A brilliant performance by David Warner saw Australia A in a strong position at stumps of Day 1 of their first four-day Test against South Africa A in Pretoria on Wednesday. He scored an outstanding 193 runs off 226 balls including 29 fours and a six to lead his side to 399 before he was removed in the last over of the day.
The hosts got off to a positive start with Kyle Abbott taking two wickets up front after captain, Justin Ontong won the toss and chose to field. He bowled Shaun Marsh for five in the fifth over, while Alex Doolan (6) followed eight overs later. Australian skipper, Aaron Finch, led from the front and held the innings together with Warner scoring rapidly from the other end. Finch scored 51 off 92 balls before his removal thanks to a cracker of a delivery by Marchant de Lange.
Warner went about his business as usual, taking firm hold of the role of aggressor and piling on the runs on a very flat deck. He reached his century off 137 balls while his partner, Moises Henriques, chipped in with 33 runs before his removal at the hands of Stiaan van Zyl.
Glenn Maxwell entered the fray and soon added to the hosts’ problems with a half-century off 61 balls which he quickly converted to an unbeaten 103 (off 131 balls) at stumps.
Maxwell was delighted at the manner in which he executed his batting today; “It’s always nice to get the century out of the way on the first day,” he said. “I’m very happy with my performance; this is probably the best I’ve batted in a long time. It was good to bat with Dave Warner; he was taking a lot of the pressure off me by scoring pretty quickly.”
South African captain Ontong, was not satisfied with his side’s performance. A combination of pitch conditions and not enough good bowling in the right areas put his side on the back foot. He still believes however, that it is possible to bounce back from today; his side will need to go back to the drawing board and apply the basics correctly.
He said: “The wicket looks like it’s a good one to bat on but in that first session we should have bowled better, it should have been ours. Still, cricket is a funny game, when we bat, we need to apply ourselves and get ourselves in the position that David Warner got himself to cash in and score the runs. In the mean time, we need to take five more wickets, it’s a new day tomorrow and hopefully we can make it ours.”