David Warner was the man of the match at the Gabba in Brisbane with two smashing centuries. And, while that was an extremely ominous sign for the New Zealanders going into the must-win Test at Perth, they may have silently felt a sense of relief, hoping that perhaps they have already seen the best of Warner. However, if that was their thought process going into Perth, the visitors were in for a rude awakening. Gabba was only a trailer of what was to follow. At Perth, Warner went one step ahead, cracking a double hundred.
Having won the toss and having decided to bat first, Australia made maximum use of the opportunity, with the ball coming on to the bat at a swift pace, and going off the blade at an equal pace. Australia ended the day on a mammoth 416 for 2, with New Zealand being battered for the entire duration of 90 overs. Warner finished the day unbeaten on 244 from 272 balls, with 22 fours and 2 sixes. He featured in a third consecutive hundred-run stand with Joe Burns (40), and a 302-run alliance with Usman Khawaja, who blasted another ton.
Australia finished the day having scored at a rate of 4.62, an indication of their extreme domination. Both Trent Boult and Tim Southee, who recovered and was available to bowl, struggled yet again. Neither managed any wicket on the day, Boult conceding close to a run-a-ball in his 17-over spell, while Southee gave away 73 in his 19, which included the only maiden over of the day. Doug Bracewell was the most impressive of the trio, and was rewarded with the wicket of a tiring Khawaja. But, Mark Craig again found the going tough, and went at a rate of 5.5 in his 14 overs.
It was difficult to fathom whether Australia’s batsmen were exceptional or if the Kiwi bowlers were terribly bad. The scoreboard indicated a mix of both. With nothing happening for his team, Brendon McCullum brought himself on to bowl. The move helped Warner ease his way towards a maiden Test double hundred, not that the others had made life tougher for him. The magical moment came when Warner picked a single off another part-timer, Martin Guptill. During the course of his innings, Warner also crossed 4000 Test runs, becoming the fourth fastest Aussie to do so.
While Warner scored all round the WACA, an impressive percentage of his runs came through the off side as he drove and cut with ease. His running between the wickets was also commendable considering he batted all day long. At the other end, Khawaja continued to bat with complete freedom to reach his second century in consecutive Tests, off 132 balls. He was lucky on 38, when he edged Craig behind the wickets, but was given not out. New Zealand did not review, and the carnage continued. It was that kind of day for New Zealand, worse that the opening day at Gabba, which was pretty bad in itself. That says something.
--By A Cricket Correspondent