CENTURION: David Warner hit a flamboyant century and shared a double century partnership with Alex Doolan as Australia tightened their stranglehold on the third day of the first Test against South Africa at SuperSport Park on Friday. Warner hit 115 and debutant Doolan made 89 as Australia reached 288 for three in their second innings at close of play, an overall lead of 479. The pair built on the destructive bowling of Mitchell Johnson, who continued his devastating form of the recent Ashes series against England – and his superb opening spell on the second day -- and finished with seven for 68 as South Africa were bowled out for 206 in reply to Australia's 397. AB de Villiers made a sparkling 91 for South Africa before he was ninth man out. The left-handed Warner was dropped three times and survived a close leg before wicket decision and a run out chance, but played some thrilling attacking strokes as he and Doolan added 205 for the second wicket after Chris Rogers was bowled by Dale Steyn in the second over of the Australian innings.
Warner makes Proteas suffer: Warner's first chance came on 26 when he hooked Vernon Philander to fine leg where substitute Dean Elgar dived but could not hold the ball. He edged the next ball he faced, from Morne Morkel, high to second slip where a leaping Alviro Petersen could only get his fingertips to the ball. On 51 he was dropped in similar fashion by Graeme Smith at first slip when he slashed at Ryan McLaren. The way Warner reached his century epitomised the way he batted.
After going to tea on 93 he hit the first ball he faced after the interval from Morkel for four, then was struck on his pads in front of his stumps by the next ball. Morkel appealed passionately, umpire Aleem Dar gave him not out and South Africa sought a review, which showed the ball was pitching marginally outside leg stump. Warner powered Morkel's third delivery through the covers to notch his hundred off 118 balls with 13 fours and two sixes. He was then kept relatively quiet and did not add to his boundary tally in the next 33 balls before edging left-arm spinner Robin Peterson to Smith at slip.
Doolan was more circumspect, particularly at the start of his innings, but hit 12 fours and a six in a 154-ball innings before flashing at a quicker delivery from part-time off-spinner JP Duminy to be caught behind. Johnson struck with his fourth ball of the day when Robin Peterson fended a sharply lifting delivery to Michael Clarke moving to his left from second slip. Vernon Philander played a dogged innings of 15 before he was leg before wicket to off-spinner Nathan Lyon.
Umpire Richard Illingworth gave Philander not out but the Australians successfully sought a review which showed the ball was hitting the stumps. AB Villiers was the only batsman to play Johnson with any comfort and he slammed the big left-arm fast bowler through the covers for four as he sought quick runs before the innings ended. But he lofted the next ball to mid-off to end a 148-ball innings which included ten fours and two sixes.
Hats off to skipper Misbahul Haq and pacer Wahab Riaz for their commendable performance that helped ...