| Matthew Hayden sweeps one en route to his unbeaten 183 in Perth on Thursday
Melbourne: Matthew Hayden smashed 107 runs in the final session as Australia piled up 372 for three on the opening day of the first Test against Zimbabwe in Perth on Thursday.
The left-handed opener, who hit 23 boundaries and three sixes off 268 balls, batted through the entire six hours and 18 minutes of play to be unbeaten on 183 at stumps. This was his sixth century in his past 12 Tests.
Heath Streak had won the toss and elected to field at the WACA ground.
Australia captain Steve Waugh, who has scored four Test centuries this year, was unbeaten on 61 but the 38-year-old was happy to play a supporting role in an unbeaten fourth-wicket partnership of 173 with Hayden, including 169 in the last session.
Waugh managed to hit seven boundaries and one six but was overshadowed by his partner.
Zimbabwe had enjoyed moderate success until tea when Australia were 203 for three, having dismissed Justin Langer for 26, Ricky Ponting for 37 and Damien Martyn for 53 before Hayden took advantage of a tiring attack.
Hayden and fellow left-hander Langer gave Australia a bright start with an opening stand of 43 before Langer played a ball from Sean Ervine on to his stumps for 26.
Ricky Ponting was leg-before to Ervine for 37 in the third over after lunch.Hayden began to play more attacking shots following Ponting’s dismissal, which brought Martyn to the crease in his first Test for nine months after breaking a finger during the World Cup.
Off-spinner Trevor Gripper enticed Martyn to play a loose cut shot to slip where he was caught by Craig Wishart seven minutes before tea.
Hayden moved quickly from his tea score of 76 into the nineties but on 95 was troubled by nerves, missing several sweep shots and almost getting caught at cover from an attempted drive on 98.
The 31-year-old, who could easily have been given out leg-before for a duck in the day’s second over, finally reached his century in his sixth hour.
Both teams wore black armbands and observed 88 seconds of silence before the start of play to honour the 88 Australians among 202 people killed in the Bali bombings of October 12, 2002 (Reuters)