Perth: David Warner punished a depleted and dispirited England with a brilliant century to help drive Australia to 235 for three and a dominant lead of 369 after the third day’s play of the Perth Test on Sunday.
The hosts reached stumps with Shane Watson, who had made 29 not out, and Steven Smith, unbeaten on five, at the crease and looking well on their way to a victory which would secure an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.
England’s hopes of keeping the series alive by avoiding defeat at the Waca had all but melted away in the fierce morning heat when they were skittled for 251 in their first innings. They plummeted even further when their best bowler Stuart Broad was taken to hospital for scans on an injured foot and was unable to play any part in the final two sessions.
Warner took full advantage and, revelling in the lack of pressure afforded him by another superb performance by his bowlers, bludgeoned his way to his fifth Test century in 127 balls with 16 fours and one six.
The 27-year-old brought up the milestone by cutting Graeme Swann for a boundary and celebrated with an extravagant leap into the air and a flurry of bat pointing towards the home dressing room. It was the opener’s second hundred of the series and a sixth by an Australian batsman to none from the tourists, whose entire team have been outscored by Warner, Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin.
England, a pale imitation of the side that won the home Ashes series 3-0 earlier this year, had their chances to stop his progress but wicketkeeper Matt Prior missed two stumping opportunities when the batsman was on 13 and 89.
They finally had their man for 112 when Warner holed out to Ben Stokes at mid-on attempting to smash Swann for a second huge six in one over.
Chris Rogers shared an opening partnership of 157 with Warner, scoring his fourth Test half century at a more pedestrian pace before being caught for 54 by Michael Carberry at point off the bowling of Tim Bresnan. (Reuters)