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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

David Warner gets reprieve on 99 to score hundred in Ashes Melbourne Test as Australia take charge

Opener dismissed by debutant Tom Curran, but delivery was a no ball, allowing Warner to reach three figures as hosts scored 244-3 on Day 1

David Warner had a lucky escape on 99 on his way to reaching his century on Day 1 of the fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne. Scott Barbour / Getty Images
David Warner had a lucky escape on 99 on his way to reaching his century on Day 1 of the fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne. Scott Barbour / Getty Images

David Warner was handed a no-ball reprieve before posting a century to put Australia in a strong position over England on the opening day of the fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne on Tuesday.

Warner, who had been marooned in the 90s for over 40 minutes, looked poised on 99 to bring up his century as he faced the last ball of debutant Tom Curran's fifth over.

But Warner top-edged a catch to mid-on and walked off to the jubilation of the England team, only for replays to detect a no-ball for Curran overstepping and Warner was called back to the crease.

The next ball Warner raised his hundred with a flick off his hip and celebrated by leaping into the air and ripping off his helmet to salute the huge Boxing Day crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

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A frustrated Curran told BT Sport: "It was horrible. It was the worst feeling I've had. But, looking at the positives, I get to get my first wicket twice. Let's just hope the first one is soon.

"It was disappointing to bowl the no-ball, (on) other days things could have gone differently."

Australia have already reclaimed the Ashes after taking an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-Test series and are chasing a 5-0 whitewash over the beleaguered tourists.

They finished the day on 244-3, with captain Steve Smith unbeaten on 65 and Shaun Marsh on 31. Smith has already scored an unbeaten 141 in Brisbane and 239 in Perth during the series.

Warner didn't stay at the crease for much longer after his let-off, as he was caught behind off James Anderson for 103.

Warner faced 151 balls and hit 13 fours and a six off Moeen Ali in the over before lunch. It was also Anderson's 100th Ashes wicket.

In the process of scoring his century Warner brought up 6,000 runs in his 70th Test, making him the joint fourth-fastest Australian to do so behind Don Bradman, Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden and alongside Greg Chappell.

England also claimed the wicket of Cameron Bancroft in the middle session, leg before wicket for 26 facing Chris Woakes in the 35th over.

Bancroft shared in a 122-run opening stand and was the passive partner as Warner chased runs.

The only wicket to fall after tea was that of Usman Khawaja, who was caught behind by Jonny Bairstow off the bowling of Stuart Broad.

It was the first toss England captain Joe Root has failed to win in the series, and a potentially bad one to lose on a straw-coloured pitch under cloudless skies with a hard day in the field in the offing for England.

The Australian players were wearing black armbands in memory of Thomas Maggs, wicketkeeper Tim Paine's father-in-law, who passed away on Sunday.