back icon


David Warner's ton lights up Perth amid Pakistan fightback

article_imageTALKING POINTS
Last updated on 14 Dec 2023 | 12:18 PM
Google News IconFollow Us
David Warner's ton lights up Perth amid Pakistan fightback

The southpaw notched up his 26th Test ton and also jumped two places to become Australia's fifth-highest run-getter in the format

It was David Warner who lit up the Optus Stadium with a magnificent 164 against Pakistan on the first day of Australia's Test summer. Pakistan did manage to pull things back after being all over the place in the first session. Nevertheless, the day belonged to Australia. Let's take a deeper look at how it went: 

A promising debut

Debutant Khurram Shahzad started off extremely well on his Test debut. He bowled in the right channels, especially in his first spell, asking plenty of questions from the Australian openers David Warner and Usman Khawaja. However, he was not able to pick up any wicket in the spell, which allowed the opening batters to settle down and build a huge stand.

Shaheen Afridi struggled to get any control, which saw him concede 31 runs in his first five overs, while Shahzad had the advantage of bowling over round the wicket to the left-handed openers and managed to get more off the surface than his senior partner. While Afridi was on the back-of-length and short side, Shahzad was a little fuller in comparison, asking a few questions.

Aamer Jamal, who also debuted, bent his back extremely well in the latter stages of the day, accounting for the wickets of Warner and Travis Head with short deliveries.

Warner with a point to prove

David Warner made batting look extremely easy. He got to his fifty off just 42 deliveries and ended the first session on 72 off 67. But Pakistan did well to pull things back in the second session, allowing him to score just 39 off 82 deliveries. Pakistan conceded just four boundaries in the second session against Warner, compared to his 12 in the first, which was key in keeping the southpaw quiet.

Also Read: David Warner's 'Talk nah' moment in Perth silences critics again

Warner got a few lucky boundaries in the initial stages of the innings. A few edges could have carried to the slip or he could have easily nicked one to the wicketkeeper. He had a false shot of 23.3% for the first 60 deliveries of his innings. He seemed to be in more control after that, with the bowlers inducing false shot% of 80 in deliveries 61-90 and 18.1 after he had faced 90 deliveries.

What was good to see was that he did not throw his wicket away in the second session when the runs had dried down. He absorbed the pressure and then when the time came, he transferred the pressure back on the Pakistan bowlers. A proper Test knock that.

How costly will not picking a spinner be for Pakistan?

Pakistan suffered a huge blow when Abrar Ahmed suffered an injury during the warm-up game against Prime Minister's XI and as a result, had to sit out for the first Test. While Pakistan roped in off-spinner Sajid Khan, they did not seem playing him apt as he had arrived in the country less than 48 hours before the match. However, they had the option of roping in left-arm orthodox spinner Nauman Ali, but decided against it, perhaps due to the fact that four of Australia's top seven ate left-handed batters. 

They could end up regretting that decision, as there could be something for the spinners as the match rolls on. You do not play a Test match based on the conditions on the first day but keep in mind all five days. Nauman may have had less impact in the first innings but may have played a significant role in the second innings, as the wear and tear of the pitch could have aided him.

Eventually, they had to go with part-timer Salman Agha, who bowled 22 wicketless overs. 

Have Pakistan been poor catchers?

Surprisingly, no. They did drop a couple of catches today, one of them a relatively easy one at mid-on, yet, they have been among the best catchers in Test cricket this year. 

But Pakistan have a catch efficiency of 83.3% in Tests this year. Only South Africa (83.8%), New Zealand (84.2%), and West Indies (88.2%) have fared better. Pakistan have dropped just eight catches in 2023, while their opponents Australia lead the charts having dropped 43 and have the worst catch efficiency (69.1%).

While Pakistan have been known for setting low standards with their ground fielding, they are certainly holding on to their catches more often than not.  

Australia batters fail to convert

Barring Warner, no batter really made it count for Australia on a decent batting surface and that too against an inexperienced bowling line-up. Khawaja (41), Steven Smith (31) and Head (40) all set themselves up for something big, but in the end, they were undone by some clever bowling in the end. 

After the day's play, skipper Pat Cummins said his team is looking at another 100-150 runs. Mitchell Marsh (15*) and Alex Carey (14*) are still out there, with Cummins and Mitchell Starc to follow. Pakistan did pull things back post the first session and will be hopeful that their good work resumes on Day Two, where they can restrict the hosts to 450 or less. That would be some achievement for this attack.

Related Article