Since then Matthew Hayden has gone past the mark to compose the highest individual score by an Australian in Tests. Mark Taylor also famously declared the innings when he was on 334 versus Pakistan in 1998. Two more decades later, David Warner explored every nook and cranny of the picturesque Adelaide Oval ground to surpass Bradman’s coveted landmark against a beleaguered Pakistan side in the pink-ball Test. Warner also had the chance of breaking Brian Lara’s long-standing record, but Tim Paine decided to declare with a massive score of 589 for 3. At the dinner break, the visitors were 3/1, still trailing by a substantial 586.
The second session though would be all about Warner’s heroics. The enterprising batsman began the session on 261 and continued to ruthlessly dismantle the visiting side’s hapless attack. He drove Shaheen Afridi down the ground to signal his intent and the swept Yasir Shah to the boundary boards. Despite losing Steven Smith at the other end, Warner was unstoppable.
Warner didn’t show any nerves when he neared the glittering milestone. Eventually, he completed the landmark by clubbing a pull off Mohammad Abbas. He celebrated the triple century with Imran Tahir-like run and punched the air in sheer delight. Once he reached the mark, he went into top gear, launching Abbas for a four and six. When he went past Bradman’s 334, he looked set to cross Lara’s record, but Paine decided he had seen enough and opted to declare. Rain is forecast for tomorrow and that could have played a part in the decision. Mitchell Starc then dismissed Imam-ul-Haq to make it a perfect session for the hosts.
Earlier, Warner and his batting partner Marnus Labuschagne made their intentions clear at the start of the day by taking the aggressive route. Yasir Shah, the legspinner, came under severe punishment as the duo unleashed a string of shots – lofts, cuts and pulls. With runs coming thick and fast, Pakistan looked down and out and was in search of a spark of inspiration. At that stage, Afridi provided the breakthrough by castling Labuschagne with the in-seamer, bringing to an end the massive stand of 361. Just that Steven Smith joined hands with Warner to share another sizeable partnership.
Warner soon reached his double ton and continued to flay Pakistan’s clueless attack. He even showed swagger by nonchalantly ramping Muhammad Musa over the slip cordon. However, the Test debutant could have dismissed Warner, when he tempted the southpaw to slice at a fuller delivery to gully but paid the price for overstepping. Ecstasy followed by more agony. Incidentally, Musa has struggled with the problem of overstepping through the course of the Test. Warner and Smith then paddled through the good spell from Musa to take the side to the break.
The plight of Pakistan’s side can be capsulized by the point that Australia scored at almost five runs per over. Only Afridi was among the wickets. Meanwhile, Yasir, the main spinner, went for more than six runs per over and ended up with sorry figures of none for 197 from 32 overs.
Brief scores: Australia 589/3 decl. (David Warner 335*, Marnus Labuschagne 162; Shaheen Afridi 3-88) lead Pakistan 3/1 (Mitchell Starc 1-0) by 586 runs.