David Warner
David Warner

An unbeaten 91-run stand between David Warner and Phillip Hughes has left Australia well-placed at lunch on day two of the third Test against Sri Lanka at the SCG.

After dismissing the tourists for just 294 on the opening day, Warner (68) and Hughes (50) played with ominous intent to get Australia into a strong position, 1-127 at the break.

Opener Ed Cowan (four) was the only wicket to fall in the first session, when he was needlessly run out while coming back for a second.

But it was the only sour note for the hosts with Hughes and Warner taking apart the inexperienced Sri Lankan pace attack.

The New South Wales left-hander was in sublime touch and looked in total control as he smashed nine fours in a chanceless innings so far.

Hughes also looked comfortable on a near perfect SCG wicket and, like Warner, will fancy his chances of going on to register a big score on Friday afternoon.

With their three leading fast bowlers unavailable through injury, Sri Lanka's new-look pace attack struggled for consistency and came in for some heavy punishment.

Warner set the tone on the very first ball of the innings when he crunched Suranga Lakmal (0-37) for a boundary.

While Cowan was particularly watchful early, Warner seemed intent to score off every ball as he mixed some clever singles with several brilliant strokes.

The 26-year-old passed 1000 runs in Test cricket when he hit three consecutive fours off paceman Nuwan Pradeep (0-39) in the fourth over of the morning.

He and Cowan raced the score along to 36 before the latter was dismissed after a lazy piece of running.

Warner tucked a Dhammika Prasad (0-21) full toss wide of midwicket and set off quickly for the first run only for Cowan to hesitate turning for the second.

But Warner had already decided he was taking two, with Pradeep fielding and throwing to the non-striker's end where Cowan was well short of his ground.

The setback didn't slow the scoring rate though as Warner continued to punish anything short and wide and he brought up his 50 off just 37 balls when he smashed his eighth boundary.

Not to be outdone, Hughes outscored Warner in the partnership and brought up his own half-century in the over before lunch when he tucked Pradeep away for his sixth boundary off just 90 balls.

With the pitch in excellent condition for batting and perfect weather conditions in Sydney, the free-scoring pair look on course for big hundreds after lunch.

Another healthy crowd of more than 20,000 has packed into the SCG in the hope of seeing the retiring Michael Hussey bat, possibly for the final time in Test cricket, later in the afternoon.


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