ADELAIDE, Australia (AFP) – Australia’s David Warner dedicated his stirring century to tragic team-mate Phillip Hughes Tuesday as emotions over the batsman’s death dominated the delayed first Test against India.
Warner’s determined 145 off 163 balls, studded with glances to the heavens, was the mainstay of Australia’s innings as they reached 354 for six at the end of day one at Adelaide.
But on a day of tributes to Hughes, killed in a freak batting accident, there was also concern when skipper Michael Clarke retired hurt with a back problem. Clarke, 33, who had to pass a fitness test on a hamstring problem before playing, left the ground for further assessment of his long-standing lower back complaint.
Pre-game tributes to Hughes included 63 seconds of applause, representing his score when he was fatally struck in the head by a short-pitched ball on November 25.
When the first Test, moved from its December 4 start in Brisbane as Australia mourned, finally got underway, the positive Warner hit a first-ball boundary and remained upbeat, reaching his 10th Test hundred off just 106 balls.
In a poignant moment Warner, one of the first to rush to Hughes when he was struck down in Sydney, embraced batting partner Clarke in a long mid-pitch hug as the opener reached his fifth century this year.