MELBOURNE, Australia (AFP) — David Warner battled through searing heat to hit an epic, unbeaten 200 in his 100th Test on Tuesday before retiring in pain as Australia consolidated their advantage against South Africa at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
On a scorching day the hosts were 386-3 at stumps on day two of the second Test, leading by 197 after the Proteas were dismissed in their first innings for 189.
Travis Head was not out for 48 with Alex Carey on nine.
Steve Smith (85) and Marnus Labuschagne (14) were the only wickets to fall. But worryingly for Australia, Cameron Green, who took 5-27 in South Africa's first innings, also retired hurt after a nasty rap on the finger from Anrich Nortje.
Smith and Warner's 239-run partnership took the game further away from South Africa whose bowlers toiled in temperatures touching 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 Fahrenheit).
Opener Warner, 36, snapped a near-three-year century drought in typically aggressive and gritty fashion, reaching three figures for a 25th time after coming into the game under pressure on a lean run.
It was his first Test hundred since January 2020; and as the opposition bowlers tired, he battled the elements and converted it to 200 for only the third time.
His wife Candice told host broadcaster Fox: "You'd think by now people would know writing David Warner off is the wrong thing to do."
But it was an exhausting effort, as he passed 8,000 Test runs en route.
Chairs had to be brought out for Warner and Smith to rest on in the drinks breaks, with towels draped over their heads and ice packs on their shoulders.
Warner needed treatment for cramp several times and retired in pain after reaching 200 and dropping to his knees, eventually helped from the field by support staff.
"The boys were cramping left, right and centre," Smith told reporters. "So, difficult [conditions] but nice to get us to the position where we are now. I think we're in a nice spot."
South Africa 1st innings 189 (M
Jansen 59, K Verreynne 52; C Green
5-27, M Starc 2-39)
Australia 1st innings 45-1 overnight (D
Warner 32, M Labuschagne 5)
D Warner retired hurt 200
U Khawaja c Verreynne b Rabada 1
M Labuschagne run out 14
S Smith c De Bruyn b Nortje 85
T Head not out 48
C Green retired hurt 6
A Carey not out 9
Extras (b5, lb12, nb5, w1) 23
Total (3 wickets, 91 overs) 386
Fall of wickets: 1-21 (Khawaja), 2-75
(Labuschagne), 3-314 (Smith), 3-329
(Warner - retired hurt), 3-363 (Green -
Still to bat: Pat Cummins, Mitchell
Starc, Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland
Bowling: Rabada 18-1-94-1, Ngidi
15.1-2-62-0, Jansen 16-1-56-0, Nortje
16-1-50-1, Maharaj 25.5-0-107-0
Umpires: Richard Kettleborough (ENG),
Paul Reiffel (AUS)
TV umpire: Chris Gaffaney (NZL)
Match referee: Richie Richardson