England’s tenacity brought scant reward as centurion David Warner and his Australia captain Steve Smith carried the opening day of the fourth Test.
Joe Root’s tourists, in this case debutant Tom Curran, arguably contributed to their own problems with an overstep which granted Warner (103) a moment of outrageous fortune on 99 when he was reprieved after being caught at mid-on.
But they had done much to stifle the free-scoring opener, and then did not fade away as they might after Curran’s no-ball in front of a partisan Boxing Day crowd of 88,000 plus at the MCG – James Anderson bagging the left-hander as his 100th Ashes victim in a total of 244 for three which included the staple half-century from Smith (65no).
Tweet of the day
Promise from Curran
Tom Curran impressed on his England Test debut in Melbourne (Jason O´Brien/PA)
There did not exactly seem to be a fanfare of universal approval for Tom Curran’s debut. Another right-arm fast-medium bowler did not really do it for the majority of pundits, after others’ struggles on this tour. Curran paid for his overstep against Warner, and his maiden Test wicket had to wait, but even so he was the pick of England’s attack on day one.
Shot of the day
Warner’s first four, barely pushed past mid-off with an apparently defensive bat off Stuart Broad, sped away and set the tone for an innings played a level above anyone else’s on day one.
Sledging back for Christmas
The verbals took a week off in Perth, it seemed. But after Warner celebrated his century here, England appeared to let him know what they thought of his good fortune – and the combative opener, predictably, did not cut an especially shy or retiring figure in response to Jonny Bairstow in particular.
Stat of the day
100 – Curran’s loss proved to be James Anderson’s gain as he instead bagged the wicket of Warner to take his Ashes tally to three-figures and move up in the all-time global list against all nations to joint-fifth alongside Courtney Walsh on 519.
England will have to keep digging deep to steer clear of whitewash territory.
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