Friday 23 August 2019

Warner's first ton since ban as Australia edge Pakistan

 

Australia's David Warner celebrates his century. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Couldridge
Australia's David Warner celebrates his century. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

Scyld Berry

Australia's bulldog is back, snarling and biting, and leaving Pakistan with only one leg to stand on in this World Cup. David Warner scored his first century in an international since his ban, 107 off 111 balls, to maintain Australia's progress towards the semi-finals and Pakistan's to the exit.

Warner's leap on reaching his hundred was higher than usual, and his roar was louder too. The 32-year-old bulldog is a bit more guarded than he was, but no less dangerous for that, and he is the second highest run-scorer in this World Cup.

His captain, Aaron Finch, scored almost twice as quickly in terms of runs, until it was 80 to 44, but their strike-rates were similar, and the bulldog sank his teeth into Pakistan once Finch had gone.

Australia's innings, however, did not quite pan out as planned by their coach Justin Langer.

Pakistan were neither hot nor cold, but cold then hot: after letting Finch and Warner score 146 off 22 overs, the highest partnership of this World Cup, Pakistan took all 10 Australian wickets for 161 runs and dismissed them with an over to spare.

Lapsed

The only time when Warner lapsed was after reaching his hundred - his 15th in ODIs - when he 'went' too soon. First he was dropped off a steer to third man on 104, then he was over-ambitious against Mohammad Amir.

"When I got out we had 70 balls to go, and as the 'in' batter you want to bat 50 overs," Warner admitted. "We should have been around 340-50. Credit to Pakistan, their second spells were fantastic and made it hard for us."

Sarfaraz Ahmed dropped Finch when he had scored 44, a top-edged cut that most international keepers would have caught most times out of 10.

Pakistan's batting was also cold and hot, then cold and hot. They lost their first two wickets to short balls, and seven in all, as if their lesson from the West Indian fast bowlers had not been absorbed.

Yet they still reached 136 for two, an excellent platform on a ground with short straight boundaries, if only there had been some disciplined shot-selection before the late-order clubbing by Hasan Ali and Wahab Riaz.

That partnership gave Pakistan a chance, but it was snuffed out when Wahab edged Mitchell Starc behind, Aaron Finch successfully reviewing with just a second left on the DRS timer.

The semi-finalists are currently shaping up to be the predicted four of Australia, England, India and New Zealand. (©The Daily Telegraph)

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