Australia's David Warner takes the fight to Pakistan with battling half-century

Batsman’s keeps Aussies in touch in Dubai after Sarfraz Ahmed stars on way to total of 454

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The Independent Online

David Warner’s aggressive half-century spurred Australia to a solid 113 without loss after Sarfraz Ahmed’s belligerent century had lifted Pakistan to 454 on the second day of the first Test.

It was the sixth time in a row that Warner had scored 50 or more in Test matches and he finished the day unbeaten on 75 off 77 balls, with seven fours and a six. Chris Rogers, dropped on 13 when Younis Khan spilled a regulation low catch at first slip, will resume on 31 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

“Our spinners are inexperienced but I hope tomorrow we will make a comeback and try to bowl them out quickly,” Ahmed said.

Earlier, Ahmed tormented the bowlers on the grass-less pitch by making 109 off 105 balls, hitting 14 fours before Pakistan were dismissed just after tea. “Before I walked out to bat, [coach] Waqar [Younis] told me to play my natural shots and I succeeded,” Ahmed said.

Asad Shafiq and captain Misbah-ul-Haq added resilient half centuries as Pakistan resumed from 219 for 4 overnight.

Mitchell Johnson was the best performing Australia bowler with 3 for 39. Nathan Lyon, who took 2 for 148, had to wait until his 37th over to get his wickets.

Ahmed picked up where he left off from his previous two Tests in Sri Lanka in August, when the wicketkeeper scored three half-centuries and a century. He punished loose deliveries by Australia, and his second successive Test century  came off 80 balls with an uppercut boundary off Mitchell Marsh.

Lyon finally ended Ahmed’s entertaining knock when he had him stumped by Brad Haddin just before tea.

Meanwhile, former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff has joined Brisbane Heat on a short-term deal to play in the Big Bash League.

Forced into international retirement by a knee injury in 2009 after 79 Tests and 141 one day internationals – and from all forms of the game a year later – the 36-year-old made a shock return for Lancashire in the Twenty20 Blast earlier this year. Flintoff will arrive in December to reunite with his former Lancashire team-mate, now the Brisbane coach, Stuart Law.

“I’m excited to be coming back to Australia and especially to Brisbane which has always been a favourite spot of mine to play,” Flintoff said.

Jonathan Trott has signed a new three-year contract with Warwickshire after the batsman enjoyed a revival in form this past season.

Trott, having quit England’s Ashes tour of Australia last November citing stress and anxiety, made a delayed start to Warwickshire’s County Championship campaign after a recurrence of the stress-related illness in April. However, he found form quickly after making his return.

The 33-year-old piled up 1,156 runs across all three formats last season, helping the Bears finish as runners-up in the County Championship and Royal London One-Day Cup, and making five centuries between July and September. “Warwickshire is a very special club for me and I would like to thank everyone associated with the club for their support,” said Trott.