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Black Friday for Indian cricketers as Australians take control

updated 7:54 AM EST, Fri January 13, 2012
Australia batsman David Warner celebrates his century on the opening day of the third Test in Perth.
Australia batsman David Warner celebrates his century on the opening day of the third Test in Perth.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Australia take control on opening day of the third Test against India in Perth
  • Tourists collapse to 161 in first innings before Australia reach 149-0 at stumps
  • Opening batsman David Warner matches the fourth-fastest century in Test history
  • WACA ground curator defends his staff over pre-match drinking on pitch

(CNN) -- India's cricket tour of Australia lurched to new lows on Friday, which proved to be unlucky January 13.

The visitors slumped to a disappointing 161 all out in Perth and then saw David Warner smash the fourth fastest century in Test history as Australia reached 149-0 at stumps on day one.

Down 2-0 in the four-match series, the second-ranked Indians went into the third encounter with doubts about the pitch at the WACA after ground staff were filmed on Thursday night drinking beer and walking on the playing surface in bare feet.

Curator Cameron Sutherland defended his employees on national radio. They traditionally have pre-match drinks under the scoreboard, but this time followed Sutherland out to the middle for his final check.

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"We were working on it ... up until the toss of the coin we can do anything we want to the wicket," he told ABC Grandstand, revealing that Cricket Australia and WACA chief executive Graeme Wood had questioned him about the situation.

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"We were there for an hour. So, the thing that Cricket Australia and certainly the WACA have done is got all the facts and said, 'That's a legitimate reason for you being out there, it's not as though you were just sitting on the wicket drinking beer for two hours.' "

The Perth pitch had been described as a "Green Monster" by local media earlier this week, and India's formidable batting line-up performed -- once again this series -- with a timidity far below their stature.

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Ben Hilfenhaus claimed four wickets and fellow fast bowler Peter Siddle took three, while 21-year-old Mitchell Starc celebrated his third Test call-up -- and first of this series -- with figures of 2-39.

Ryan Harris snared just one scalp in his first outing since November, but it was a key one as cricket's record run scorer Sachin Tendulkar was trapped leg before wicket for 15 to leave the 38-year-old "Little Master" still seeking his record 100th international century.

Virat Kohli top-scored with 44, adding 68 for the fifth wicket with VVS Laxman (31) before both fell to Siddle.

We were working on it ... up until the toss of the coin we can do anything we want to the wicket
Cameron Sutherland

If India's batsmen found it hard against the four-man pace attack, the bowlers received a fearful pummeling from Warner.

Finding his feet in the five-day game after being initially introduced as a limited-overs specialist, the left-hander smashed 104 from 80 balls, hitting 13 boundaries and three sixes as he raced to his second century.

Warner shrugged off a blow to the head from a delivery by Umesh Yadav to pass three figures in 69 balls faced, reaching the milestone with a clubbed six off debutant medium pacer Vinay Kumar.

It matched Shivnarine Chanderpaul's effort for the West Indies against Australia in 2003, and is the second-fastest at the WACA behind compatriot Adam Gilchrist's 57-ball effort against England in 2006.

West Indian legend Viv Richards holds the record for his 56-ball blast against England in 1986.

At the other end to Warner, Ed Cowan contributed a relatively sedate 40 off 58 deliveries as the openers rattled along at a rate of 6.47 runs per over.

Kumar went for 31 off his four overs, and Yadav conceded 42 from six.

The experienced Zaheer Kahan and Ishant Sharma also suffered, giving up 44 from seven and 28 from five respectively.

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