Perth: David Warner blasted a 69-ball century to steer Australia to 149 without loss at stumps on the first day of the third Test against India in Perth, trailing by only 12 runs. Warner scored the joint-fourth fastest century in history of Test cricket with a massive six off the bowling of the debutant Vinay Kumar.
Warner was well supported by fellow opener Ed Cowan who was not out on 40 as the Indian bowlers looked helpless on a day when their team's batting line-up failed miserably. It was Warner's second Test ton and included 13 scintillating boundaries and three huge sixes. He and Cowan raced to a century stand for the first wicket in just 84 balls, with Warner's fifty coming up off 36 balls with the help of six fours and a six. The rest of the evening session did not get better for India who conceded runs at 6.77 an over.
Earlier, India's batsmen produced another awful first-innings display as they were dismissed for just 161 by Australia's quicks shortly after tea. Not a single Indian batsman managed to get a half-century as Ben Hilfenhaus was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets and Peter Siddle along with young Mitchell Starc picked three wickets each to destroy India's batting line-up.
With the WACA wicket sporting a green pitch and both teams going for all-pace attacks, luck was on Australia's side as skipper Michael Clarke won the toss and opted to bowl first. His bowlers backed him up nicely from the word go by removing Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid in the first half hour.
Sehwag went cheaply in the fourth over for a duck as he gently pushed a Hilfenhas outswinger to Ricky Ponting at third slip. India slipped to 32 for 2 when Dravid was bowled for the fourth time in the series. Sachin Tendulkar was looking in great touch until he played all around a delivery from Ryan Harris and was trapped lbw for 15 while Gautam Gambhir was caught behind just before the break for an 82-ball 31.
Virat Kohli and VVS Laxman shared a 68-run stand to settle some nerves in the dressing room, but it all went downhill after they were removed in quick succession by Siddle before tea.
India, who also chose to go with four quicks, handed Vinay his debut in place of spinner R Ashwin in an otherwise unchanged side from the first two Tests. Ashwin's batting was sorely missed after tea when Vinay (5) gave Starc his first wicket of the day and his captain MS Dhoni followied him to pavilion soon afterwards, caught in the slips off Hilfenhaus for 12. Zaheer Khan (2) was Hilfenhaus's fourth victim before Starc mopping up the final wicket when he had Ishant Sharma caught behind for three.
Already 2-0 down in the four-match series after heavy defeats in Melbourne and Sydney, India need a much better showing to get themselves back into the series.