Opener David Warner erased any questions about his test match pedigree with a 164-run attack on Pakistan’s bowlers on Thursday, as Australia cruised to 346-5 at stumps on day one of the series opener in Perth.
The 37-year-old, who plans to retire from test cricket after the third and final game in Sydney, put on a 126-run opening stand with Usman Khawaja (41) to get the hosts off to a great start after winning the toss.
Warner brought up a breezy 125-ball hundred, his 26th in tests, with a lovely upper cut for four in the 43rd over, sparking his typical celebration leap and blown kiss towards the media box.
“It’s my job to come out here and score runs; that was the plan from the start to put pressure on the Pakistani bowlers,” Warner, who has averaged only 32 in tests since the beginning of 2020, told Fox Cricket.
“There will be criticism, but you must accept it.” There’s no better way to quiet them than to put runs on the board.”
The world test champions got off to a fast start, with Shaheen Afridi’s 14-run opening over anticipating a bruising day for the visitors.
Khawaja was the first to fall after lunch, caught behind by Sarfraz Ahmed off Afridi (1-75), wearing a black armband after the International Cricket Council restricted him from wearing shoes with messages of support with Gaza Palestinians.
Marnus Labuschagne (16) left soon after, trapped lbw by medium-pacer Faheem Ashraf (1-65), forcing Warner to scale down his attacking attitude, capped by an incredible lap shot over fine leg for six.
Warner rode his luck to evade a missed catch and a mis-stump to spinner Agha Salman, hitting 16 boundaries and four sixes before miscuing rookie fast Aamer Jamal (2-63) to backward square in the 75th over.
During the 211-ball vigil, the New South Welshman surpassed greats Matthew Hayden (8625) and Michael Clarke (8643) to become Australia’s fifth-highest test run scorer with 8651.
Pakistan will be encouraged by their disciplined post-lunch bowling performance and the likelihood of limiting Australia to less than 400 on day two, when Mitchell Marsh (15 not out) and Alex Carey (14 not out) begin the innings.