David Warner smashed a maiden double century as he and Usman Khawaja blasted Australia to 416-2 against New Zealand for the highest first-day total in test history at the WACA Ground on Friday.
They came together at 101-1 before the lunch break, and combined for 302 runs against a hapless and luckless New Zealand attack in hot conditions. Their platform put Australia in a great position to push for a series win here.
Their record stand, lasting just over four hours, ended when Khawaja was out for 121 four overs before stumps, caught at point.
Warner was unbeaten on 244, improving on his previous highest of 180 against India at the WACA in 2012.
Skipper Steve Smith was 5 not out.
The total eclipsed the previous highest first-day score of 389-2 that Warner and Khawaja contributed to in the first test in Brisbane just eight days ago.
Khawaja, who scored 174 in Brisbane, paid tribute to Warner for showing maturity during difficult phases of the day when the left-hander grafted.
“He probably wouldn’t do that three years ago,” said Khawaja, who grew up with Warner. “He knows he’s got the explosiveness up there with the best cricketers in the world. He doesn’t have to always use it. He’s learned that now. He picks and chooses when to use it.”
Khawaja expected Warner to reach 300 on Saturday on a WACA pitch that was a lot slower than usual.
“Davey batted amazingly,” he said. “It’s only something him and a few others can do. It was great to have the front row seat to watch Davey smacking them everywhere.”
It was evident from the outset that the once notoriously fast pitch was not going to live up to expectations, as Warner set the order of the day with two boundaries off the first two balls he faced.
In all, the opener hit two sixes and 22 fours off 272 balls as he batted out the day, 289 minutes in all.
Fresh from twin hundreds – 129 and 116 – in the 208-run win in the first test in Brisbane, Warner carried on tormenting the New Zealand bowlers with his 15th test century, and third in a row.
It was Warner’s fourth century against New Zealand in as many outings, with his first – 123 not out – dating to December 2011 in his second test. It was also the second time in his career he has scored three back-to-back hundreds.
Warner has so far amassed 523 runs in his three innings in this series at an average of 261.5.
During the course of his 84th innings in his 45th test, Warner completed 4,000 test runs, the fourth fastest by an Australian.
While Warner and Joe Burns (40) shared their third century stand of the series, it was Warner’s fifth successive century opening stand, having shared two others with the now retired Chris Rogers during the Ashes defeat in England in mid-year.
Warner’s innings completely overshadowed Khawaja’s second test century of the series. While Warner hit the ball with brute force, Khawaja batted with style and elegance as he caressed the ball to all parts of the vast and fast outfield.
Khawaja survived two dropped chances, and hit two sixes and 11 fours off 186 balls. He was finally caught at point by Tom Latham off the bowling of Doug Bracewell.
But Warner made batting look easy.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum threw down a couple of overs among eight bowlers used to try and break up Warner and Khawaja, and they were left to rue some missed opportunities, and using up their decision reviews.
Australia named an unchanged team for the test, while New Zealand replaced injured allrounder James Neesham with Matt Henry. Tim Southee, who struggled in the first test with a bad back, passed a late fitness test to spearhead the New Zealand attack which, once again, looked pedestrian.
Australia (1st innings): 416 for 2 in 90 overs (David Warner 244 not out, Usman Khawaja 121, Joe Burns 40; Matt Henry 1/75, Doug Bracewell 1/57) vs New Zealand.