Sport Cricket The Ashes: David Warner thumps quick ton before England strikes back
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The Ashes: David Warner thumps quick ton before England strikes back

ashes boxing day test warner century
David Warner brought up his century off just 130 balls. Photo: AAP
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David Warner has hit his first century of the Ashes series, and skipper Steve Smith hit another 50 as Australia took control of day one of the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.

After 77 over Australia was 3-218, with Smith on 51 and Shaun Marsh 19.

Earlier, Warner saluted the crowd after making his 21st Test century – 100 off 130 balls including 13 fours and a six – just one ball after being caught for 99 off a no-ball from debutant paceman Tom Curran.

A dejected Warner was halfway back to the dressing room when the big screen at the ground showed Curran had overstepped the mark, to the delight of the huge crowd.

Jimmy Anderson finally removed Warner, caught behind by Jonny Bairstow from the faintest of touches on 103 from 151 balls.

The opener raced to 83 runs from just 94 balls in the morning session after skipper Steve Smith won his first toss of the series.

The brilliant innings puts an end to a frustrating run for Warner, who has regularly made starts this summer without going on to reach three figures.

He has taken an uncharacteristically long time to warm into the series. He has made centuries in the first or second Test of the home summer in five of the past six years.

Warner joined Neil Harvey and David Boon as Australian batsmen with 21 Test centuries and also passed 6000 Test runs with the innings – the fourth-fastest Australian to do so, having achieved the feat in his 129th innings.

The MCG hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Warner in the past. The 31-year-old made just one century in 11 previous Test innings with an average of 36.20.

Warner brought up the 100-run partnership with Cameron Bancroft with a straight six off Moeen Ali’s last over before lunch.

Bancroft was pedestrian by comparison, scratching his way to 26 from 95 balls before he was trapped in front by Chris Woakes with 122 runs on the board.

ashes boxing day test warner century
Warner celebrates after a close call on 99. Photo: AAP

The second session belonged to England, as the visitors slowed the Australian scoring, taking two wickets for just 43 runs in the session after lunch.

First-drop Usman Khawaja managed just 10 not out by tea off 57 balls, with Smith at the other end on five not out at tea.

He was eventually out caught behind by Jonny Bairstow off Stuart Broad for 17.

Earlier, though, England skipper Joe Root had few answers to Warner’s aggression, rejigging his field and reacting as Warner thumped and finessed balls through the off side for four.

Within half an hour of play starting, Root had removed third slip because he wanted extra protection.

Shortly before lunch, Root had just one slip in place while spearhead Jimmy Anderson was bowling to Bancroft.

Moeen Ali, who passed a fitness test in the morning, delivered three overs of ineffectual offspin.

–with AAP