Dawid Malan savours maiden Ashes ton after “fun” battle with Australia pacers
Dawid Malan’s unbeaten 110 at the WACA cauldron anchored a 174-run stand with wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow (75 not out) to push England to 305 for four at stumps as the tourists emerged on top after an intriguing opening day.cricket Updated: Dec 14, 2017 19:39 IST
Having honed his game against “dibbly dobbly” deliveries in English county cricket, Dawid Malan was thrilled to conquer a hostile Australian pace assault to post his maiden century in the third Ashes Test in Perth on Thursday. (3rd Ashes Test full scorecard)
The batsman’s unbeaten 110 at the WACA cauldron anchored a 174-run stand with wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow (75 not out) to push England to 305 for four at stumps as the tourists emerged on top after an intriguing opening day.
Malan’s maiden test century was also his team’s first for this tour, providing a vital boost for Joe Root’s side as the Ashes holders bid to claw their way back into the series from 2-0 down.
At times, it was tough going for the 30-year-old lefthander who had to endure a short ball barrage from Australia’s fuming pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins.
He watched from the non-striker’s end as opener Mark Stoneman was struck by a vicious bouncer from Hazlewood, having seen his captain Root also hit high at the first test defeat at the Gabba.
“I really enjoyed the pace that these guys came with and the short ball,” said Malan, whose career has taken off since smashing 78 on his Twenty20 international debut against South Africa in June.
“You know you play county cricket and you’re more worried about your front pad being blown off or nicked off and so on (by) 70-80 miles per hour dibbly dobblies, so I really enjoyed the challenge of facing these guys.
“It’s obviously not comfortable -- you don’t really feel like you’re enjoying it at the time but looking back it was great fun to get through those situations.”
Malan scored a half-century in the opener at the Gabba and rued not going on to make a bigger total.
So his heart was in his mouth when on 92, he nicked behind off the first delivery of the second new ball off Starc late in the day at the WACA.
Cameron Bancroft dropped the ball in the slips and Malan went on to bring up his century in style, pulling Hazlewood to the fence and soaking up a standing ovation.
He strode off to further applause from the crowd of 22,148 at stumps, with 15 boundaries and a six to his name, and England savouring a rare feeling of control in the series.
It was nice for Malan to bring the focus back onto the cricket for England, with the camp having been embarrassed by two off-field incidents at a Perth bar during the tour.
“It is nice to tick a box and prove to yourself that you can play this level and that you can score hundreds,” he said.
“At the end of the day it’s the amount of hundreds you score that you get rated on when you retire.”