Ashes 2017-18, 4th Test Day 1, Review: Australia on top as Warner and Smith shine with the bat

David Warner scored a magnificent century to make the Boxing Day Test a memorable one.

Steve Smith Australia |
Steve Smith of Australia celebrates his half-century. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Freelancer Writer

View : 224

2 Min Read

Get every cricket updates! Follow us on

The Boxing Day Test at the MCG is always a wonderful occasion in the Australian summer as fans turn up in huge numbers and the stands are packed which is a rarity in Test match cricket these days. Today was no different as more than 80,000 spectators were in attendance to watch Australia and England go head-to-head for the 4th time in the ongoing Ashes series and it was the hosts again who walked away with the honours at the end of the first day’s play.

Winning the toss and batting first, David Warner got Australia off to an explosive start. The Australian vice-captain who hadn’t had a great time in the series prior to this played his natural game and went for the shots right from the outset. His punches on the back foot through the off side and also the horizontal bat shots in the backward of square region were an absolute treat to watch. His partner Cameron Bancroft, at the other hand, was struggling a little but the rate at which Warner was getting the runs, there was no pressure whatsoever on Bancroft as he was trying to ease himself into his innings.

Australia went past the 100-run mark in the first session itself and it seemed as if the English bowlers were in for another hammering through the day, but the nature of the game changed after lunch as the ball started holding onto the surface once it lost shine. It was not a normal fast MCG wicket, it was a tad sluggish and got harder and harder to time the ball for the batsmen as the day progressed.

The English bowlers bowled tight lines as well and the runs dried up from both ends. Chris Woakes removed Bancroft who hung back to a full delivery and was caught on the crease. It was an easy call for the umpire as the right-hander was right in front of the wickets when the ball hit his pads.

Warner was not getting his boundaries away either as England bowled with a 7-2 field to him with 7 fielders on the off side and 2 on the on. Trying to manufacture something out of nothing, the 31-year-old attempted to work a middle stump delivery which was pitched slightly back of length through the leg side and misread the bounce to top-edge it only to be holed out at mid-on off the bowling of Tom Curran at the score of 99. It however turned out to be a no ball later and the dashing opener completed his hundred on the very next ball to add insult to injury of the visitors.

Warner couldn’t stick around for much longer though as Jimmy Anderson came up with the second breakthrough soon. The veteran fast bowler nicked Warner off who misjudged the bounce again and ended up edging it behind the wicket to Jonny Bairstow. Khawaja was also taken care of in the same fashion a few overs later by Stuart Broad as the Kangaroos were reduced to 3 for 160.

Australia needed a partnership there and the skipper Steve Smith who is in the form of his life at the moment came to the rescue for the umpteenth time as he batted as solid as ever and stitched an 84-run unbeaten partnership with Shaun Marsh for the 4th wicket to guide Australia to a rather comfortable position at stumps.

Brief Scores:

Australia: 244/3 (David Warner 103, Steve Smith 65; Stuart Broad 41/1)