David Warner finally earns his absolution with Adelaide epic

By Sports Desk November 30, 2019

As Steve Smith rebuilt his reputation with an otherworldly performance in the 2019 Ashes, it was impossible to ignore the contrast between him and David Warner.

The disgraced duo, along with Cameron Bancroft, made their return to the Test arena following bans for their part in the 2018 ball-tampering scandal that rocked Australian cricket in the pressure cooker of an Ashes series in England.

While Smith was rightfully the recipient of widespread adoration as all of England and the rest of the cricketing world pondered the question "how do you get Steve Smith out?", Warner remained the pantomime villain and was unable to silence the jeers as he endured a miserable series.

Only twice did Warner go beyond single figures, with his highest score a 61 in the Headingley Test. His contribution to that incredible match long forgotten by the time Ben Stokes struck the four that completed one of the greatest fightbacks and most remarkable innings in Test history.

The redemption Smith enjoyed as he carried Australia in a series that saw them retain the urn was not forthcoming for Warner. He was excellent in the World Cup and finished as the second-highest run scorer but was unfortunate to achieve that feat in a tournament where Australia were emphatically beaten by an England side that prevailed in a final considered among the best games of all time.

Yet any Australian still bearing a grudge over Warner's indiscretions in South Africa must now surely grant him his absolution after an innings for the ages in the second Test with Pakistan.

Those inside the Adelaide Oval may have expected to see Australia pile on the runs. It was a fair assumption, given they closed day one on 302-1 with Warner on 166 and Marnus Labuschagne on 126.

However, few may have anticipated Warner etching his name into the history books and overtaking Don Bradman, the man many consider to be the best to play the game, with the highest ever score at the famous old ground. 

It may have come against a youthful Pakistan side able to harness much on a pitch offering little for the bowlers, but the exuberance and variety with which he attacked the challenge of becoming the seventh Australian to score 300 provided a wonderful encapsulation of his qualities as a batsman.

He was extremely fortunate to earn a reprieve as he slashed to gully from a Muhammad Musa no-ball on 234, but this was Warner at his free-flowing and aggressive best, and he celebrated reaching 200 and then 300 in typical fashion, bounding into the air with reckless abandon.

Warner racked up 39 fours and a singular six but he surpassed 334, the highest Test score of the legendary Bradman - one equalled by Mark Taylor against the same opposition in 1998 - in more sedate fashion, with a drive to sweeper cover for a single.

Taylor rose to applaud the achievement and captain Tim Paine promptly called for a declaration with Australia 589-3. Warner, perhaps recognising the magnitude of the occasion, left the field and bowed as he took in the acclaim of the Adelaide crowd.

There will be debate over whether Paine was right to declare with Warner in incredible form and well set to challenge Brian Lara's world-record score of 400. The skipper's call was vindicated in terms of the match situation, as Pakistan duly crumbled to 96-6.

Paine's decision and its merits are immaterial, though. Only Matthew Hayden stands above Warner on the list of highest individual scores by an Australian and, 20 months on from his lowest ebb, he can finally bask in his moment of redemption.

Related items

  • CWI appoints Chris Brabazon as coach-education manager CWI appoints Chris Brabazon as coach-education manager

    A Level 2 coaching course which begins on Thursday in Kingston, Jamaica signals the start of the tenure of Chris Brabazon as Coach Education Manager, a new role created as part of CWI’s strategy to strengthen and invest in the development of coaching talent within the region. Chris has immediately travelled to Jamaica to observe the delivery of the Level 2 course.

    Director of Cricket, Jimmy Adams, welcomed Brabazon to CWI and highlighted the selection of Brabazon to the position.

    “I am delighted to welcome Chris to the Caribbean where he will be taking up the role of CWI’s first full-time Coach Education Manager.  His appointment is a critical feature of our strategic plan to produce world-class players and winning teams through the development of West Indian coaches,” Adams said.

    “Chris brings a wealth of experience having held a similar role of Coach Development Manager in Western Australia for the past six years.

    “He has worked at every level of the Cricket Australia coaching development pathway, from grassroots to international level, and is well-placed to drive CWI’s objective of developing our coach education programs.  I have no doubt that Chris will play a significant role in advancing our regional game and am very excited to be working with him on improving coaching standards throughout the Caribbean.”

    Speaking on his appointment, Brabazon was delighted to join the legacy of West Indies Cricket.

    “I am incredibly excited to join the team at CWI. In particular, I am looking forward to meeting and working with the coaches and coach developers throughout the Caribbean to ensure that all local players have access to inspirational learning environments that fosters their love of cricket.”

    Brabazon holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Business Administration, with over twelve (12) years’ experience specifically in cricket. He has functioned in coaching and talent development, as well as cricket management and accounting in his native Australia.

  • Labuschagne puts glut of runs down to 'riding the wave' Labuschagne puts glut of runs down to 'riding the wave'

    Marnus Labuschagne says "riding the wave" has been the key to his success after the Australia batsman scored a third consecutive Test century on day one of the series against New Zealand.

    Labuschagne's purple patch continued on a slow-scoring deck in Perth, the number three reaching stumps on 110 not out with Australia 248-4 in the day-night encounter.

    Don Bradman and Charles Macartney are the only other Australians to have scored three successive hundreds in the longest format.

    Labuschagne also became the fourth-fastest Australian to score 1,000 Test runs and the number three says staying in the moment has enabled him to spend so much time in the middle.

    "No hundred is easy, but today there was definitely patches where scoring really dried up completely and you just had to be patient and trust you were going to come out the other side," said the 25-year-old.

    "It's about riding the wave, not trying to get too high when you are going well, keep everything consistent, keep it process-driven in terms of your mind.

    "It's great to get runs, but just making sure you are doing your routines, keeping that clear mind on the field and from there you're just playing the ball as it comes. It's making sure you put a real high price on decision making."

    Test debutant Lockie Ferguson went for a scan after suffering a calf injury on a searing hot day and Labuschagne says Australia must try and make the tourists' bowlers suffer in the field if they are a bowler short.

    "I think one of the boys said when we came back in that he [Ferguson] pulled up with an injury, but me and [Steve] Smith didn't even know," the centurion said.

    "It's a massive advantage they do have an all-rounder [Colin de Grandhomme] in their side, so that probably does lighten the load but it's a massive advantage if we can really bat well tomorrow and keep them out there.

    "Batters, we've just got to keep putting runs on the board and with our world-class bowling attack, it gives them the upper hand."

  • Black Caps hopeful over Ferguson injury Black Caps hopeful over Ferguson injury

    Neil Wagner said New Zealand can only cross their fingers and hope debutant Lockie Ferguson has not bowled his last ball in the first Test against Australia.

    The Black Caps paceman pulled up with a calf injury on day one at Perth Stadium after bowling just 11 overs.

    Ferguson went for an MRI scan to discover the extent of the damage, leaving the tourists a bowler down as Marnus Labuschagne (110 not out) made a third consecutive Test century.

    Wagner, who took 2-52 as Australia closed on 248-4 in the day-night contest, felt for Ferguson as New Zealand wait to discover how serious his injury is.

    The seamer said: "It's gutting, isn't it. It's pretty heartbreaking and I know he'll be devastated.

    "We'll all get right behind him and hopefully it's not too bad. We haven't heard anything back yet so hopefully it's good, or better news than what everyone is expecting."

    Wagner added: "Hopefully we'll find out [the results] pretty soon. Fingers crossed it's not too bad, he's a quality player and we would have loved to have seen him bowl more."

    New Zealand, already without left-arm seamer Trent Boult due to a side strain, will assess Ferguson's fitness prior to Friday's play in the series opener.

     

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.