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November 29, 2019

Warner, Labuschagne expose Pakistan's bowlers with second Test tons


Fri, Nov 29, 2019
Australia lead the two-match series 1-0 after winning the first Test by an innings and five runs in Brisbane. Photo: ICC Twitter

ADELAIDE: Australia opener David Warner and number three Marnus Labuschagne both smacked their second centuries in as many Tests Friday, exposing Pakistan´s bowlers once again in a day-night clash in Adelaide.

Warner plundered 154 in the opening Test at Brisbane last week -- his first Test century since a year-long ban for ball-tampering -- and he maintained that rich vein of home form.

Under lights and against an attack that struggled to make the most of conditions, he brought up his 23rd Test ton off 156 balls with a single from spinner Yasir Shah.

Warner hit 12 fours in a near faultless innings, ably supported by Labuschagne who followed up his 185 at the Gabba -- a maiden Test hundred -- by getting another in Adelaide.

The composed 25-year-old slapped 14 fours, clipping Yasir for two runs through mid-wicket to reach three figures for only the second time in his 11 Tests.

Their partnership has passed the 200-mark.

At the dinner break on a rain-interrupted day, Australia were 139 for one with the two batsmen building an ominous 131-run partnership, with Pakistan facing an uphill battle to stay in touch.

Pakistan need to win to square the two-match series, but the odds are heavily stacked against them, having lost 13 consecutive Tests in Australia.

Over the years, taking wickets in Australia has been a challenge for Pakistan and they shuffled their bowling attack for the pink-ball Test.

Veteran seamer Mohammad Abbas, who tormented Australia when he took 17 wickets in two Tests in the UAE last October, returned in place of Imran Khan while 16-year-old pace sensation Naseem Shah was rested.

That handed a debut to 19-year-old medium-fast right-armer Muhammad Musa, but, like in the first Test at Brisbane, none of them could tame Warner and Labuschagne.

Both players scored big centuries at the Gabba -- Warner 154 and Labuschagne a career-best 185 -- and they carried the form into Adelaide.

After Australian skipper Tim Paine won the toss and chose to bat, Pakistan had a flicker of hope when Joe Burns was out for four, but a stubborn Warner and Labuschagne dug in to lay a solid platform and they went to tea at 70 for one.

The players were forced to remain in the dressing room for an extra two hours from the scheduled resumption due to persistent light drizzle, but when they returned Warner quickly brought up his 31st half-century.

The explosive opener got an inside edge for two runs, with his 50 coming courtesy of four careless overthrows -- the first time in five day-night Tests he has passed the mark.

He continued to pick off runs as he targets a 23rd Test century, with Labuschagne quietly going about his business at the other end, notching his sixth 50 in his 11th Test with a boundary off Musa.

Earlier, on an overcast afternoon and with the floodlights on from the first ball, Shaheen Afridi, Pakistan´s standout bowler, bagged the wicket of Burns.

With the ball moving off the seam, he got an edge to Mohammad Rizwan behind the stumps and was out for four, with that breakthrough proving to be the only ray of sunshine for the visitors.

Playing XI

Australia: Joe Burns, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Matthew Wade, Tim Paine (capt), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood

Pakistan: Shan Masood, Imam-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali (capt), Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Yasir Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Muhammad Musa, Mohammad Abbas