Adelaide - Australia's David Warner dedicated his stirring century to former
team-mate Phillip Hughes on Tuesday as emotions over the batsman's death
poured forth at 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.
But shortly afterwards Clarke retired hurt on 60, raising fresh doubts about his immediate playing future.
Warner looked annoyed after he holed out in the deep off debutant
Test leg-spinner Karn Sharma for his 145, with 19 boundaries, in the
"There was a lot of adrenalin going through my head and I knew the
little man (Hughes) up there was with me at the other end and you know,
it all fell into place," Warner said.
"That was definitely for him today. He was there when I scored my
first hundred -- he was at the other end -- and I dedicate that 100 to
"It was an emotional week for all of us he would be proud of us today."
Australia, who won the toss, lost some late wickets and reached the
close at 354 for six with Steve Smith leading the way on an unbeaten 72.
Brad Haddin was out for a duck in the day's final over.
Warner was at his pugnacious best, plundering 37 runs off his first
20 balls and giving his grieving team-mates a heartening start.
There was an uplifting moment when Warner looked to the heavens on
reaching 63 and the crowd responded with sustained applause, a scene
that was repeated when Smith reached the same score late in the day.
Clarke was also given a huge ovation as he came to the wicket, an
acknowledgement of his leading role in the days after Hughes's death, in
which he read a tearful tribute at the funeral and was one of the
But it didn't end well for the captain, who called for the trainer after
experiencing lower back problems and trudged off hurt with a fluent 60
off 84 balls.
Mitchell Marsh put on 87 runs for the fourth wicket with Smith but he
speared a rearing Varun Aaron delivery to Virat Kohli at fourth slip
for 41 in the final overs of the day.
Nathan Lyon, sent in as a nightwatchman, was bowled by Mohammed Shami for three with 12 balls left.
Australia lost two wickets in the morning session.
Chris Rogers was dismissed in the eighth over for nine off 22 balls
when Ishant Sharma coaxed an edge to Shikhar Dhawan at second slip.
Watson followed in the 19th over, giving Dhawan his second catch in
the slips off Aaron and making way for Clarke to come to the wicket.
There were tributes to Hughes before the game got underway with
players and fans standing and applauding in unison for a symbolic 63
The Australian and Indian teams, both sporting black arm bands, lined
up in respect for the well-liked batsman. The home side wore Hughes's
408 Test cap number on their shirts.
Prominent broadcaster and former Australia captain Richie Benaud also
narrated an eye-moistening video shown on the ground's big screen,
finishing with the words: "Forever, rest in peace, son."