HOBART, Dec 14 (Reuters) - David Warner was run out on the stroke of lunch to leave Australia 97 for two on the opening day of the first test against Sri Lanka on Friday.
Opener Warner had crafted a half century to help Australia recover from the early loss of Ed Cowan and was set to lead his team through the first session until a calamitous misunderstanding with Phil Hughes led to his dismissal.
Warner looked to have called a single before changing his mind but Hughes, who will resume on 27 with Shane Watson, was already well on his way down the wicket, giving Angelo Mathews plenty of time to get the ball to the non-striker's end.
Warner and Hughes had dug in reasonably well in the face of some tidy bowling from the Sri Lankans after Cowan had departed with just 18 runs on the Bellerive Oval scoreboard.
Chanaka Welegedera made the early breakthrough for the tourists when Cowan tried to pull a short delivery only for the ball to catch him high on the bat and carry to mid-on where Shaminda Eranga took a simple catch.
Australia captain Michael Clarke won the toss in bright sunshine but by the time Cowan and Warner took to the crease it was under overcast skies.
The Sri Lankan bowlers, described this week as the worst pace attack ever to tour Australia by former test bowler Rodney Hogg, were centimetres away from making a perfect start.
Cowan edged the second delivery of the day from Nuwan Kulasekara to the slips but Mathews was just unable to get his hands to it despite an athletic dive.
Opener Cowan faced just 16 further balls before departing for four, bringing Hughes to the crease for his third spell of test cricket.
Recalled on the back of good domestic form after the retirement of Ricky Ponting, the 24-year-old lefthander showed his intent with a couple of crisp fours early in his innings.
At the other end, Warner was looking solid on his return to the ground where he made his maiden test century against New Zealand last year.
The bullish 26-year-old had some nervous moments, most notably in the delivery before he brought up his half century with two runs to square leg.
Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene was left cursing a field change as an edge which would have been swallowed up by third slip flew past the cordon for Warner's seventh four.
Warner would have been confident of converting his 50 to his fourth test century and his displeasure at being run out to bring up lunch was clear to everyone in the ground. (Editing by Peter Rutherford)