Australia v India, 3rd Test, Perth, 1st day January 13, 2012

'I show intent and it came off today' - Warner

David Warner couldn't lay bat on ball in the net sessions leading up to the WACA Test, which makes his dazzling 69-ball century all the more special

David Warner entered this Test harbouring doubts about his ability to score runs at the WACA. It doesn't bear thinking about what he might have achieved had he been full of confidence.

To see Warner bat, to watch him dive in the field, to hear him speak candidly about the many weaknesses of the opposition, it is hard to believe he has misgivings about anything. But the sheer joy that he displayed when he launched Vinay Kumar over long-on for six to bring up the fourth-fastest Test hundred of all time, and a century in a session, was telling.

Warner sprinted towards the Lillee-Marsh Stand as if trying for a quick single. He leapt like an Olympic hurdler as he headed in the direction of the dressing rooms, his team-mates and the WACA crowd cheering him on. Eventually, he pulled up his run and completed a more composed bat-raise and helmet-kiss but in no way was this a nonchalant celebration. In no way was it a nonchalant innings.

By the time he walked off the ground with 104 runs to his name from 80 deliveries, he had scored more in this innings alone than he had in all his previous WACA appearances combined - Twenty20s, one-dayers, first-class matches, everything. That record, along with his struggles to get a start since his Hobart hundred against New Zealand, left Warner slightly worried entering this Test.

"I've come to the WACA and put doubts in my mind," Warner said. "I said to Mike Hussey the other day I've batted here a couple of times and I haven't really scored any runs.

"I see that Hobart was a challenging wicket and then we come to Melbourne and you look at the SCG as well and the boys are putting on 600 runs and you missed out, you think in the back of your mind, what did I do wrong? I know I got a good ball against Zaheer in Sydney. That's cricket. But you always put some doubt in your mind, where's your next runs going to be, when are they going to come."

It didn't help that Warner had trouble in the nets during the lead-up to this Test. When his team-mates Mitchell Starc bowled him at training, Warner was ready to throw it in. "I said 'I give up, I can't work in this environment'," Warner said. "I couldn't lay bat on ball.

"It wasn't the pace and bounce, it was more me with my head getting still. JL [batting coach Justin Langer] and Mickey Arthur said to me if you look down the line, the axis of where my head was, I was always falling away and over my front leg. When the ball is coming straight down the wicket, you want to try and put your head in line with the ball. That's what I was working on mainly this week."

His work paid off when India's bowlers struggled following the dismissal of their batsmen for 161. The runs flowed. Warner welcomed Vinay Kumar with a six over long-on off his fourth ball in Test cricket for six, and struck boundaries to all parts of the ground.

Some of the WACA spectators had seen Adam Gilchrist's 57-ball Test ton against England six years ago, and Chris Gayle's 70-ball effort in 2009-10. A few older ones had probably even been at the venue when Roy Fredericks reached triple-figures off 71 balls in 1975-76. This century, a 69-ball effort, was a worthy addition to the list of WACA demolitions.

"I was actually looking at my strike-rate and I said this ain't Test cricket, this is something different," Warner said. "It's just how I approach the game. I show intent, and it came off today.

"I've always said if the ball's in my zone I'm going to go after it. That's what I did ... In my zone is anything that's within the three- to four-metre length. I find that's probably the zone where, if it's full I'll probably throw the kitchen sink at it, especially when it's a green wicket like this and it's a bit lively."

Not that his judgment was always flawless. On 80, he tried to pull an Umesh Yadav bouncer and was struck a fearsome blow in the helmet. Then came a few minutes of attention from the physio Alex Kountouris, some stretching of the neck to ensure he wasn't going to be badly affected, and Warner batted on. He plundered 21 from his next eight balls to race to a century.

"You don't really ever want to go off for anything," Warner said. "The physio said to me if I had a bit of blurred vision it would have been silly to carry on. But I was fine and just a bit shaken up. It's the second time I've been hit here at the WACA. I just think I've got to try and keep my eye on the ball and keep watching it. I'm feeling good now, I've got a nice golf ball at the back of my ear, but that's fine."

The best thing for Warner was that he finished not out. Spectators will be well advised to arrive at the WACA on time on Saturday morning. It could be another eventful session.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Roo on January 16, 2012, 8:20 GMT

    @Peterincanada... Warner is the perfect opener - aggressive quick scorer that will not get bogged down & compliments Cowan - aka Hayden & Langer - a near perfect opening team... Also our first 200 opening stand for 4 years demands being noticed... Warners 2 tons in 8 innings is up there with the very best cricketers, let alone 2 not outs - 1 through the whole side getting out...

  • Roo on January 16, 2012, 8:19 GMT

    @RandyOZ... Where were Marsh, Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, Haddin?... Should have been your question... Still Haddin has been both poor with the bat & the gloves in recent times... Marsh has only shown form in SL against an average bowling unit with key bowlers missing... The same could be said for Hussey - failed in SA & against NZ... Without Watson in the middle order the team has shown regular collapses over the last 3-4 years...

  • Dummy4 on January 14, 2012, 6:33 GMT

    @Goviro - Do u still believe in this team?? I always believed that I am one of the strongest supporter of our TEAM. Even during the toughest days in the early 2000's when the match fixing scandal broke out, I never got dis-heartened, never in 2011 when India got white-washed, because I always believed there is hope. Now, looking into the current team, looking at their faces, I dont know what to say... Good Luck Team India - Thats all.

  • Randolph on January 14, 2012, 6:20 GMT

    Clearly Haddin has to go now. Surely it's time. Surely? Warner and Cowan were brilliant. People won't like this but Clarke again failed after getting a big score. He does not have the ability to back up his performances. It's like he thinks 1 big score is an excuse for failing in the next 2-3 innings.

  • Marcio on January 14, 2012, 5:47 GMT

    @landl47 it's amazing how you manage to denigrate every Australian performance and player, regardless of the facts, and no matter how wonderful. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Warner's defence. He gets out attacking almost every time. Me thinks you are still clinging desperately to your fantasy that Australia "have absolutely nothing coming through" in batting - as you put it. Warner is playing his fifth test. He's 25 years old and has played a handful of first class games, (and averages about 70, BTW). Have you ever thought of the small possibility that Warner may actually get even better with experience, in terms of technique?

  • Andrew on January 14, 2012, 5:04 GMT

    @landl47 - did you see any of Warner's innings? Not ONE shot went over the slips. Apart from his 6s, few of his 4s have gone in the air. He boasts a FC average AND Test average in the 60s after 5 Tests, not much more he needs to do in the short term. The fact is he IS still learning his game & I have no doubts at all that he is recalibrating his temprement to play long innings because he DOES have good defensive technique. His ton against NZ at Hobart stood out like a beacon amongst the other 21 players on display. Perhaps you are just a shade worried that your "young lions" have been whipped TWICE by a Bangladesh A side, the 2nd loss was against a very weak A-side. Obviously Oz have far more bench strength coming thru than your mob!!!!!

  • Randolph on January 14, 2012, 5:00 GMT

    Just goes to show how poor England's victory was. Australia is crushing them twice as bad as England did. We know the true #1 don't we? Warner will be destroying attacks like this for the next 10 years!

  • ms on January 14, 2012, 4:08 GMT

    Well played by Warner, both off and on the field. C'mon India, get a backbone in your bodies and some grit in your mental attitude. A pathetic verbal comeback by our younger players.

  • Peterincanada on January 14, 2012, 0:50 GMT

    I agree with a number of posters that while Warner and Sehwag are a joy to watch if they get going they are mis-placed as opening bats except in the one day game. In test matches time is rarely an issue and the prime function of an opener is to keep wickets intact so that the strokemakers can make hay when the ball loses its shine and the attack tires. Both would be better used in the middle order.

  • andrew on January 14, 2012, 0:31 GMT

    India just need luck, like the pitch turning to a flat dead wicket before their second innings.

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