David Warner went from milestone to milestone in the second and third sessions to take off the MCG not once but twice to achieve a glorious double century on the second day of Boxing Day testing . After an emotional celebration after 254 to 200 balls (16 fours and two sixes), Warner had to be helped off the field due to cramps and a retired injury. That being said, South Africa managed just two wickets as Australia finished by a margin of 197, in a brutal day on the field. Australia’s only setback in an otherwise thoroughly dominant day was Cameron Green’s injury to his finger in the final session, forcing him to retire with an injury as well.
Warner grabbed the game by the neck on Day 2, leaving behind all the cowardly energy they fought at the end of Day 1. He beat Kagiso Labada earlier in the day and scored a point after placing a marker of what was coming from the left hand. The first of his two wickets chosen by South Africa was a fluke. Warner and Marnus Rabshagne did not communicate well due to an extra run in between in the fall. Even when Warner hesitated after covering his two of his thirds of the pitch on his second try, Labuchagne made the impossible sprint, costing him a wicket. From there he carried the hosts on his broad shoulders in Australia’s opener to ensure the sacrifices were not in vain.
While behind his wheel, he also had Steve Smith in the company. He also thwarted a bowling attack that was tired in the heat. Keshav Maharaj served as a much-needed replacement while Quicks rested, but that was the only cushion the spinners could offer as Australia’s third pair of wickets looked unbreakable.
In the course of that stand, Warner played an opponent’s bowling spell from Norce, becoming the 10th player in the world to hit a century in his 100th Test appearance. Bowling on the other side was no respite for South Africa either, as Steve Smith also took to the stands in the second session. The duo continued to add to his 156 unbeaten tally. This was his fifth partnership of over 100 and gave Australia his one-inning lead to tee his break.
Smith and Warner continued to level an already deflated South Africa early in the final session, scoring 64 runs in the first eight overs shared by Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Labada and Keshab Maharaj. Dean Elgar set his sights on Norce, the most enthusiastic bowler of the day. Norce was consistently hitting speeds in excess of 140-145 km/h in difficult climates. After 16 run overs in front of Maharajji, who entered the 190s with Warner batting 4 and 6, Norce ended the partnership. Smith was en route to his 30th Test 100, but an easy shot on a short ball from Norce found Teunisde his Bruin in the gully.
Accompanied by Travis his head, Warner celebrated his second century in signature his style and left the field due to a cramp that had plagued him since the second session. Heads, accompanied by Cameron Green, did not allow that phase of the game to be a turning point for South Africa as they quickly felt limited against Ngidi and Maharaj.
Head also followed his left arm as Elgar picked up the new ball and threw it to Marco Jansen – flicking a foot side ball on six and driving another through mid-wicket on four. Nortje maneuvered with a new ball from the other side and a short ball from him hit the green flash in the right glove causing a lot of discomfort. After a physiotherapist’s check, Green walked away with a bleeding finger on his right hand, and after an injury in Stark’s first session prevented him from bowling again in that game, Australian bowling drained his resources. I used up more.
Heads kept the pace against South Africa’s misfired bowling attack, accompanied by another new batsman, Alex Carey, to close out the day with a Run-A-Ball 48 to push the hosts to 386/3.
Australia 386/3 (David Warner 200 retired injured, Steve Smith 85; Anrich Nortje 1-50) lead South Africa 189 (Marco Jansen 59, Kyle Verreynne 52; Cameron Green 5-27, Mitchell Starc 2-13) by 197 runs.