Warner wizardry returns

By Peter Argent

A pugnacious and fit left-hander who started his International career in T20 cricket, 36-year-old David Warner produced a delightful double century, with plenty of drama to celebrate his milestone 100th Test Match for Australia.

In a Boxing Day Test match to celebrate the late Shane Warne ‘Warnie 350’, Warner left the doubters struggling for words as he plundered the South African pace attack.

Warner’s Mullagh Medal-winning performance started after tea on day one, following another modest batting performance from the visitors, which saw them dismissed for 189 despite half centuries and a 112-run sixth wicket stand between Kyle Verreynne and Marco Jansen.

At stumps, with Australia 1/45 after 12 overs, Warner was 32 not out having laid the foundations.
Tuesday, December 27, for Davie Warner Day.

In debilating heat, which finally forced him to retire, cramping just after he reaching 200, Warner became just the tenth player in Test cricket history to make a century in his 100th test.

He is the second Australian after Ricky Ponting – who made 120 and 143 not out, also against South Africa at the Sydney Cricket Ground in his landmark game in January 2006.

Along the way Warner also passed his 8000th run in Test cricket landmark and overtook Mark Waugh’s total of 8029, to be currently the seventh highest run scorer amongst the Aussies.

Warner retired after tea, after batting in 37-degree heat. He had batted for just under six hours, faced 244 deliveries, dispatching 16 boundaries and a pair of sixes.

Australia were in command at 3/386 at stumps, despite both Warner, and all-rounder Cameron Green both retiring hurt.

Anticlimactically, after Travis Head’s dismissal early on day three, Warner returned to the crease, and was bowled first ball by speedster Anrich Nortje.

He fell 18 runs short of Joe Root’s highest score in a players’ 100th Test of 218 at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai against India during February 2021.

Interestingly, Warner also started his International career in a Twenty20 fixture at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on January 11, 2009, making 89 and winning Man of the Match honours.

A week later he played his first One Day International, also against South Africa, in Hobart.

Warner’s Test career started in December 2011 against New Zealand at the Brisbane Cricket Ground.

In a day rain shorted, South Africa were 1/15 at stumps after three days, chasing 386 just to make the men in the Baggy Greens bat again.

Despite Green being unable to bowl and Mitchell Starc sending ‘em down under duress, Australia won the Test and the first series against the Proteas on home soil for 17 years. After a win within two days in Brisbane, the Australian’s were victorious in this match by an innings and 182 runs.

Going in to the Sydney encounter, Warner, after 100 Tests has an average of 46.41 and a strike rate of 71.35 runs per hundred balls faced.

Warner’s highest Test score was against Pakistan in Adelaide back in November 2019, a mammoth 335 not out.

Along with paying tribute to his wife Candice, and family, Warner has confirmed he will continue well into 2023, which includes Test tours of India and England.

This will force the selectors’ hands, as Warner’s record on the previous tour of Britain was modest at best, making 94 runs at 9.4 back in 2019 Ashes against the swinging ball. In 44 away Tests Warner averages 32.78, compared with 58.95 on home soil.

Footnote: On Boxing Day it was announced the Men’s Test Player of the Year will be renamed the Shane Warne Men’s Test Player of the Year at the Australian Cricket Awards, which will be held on January 30, 2023.

Warne played 145 Test matches in a career that spanned from 1992 to 2007 and is Australia’s all-time leading wicket-taker in the five-day format.

The announcement was made at the Boxing Day Test Match as fans paid tribute to the ‘Spin King’ at his beloved MCG.

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