David Warner hits first international century since ball-tampering ban
Warner top-scored as Australia posted 307 against Pakistan.
David Warner claimed his first international century since returning from a ball-tampering ban as Australia took control of their World Cup clash with Pakistan at Taunton.
The 32-year-old, who completed his 12-month suspension in time to return for the tournament, smashed 107 off 111 balls to help his side to 307 all out.
Australia captain Aaron Finch backed Warner to return to his “dangerous best” in the build up to the match and his faith was justified in style.
However, a late batting collapse saw the Baggy Greens lose their final six wickets for just 30 runs.
That dismal spell in the space of just seven overs, which saw Mohammad Amir finish with figures of five for 30, means Pakistan’s target for victory is far more realistic than it looked set to be.
Warner, who had been booed earlier in the competition for his role in the sandpaper scandal against South Africa in March 2018, produced 11 fours and a six and celebrated his ton by exuberantly punching the air.
His first-wicket partnership of 147 with captain Finch was also the highest of the competition.
Their impressive knock surpassed the 142-run stand between Bangladesh duo Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim in the victory over South Africa.
Following a World Cup record three games rained off in five days, the International Cricket Council would have been relieved to see dry, albeit cold and cloudy, conditions in Somerset.
Captain Finch, who bludgeoned six fours and four sixes en route to 82 off 84 balls, benefited from slices of fortune as he survived a dropped catch from Asif Ali at slip, in addition to a strong lbw appeal which went to review.
He was eventually out on the opening ball of the 23rd over after smashing Amir high and hard into the covers to leave Mohammad Hafeez with a straightforward catch.
Warner, meanwhile, efficiently edged towards his third 50 from four matches at this World Cup.
In similar fashion to Finch, he also escaped an lbw appeal and, later, another Asif fumble.
His resistance finally ended after slicing a Shaheen Afridi delivery high off a thick outside edge to deep point where he was caught by Imam-ul-Haq to leave Australia on 242 for four.
David Warner departs to Shaheen – a big swing finds the safe hands of Imam-ul-Haq.— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) June 12, 2019
Nonetheless, a brilliant display from Australia's left-handed opener. #CmonAussie#AUSvPAK LIVE 👇 https://t.co/eEmVwQQPYP pic.twitter.com/l4Iea0hB5B
Pakistan, following Friday’s washout against the West Indies, were back in action for the first time since upsetting hosts England nine days ago.
They wore black armbands following the recent deaths of former batsman Akhtar Sarfraz and Test umpire Riazuddin.
Amir began with a maiden after Pakistan won the toss and opted to bowl, before their momentum was stifled by the recalled Shaheen conceding 24 runs off two expensive overs.
After finally seeing off Finch, Steve Smith, who also served a year-long ban for his role in the ball tampering, managed just 10 before being the second man out as Asif partially redeemed himself with a catch at extra cover off Hafeez.
Smith goes!— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) June 12, 2019
The right-hander looks to smack it through the leg-side but edges it high into the off-side and Asif Ali takes the catch off the bowling of Mohammad Hafeez. #AUSvPAK LIVE 👇 https://t.co/eEmVwQQPYP pic.twitter.com/Dr0q7itrc5
Amir later made himself the highest wicket taker in the tournament as he ripped through Australia’s middle and lower order.
After having Usman Khawaja (18) and Shaun Marsh (23) caught by Wahab Riaz and Shoaib Malik respectively, he also trapped Alex Carey lbw, before tailender Mitchell Starc was the final man out, caught by Malik.
Nathan Coulter-Nile and Pat Cummins were also dismissed cheaply as the large contingent of Pakistan supporters were given plenty to cheer in the closing stages of the innings.