DAVID WARNER blasted a 69-ball hundred, the fastest by an opener in Test history, as Australia reached 0-149 at stumps after bowling India out for 161 in the third Test in Perth.
In a sensational opening day’s play in front of 17,956 fans, Australia won the toss and the home side’s all-pace attack made good use of humid conditions on a bouncy WACA pitch.
Already demoralised by their poor batting effort, India’s morale took a further hit as pocket-rocket Warner reached his century in explosive fashion with a six over long on to achieve the equal fourth-fastest hundred in Test history.
Warner, who was struck on the left ear on 80 and admitted he was shaken up, rested on his knees for several minutes before resuming his innings with two consecutive boundaries.
Warner was unbeaten on 104 at stumps.
The 25-year-old’s second century in his fifth Test included 13 fours and three sixes.
Warner evoked memories of Australia’s Adam Gilchrist, who clubbed a 57-ball hundred in a Perth Ashes Test five years ago, falling one shy of the record held by West Indies great Viv Richards.
Ed Cowan was 40 not out and shared an emotional hug with Warner when the nuggety left-hander reached his ton.
India’s 161 is the fourth-lowest score in the first innings of a Perth Test.
Swing specialist Ben Hilfenhaus (4-43) and Peter Siddle (3-42) led the bowling for Australia who knocked over the tourists in just 60.2 overs.
Hilfenhaus has made a triumphant return after a year out of Test cricket with 19 wickets at 16.52 in the current series.
The visitors had staggered to lunch at 4-73.
Hilfenhaus had the ball swinging around in humid conditions as he removed openers Virender Sehwag (0) and Gautam Gambhir (31).
Rahul Dravid (nine) was out bowled for the fourth time in three Tests after the 39-year-old inside-edged a ball from Siddle onto his pads and stumps.
Ryan Harris, in his first Test for two months after overcoming a hip injury, claimed Sachin Tendulkar lbw for 15. Tendulkar’s 100th international hundred continues to elude the 38-year-old superstar on this Australian tour.
Virat Kohli (44) and VVS Laxman (31) added 68 for the fifth wicket.
Siddle removed both, triggering a collapse of 6-30.
Australia recalled Harris and Mitchell Starc (2-39) for spinner Nathan Lyon and injured quick James Pattinson.
India promoted debutant quick Vinay Kumar for struggling slow bowler Ravi Ashwin. It’s the first time India have chosen an all-pace bowling line-up since 1992.
Australia lead the four-match series 2-0.
Warner said he was fired up by some on-field banter from Kohli and Ishant Sharma who had suggested the Aussie batsmen were dining out on their home conditions but would find things tougher in India.
“Virat was saying to us ‘you can talk about your averages and this and that but when we go to India it’s going to be a different story’,” Warner said.
“No one said anything in the last two games. A lot of teams know with myself and Ed, if you start having a go at us we actually enjoy that.
“We love a little contest out there and we love to grind it back in their faces and that’s what we’ve done today.”