, on the back of centuries from David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne on a rain-affected first day of the pink ball Test here on Friday.

In an encore of their performances at the Gabba in the first Test, which Australia won by an innings and five runs, both Warner and Labuschagne scored chanceless centuries on the first day here. Pakistan's changes to the bowling attack, with Musa Khan and Mohammad Abbas coming in for Naseem Shah and Imran Khan, failed to reap better returns for the visitors.

Having won the toss, Tim Paine elected to bat first despite the presence of thick ominous-looking clouds overhead. He might have been mildly worried about his decision when Joe Burns nicked behind to Shaheen Afridi's bowling to fall for four, but he needn't have been.

Warner and Labuschagne looked confident right from the get-go. They did employ a more cautious approach in the rain-curtailed first session but scored fluently after the start of the second session, which was also delayed by poor weather, an ICC report said. Warner was the more aggressive of the two, bringing up his century – his 23rd in Test cricket – of his 156th delivery with a push to backward point. Labuschagne wasn't lagging behind too much, bringing up his second Test ton off 169 balls, and his second in two innings.

As the duo kept battering away, Pakistan's spirits seemed to deflate. The fast bowlers couldn't generate the bite or the in-air movement that has come to characterise day/night Tests in Adelaide, and Australia's pair looked untroubled. The fielding was sloppy too with several fumbles allowing for extra runs, the worst instance being when Shaheen accidentally kicked a ball into the rope when looking to collect it at cover off Warner's blade. Later in the day, a run-out chance was fluffed when Labuschagne set off for a poorly judged second run after tapping one to point, but despite getting to the ball rapidly, Imam-ul-Haq fired a wild throw, allowing the batsman to escape.

David Warner continued to belt runs at a rapid rate and reached his second consecutive 150 with a drive off Yasir Shah to the long-off fence. He will resume batting at 166 on the second day, while Labuschagne will look to add to his 126. Pakistan will surely need to strike early to have any chance of squaring the two-match series. (UNI)