Australia entered wicketless into the second session on the opening day of the third and final Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, powered by a blistering 78-ball ton by David Warner on Tuesday (December 3). Having become only the fifth batsman to score a hundred in the opening session of a Test, Warner must have set his eyes on knocking the wind out of Pakistan in the afternoon session, to strengthen the position of his side further. Although the tourists didn’t bowl remarkably well in the second but they still managed to eke out a couple of wickets before Tea on Day 1, keeping the hosts to 224 for 2 in 56 overs.
Earlier in the session, Yasir Shah began the proceedings after Lunch and both the Australian openers seemed to have no problems in negotiating him first up. Wahab Riaz shared the attack from the other end, having been the only bowler who seemed to be putting in his all. With Mohammad Amir absent from the field having done something to his left thigh, both Yasir Shah and Riaz continued for the first chunk of overs after the 40-minute break.
Just when the bowling looked innocuous, Riaz produced the first big moment of the day for his side, by removing the centurion in the 33rd over. While it seemed for the large part of the day that it would need a gem of a delivery to remove the dashing 30-year-old opener, the left-arm pacer bowled a gentle back of a length ball outside the off stump to get Warner edge it to the keeper, as he looked to dab it down fine in what appeared a lapse in concentration. Before being dismissed, Warner had already added 113 runs at a staggering strike rate of 119.
Matt Renshaw remained quaint in his approach, even after his dominant partner perished, and reached his fifty off 115 balls, his second in four Tests. Usman Khawaja, who walked in at the fall of Warner, got an early reprieve when he was batting on 3. Attempting a fierce cut shot, he got a thick edge to gully where Babar Azam failed to hold on to a sharp chance. Imran Khan, who had been sent on a leather hunt by Warner earlier in the first session, was disappointed on having missed out on a wicket.
Imran went past Renshaw’s bat in the following over, before making way for Wahab again. Yasir was unimpressive too, as Azhar Ali was tried from his end soon after. In what turned out to be another tame dismissal, Wahab sucked Khawaja into a wayward drive, edging it to the keeper to repeat a similar mode of dismissal.
Ever since, Steve Smith who walked in to bat at number four, has looked comfortable while Renshaw has marched ahead towards what could be a satisfying old-school hundred.
Earlier in the day, Australia won the toss and elected to bat first, having rung in a couple of changes in the form of debutant Hilton Cartwright and Steve O’Keefe, whereas Pakistan too handed Sharjeel Khan his maiden Test cap and Imran Khan came in to replace Sohail Khan.
In an action packed opening session, David Warner hit 15 boundaries in the first hour of play to reach his 23rd Test fifty off just 41 balls, before stretching his might to scale his 18th hundred off just 71 balls. Renshaw, who gave him company, was solid in his approach and didn’t allow the Pakistan bowlers come anywhere close to picking up a wicket in the opening session.