David Warner went past Virat Kohli's tally of hundreds    Getty Images
David Warner went past Virat Kohli’s tally of hundreds Getty Images

The spectators at Melbourne Cricket Ground were seen leaving the venue halfway through the opening day. Barring David Warner’s hundred off 130 balls, there was hardly any action that accelerated their pulses. There was nothing that represented Boxing Day. It instead was an exhibition of old-fashioned, run-choking that perhaps must have put a few to sleep. Otherwise, Tom Curran was the only player on the field to have played childlike. On a dry-as-a-desert track, he innovated with back-of-the-hand deliveries to lure the Australian batsmen into playing a glory shot to break the monotony of defensive cricket.

If you think Australia have outplayed England thus far, then the scorecard has fooled you. The pace quartet of James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Tom Curran, and Chris Woakes bowled exactly how they did not on their tour to India a year ago. Waokes darted one in to trap Cameron Bancroft in the crease. Anderson forced Warner into poking the one he had been leaving all day, also equalling Courtney Walsh’s tally of 519 Test wickets. Broad bowled the boring, outside-the-off-stump line to induce an edge off Usman Khawaja’s flashing blade. Curran would have made Warner his first Test victim had he not overstepped when the latter was on 99; otherwise, he was the gumptious of all. They conceded runs at 2.74.

Joe Root tried to fit in Moeen Ali in the bowling ammunition, but his 6 overs gave away 35 runs. Moeen’s round-arm action neither produced turn nor drift. Root had to take him off the attack.

Steven Smith, however, is unbeaten 0n 65. If that does not scare the Englishmen, then I do not know what will. He has already batted for 131 deliveries, and is, as you know, on the brink of producing a Smith-like innings (would Smith-esque sound cool?).

Shaun Marsh followed suit. An otherwise run-plundering batsman looked steady at the crease. The Australians perhaps want to bat until the Englishmen rest their hands on their knees. It has anyway gotten them a 3-0 scoreline. Root will have to do more than choking the runs. He has to conjure wickets if England are to inject some life into the match.

And let us come back to the star of the day.

Warner had a mere fifty in 5 Tests at Melbourne Cricket Ground until 2015. He smashed a spectacular 144 against Pakistan exactly a year. He followed it with 103 today, including 13 fours and a six. While grinding England into the MCG turf, he went past Virat Kohli’s tally of 20 hundreds and also became the fourth Australian to 6,000 runs. That customary punch in the air to celebrate the three-figure mark remains the highlight of the day.

Brief scores:

Australia 244 for 3 (David Warner 103, Steven Smith 65*; James Anderson 1 for 43) vs England.

Full scorecard