David Warner smashed the second fastest half-century in Test history to give Australia a flying start in their quest for quick runs and a declaration on the fourth day of the third Test against Pakistan in Sydney on Friday (January 6).
By tea at Sydney Cricket Ground, Australia had stretched their lead to 340 runs at 117 for 1, with Usman Khawaja on 30 and Steven Smith 25. This, after Australia had bowled out Pakistan for 315 – powered by Younis Khan’s unbeaten 175 – for a 223-run lead but opted not to enforce the follow-on.
Khawaja opened because Matt Renshaw, the first-innings century maker, left the field after being struck on the helmet at short leg and was ruled out of the match after being assessed for concussion.
Warner hit Yasir Khan for six, six, four and four in the fourth over of the innings, and then clouted Imran Khan for four consecutive boundaries in the seventh over. His frenetic half-century came off 23 balls with seven fours and three sixes, and ranked only behind Misbah-ul-Haq’s effort off 21 balls against Australia in Abu Dhabi in 2014.
But Warner fell when he missed in a lusty swing and was bowled by Wahab Riaz for 55 off 27 balls.
Earlier, Younis Khan was left unconquered as Pakistan lost their last two wickets in an hour’s play post-lunch after rain washed out the first session.
Younis was dropped on 141 by Matthew Wade, who got his right glove to the chance but could not cling on, much to bowler Mitchell Starc’s annoyance. Wade was forced off during Thursday’s play with a stomach illness but returned to the game on Friday, as Peter Handscomb kept wickets in his absence.
Yasir gave Smith his ninth catch of the series when he was picked up in the slips off Josh Hazlewood for 10 before Imran was bowled two balls later for a duck.
Younis remained unbeaten off 334 balls with 18 fours and three sixes, and was given a big ovation from the SCG crowd as he left the ground after his 34th Test century.
Smith, however, sought to give his bowlers a rest and let his batsmen put more wear into the SCG pitch for a fourth-innings push for victory and a 3-0 series sweep over the concluding sessions of play.
Hazlewood finished with 4 for 55 and Nathan Lyon captured 3 for 115.
Mohammad Amir did not return to the field for Pakistan in Australia’s second innings after going for a scan for a possible side strain.