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Warner, Smith steer Australia to 244 for three on day one

David Warner celebrating his century in the opening day of the Boxing Day Test
David Warner celebrating his century in the opening day of the Boxing Day Test

Australia 244-3 (Warner 103) v England
Fourth Test, Melbourne, day one

David Warner scored a fluent century while Steven Smith remained unbeaten on 65 as Australia reached 244 for three at stumps on day one of the fourth Test against England in Melbourne.

The Boxing Day Test kicked off with each team making a forced change. Tom Curran replaced Craig Overton for England while Jackson Bird was drafted in the place of Mitchell Starc.

Australia won the toss and decided to bat first. A cautious approach from the Australian openers Warner (103) and Cameron Bancroft (26) saw them score just 37 runs in the first hour of play.

Warner though was aggressive, Bancroft managed just seven runs from the first 39 deliveries he faced. The pitch was conducive for batting and the bright and sunny conditions made things even tougher for the England bowlers.

The 50-run partnership between the duo came in the 17th over with Warner scoring 39 out of it and the Australian vice-captain even reached his half-century off 64 deliveries.

Warner continued to dominate the proceedings and smashed a six in the final over before lunch to bring the 100-run stand with Bancroft, who scored just 19 runs in it.

The duo started the second session with a boundary apiece in the first two overs and England finally got some relief as Chris Woakes (1-60) trapped Bancroft LBW, ending the 122-run opening stand. Warner became the fourth fastest Australian to notch 6,000 runs in Test cricket.

However, he had a big reprieve when he was caught at mid on in the 42nd over but Tom Curran (0-44) overstepped. Warner was on 99 at that stage and he soon reached the milestone - his 21st ton in Test cricket.

Warner's 151-ball knock finally came to an end when James Anderson (1-43) had him caught behind and Australia ended the session with a score of 145 for two - scoring under three an over despite Warner's brilliance.

In an eventful 58th over, Stuart Broad (1-41) had Usman Khawaja (17) caught behind and a delivery later Shaun Marsh (31 not out) survived a review from England for LBW.

Marsh and Smith (65 not out) continued to press on and denied any advantage to the English bowlers in the final session with their unbeaten 84 run stand for the fourth wicket with the Aussie skipper even completing his 2nnd Test fifty.

Australia ended the day with a score of 244 for three in the 89 overs of play possible on day one. Anderson, Broad and Woakes shared a wicket apiece for England while Moeen Ali (0-35) had another tough outing after conceding 35 runs off the six overs he bowled.

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