Updated: Saturday, 01 March 2014 22:01 | By Agence France-Presse

Warner puts controversy behind him with fine century

David Warner put a week of controversy behind him and hit a sparkling century for Australia on the first day of the series-deciding third and final Test against South Africa at Newlands on Saturday.


Warner puts controversy behind him with fine century

Australia's David Warner celebrates his century on the first day of the third Test cricket match against South Africa at Newlands in Cape Town, on March 1, 2014 - by Peter Heeger

Warner made 121 not out off 132 balls as Australia reached 195 for two at tea.

South Africa suffered a blow when strike bowler Dale Steyn, who took the first wicket, left the field with what appeared to be a hamstring injury midway through the afternoon after bowling one ball of the fourth over of his third spell.

Warner was fined 15 percent of his match fee and criticised by his captain, Michael Clarke, after making 'inappropriate comments' suggesting ball tampering by South Africa after the second Test in Port Elizabeth.

But if the left-handed opening batsman was affected by the controversy he showed no sign of it. He was in charge from virtually the first ball he faced after Clarke won the toss and claimed first use of an easy-paced pitch.

Fellow opener Chris Rogers got the innings off to a good start by hitting two fours in Steyn's first over but Warner quickly became the dominant partner in an opening stand of 65, scored at almost five runs an over.

Steyn conceded 18 runs in his first two overs from the southern, Kelvin Grove end and was taken off.

The total reached 65 at almost five runs an over before Steyn returned from the Wynberg end and had Rogers caught at first slip for 25 off the third delivery of his new spell.

Warner continued to play attacking strokes and reached his fourth successive score of 50 or better with the help of four overthrows after facing just 50 balls.

Alex Doolan made 20 in a second wicket stand of 73 with Warner before he mistimed a pull against Vernon Philander and was well caught by Steyn, running around from mid-on.

Warner, who was dropped five times in his previous three innings of 115, 70 and 66, did not offer a chance in making his seventh Test century although when he was on 95 the South Africans thought he had been caught behind down the leg side by AB de Villiers off Steyn.

He was given not out by umpire Aleem Dar. South Africa sought a review but replays showed the ball had deflected off his thigh pad, not his bat.

He reached his hundred off 104 balls with his tenth four.

Clarke survived some hostile short-pitched bowling from Morne Morkel to be on 22 not out at tea. When he was on nine he was struck on the left forearm and needed treatment.

Four runs later he turned away from another bouncer and was felled by a blow to the cheek. He again needed treatment before resuming his innings.

With the series locked at 1-1, both sides made two changes following South Africa?s 231-run win in the second Test in Port Elizabeth.

Australian all-rounder Shane Watson, recovered from a calf injury, replaced Shaun Marsh -- a centurion in the first Test but failed to score in either innings in the second Test -- while fast bowler James Pattinson was selected ahead of Peter Siddle.

South Africa sprang a mild surprise when they named Kyle Abbott as a fourth specialist seam bowler to replace left-armer Wayne Parnell, who was injured during the second Test.

Opening batsman Alviro Petersen returned after missing the second Test because of illness, with Quinton de Kock left out.

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