November 22, 2019 / 2:22 AM / 19 days ago

Cricket-Warner hits half century as Australia cruise to lunch

SYDNEY, Nov 22 (Reuters) - David Warner scored his second half century in 11 innings since returning from a 12-month ban as Australia reached lunch on 100 without loss on the second day of the opening test against Pakistan in Brisbane on Friday.

The 33-year-old opener, who struggled for runs in England earlier this year on his return from the suspension for his part in the 2018 ball-tampering scandal, looked back to his best as the hosts cut deep into Pakistan’s first innings tally of 240.

His opening partner Joe Burns was unbeaten on 41 at the break after he overcame a nervous start to also pillage runs from an inexperienced Pakistan pace attack featuring 16-year-old Naseem Shah and 19-year-old Shaheen Afridi.

Schoolboy Naseem showed why he had been awarded his first test cap at such a tender age as he bowled consistently above 140 kilometres per hour (87 mph) in his six overs, which cost 24 runs.

One lively bouncer was the closest he came to undoing Warner, however, and the former Australia vice-captain batted with intent as he cruised towards 31st test half century, which he brought up 10 minutes before lunch with a single off Naseem.

A muted celebrated suggested that a 22nd test century was Warner’s real target under sunny skies on a good batting track at the Gabba. He reached lunch on 52 not out with four boundaries.

Pakistan also reached the first break without the loss of a wicket on day one but their openers managed only 57 runs in that session and were both gone before tea as Australia’s quicks fired up to dismiss the tourists before the close of play. (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford)

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