David Warner smashed a maiden double century and Usman Khawaja reached three figures as Australia again ripped New Zealand’s attack to shreds in Perth today.
New Zealand were only able to muster one success in the first 86 overs of the second Test, Joe Burns falling for 40, as Warner (244 not out) and Khawaja (121) put on 302 for the second wicket to help Australia to 416 for 2 by stumps at the WACA.
During his almost effortless knock, Warner became the first Australian player to score centuries in three successive innings on two occasions –– he piled up 163 and 116 in the first Test in Brisbane where Australia ran out easy winners.
Warner looked comfortable from the outset, helped by some wayward bowling from New Zealand’s opening bowlers Tim Southee and Trent Boult, the latter going for almost six runs an over on day one.
Burns, also a centurion at the Gabba, looked to be in good nick in the first hour as he hit seven fours on his way to 40.
But the 73rd ball of his innings proved to be his last as Matt Henry struck for what proved to be the last wicket for 258 minutes, an inside edge off a new bat Burns had just changed to disturbing the bails.
Khawaja was Australia’s third century maker in Brisbane but his innings was not without the odd bit of luck, wicket-keeper BJ Watling dropping the left-hander when he was on only 23.
He escaped again on 36 when New Zealand were left to rue losing their reviews on earlier LBW shouts against Warner, umpire Nigel Llong turning down an appeal for caught behind off the bowling of Mark Craig –– replays showed a clear edge on Khawaja’s attempted late cut.
Khawaja made the most of his chances to pass 50, hitting Craig for a six and a four in the same over to rub it in, and soon after Warner passed 100 for the 15th time in his career.
A series of bowling changes by New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum did nothing to stem the scoring rate, although Khawaja had a third escape on 62 when Doug Bracewell misjudged where the boundary was as he attempted a catch in the outfield, giving the batsman another six runs instead.
Things got even worse for New Zealand after tea as Warner started to further increase his scoring rate, welcoming Boult back into the attack with a massive six over mid-off.
Khawaja moved to three figures in style with a four off Henry, but it was Warner who continued to produce most of the fireworks against a bowling attack that appeared completely devoid of energy –– McCullum used eight bowlers and even turned his arm over for a couple of overs himself, going for 16 runs.
Warner smashed McCullum for a six, and in the next over made it to 200 for the first time in his career off the 236th ball of his innings.
He plundered three boundaries in the next over from Boult and had just celebrated a 300-run partnership with Khawaja when his partner’s vigil came to an end on 121, Tom Latham taking a good low catch off the bowling of Doug Bracewell.
Australia captain Steve Smith waited until his second ball to smash Bracewell for a sublime four through midwicket and on 220 Warner moved past Matthew Slater for the second best Test score in Perth, although he still has some way to go to catch Matthew Hayden’s Australia record of 380 which was also set at the WACA.
But he was able to make it through to the end of play, to give himself a hope of perhaps challenging that record on Saturday, when he will start the day on 244 after already setting a landmark for the top score on a single day by an Australian batsman.