India in Australia 2011-12 January 16, 2012

Warner no shooting star


David Warner has won two Man of the Match awards from his first five Tests, but he still craves greater consistency as Australia's opener in the long format. Warner's 180 at the WACA was easily the standout performance on a pitch that proved difficult for the batsmen, and more than any other player he was responsible for Australia's innings victory.

In Hobart last month, Warner was a controversial selection as Man of the Match as the award was voted for by Channel Nine viewers, despite the fact that Doug Bracewell had bowled New Zealand to a historic victory and was regarded by most experts as clearly the best afield. There was no question about Warner's award on this occasion, although a case could have been mounted for Ben Hilfenhaus, who took eight wickets.

Two centuries from his first five Tests is a promising start, but Warner is also aware that as Test batsman, the gaps between his best and worst cannot be allowed to grow too much. So far in his Test career, Warner has posted scores of 3, 12 not out, 15, 123 not out, 37, 5, 8 and 180.

"I've always said I'd like to be more consistent in all three forms that I'm playing," Warner said. "You might get runs today and miss out in the next game but that's cricket. I'll keep working hard and backing myself. Hopefully this wasn't a one-off thing. It was my second Test hundred. I showed that I can play maturely as well in difficult situations [in Hobart]. Hopefully I can keep continuing with my form."

Warner has come a long way from the man who burst on to the international scene as a Twenty20 specialist with a brutal 89 against South Africa three years ago, before he had even made his first-class debut. By the end of last summer, Warner had played only seven Sheffield Shield matches and found it hard to force his way into the New South Wales line-up.

"The frustration was always there, with New South Wales not giving me an opportunity," he said. "But at the end of the day there were blokes ahead of me and I had to go out and score runs in grade cricket and 2nd XI cricket and make my way into the team.

"The only way to do that was weight of runs. Fortunately I did that and now I'm in a good headspace. I'm really enjoying my cricket at the moment. Being part of the Test team, we're going fantastic at the moment and I couldn't be any happier."

His progression has impressed the Test captain Michael Clarke, who is also one of the selectors who gave Warner a chance in the baggy green. Clarke believes Warner's career should highlight to every young cricketer that Twenty20 is not the only option.

"To see a kid who everybody thought was just a Twenty20 player 12 months ago walk out and bat exactly the same, but wearing the baggy green, playing in his whites ... I've said to Davey for a long time now there's no reason he can't have success in any form of the game, with the amount of talent he's got," Clarke said. "It shows young kids out there today that whether it's Twenty20 cricket, one-day cricket or Test cricket, if you can play one form, you can play all three forms. That's really exciting for the game."

Over the past three Tests, Warner has been partnered at the top of the order by a much more understated opener, Ed Cowan. Their styles complement each other and at the WACA, that paid off as they put on 214 for the first wicket, just the second double-century opening stand for Australia since the end of the Hayden-Langer era.

Warner's 180 and Cowan's 74 were both their best Test scores, the first time since the Trent Bridge Ashes Test of 1989 that both Australian openers had bettered their highest Test scores in the same innings. Warner said working with Cowan was a pleasure.

"I think it's great," he said. "We're gelling together. As people have said, we're an odd couple. But when we're out there, we keep each other going. We're always talking to each other every ball. I know Ed's game, I know where his release shots are to get off strike when difficult periods are happening.

"It's the same with me. When he thinks I'm playing too loose, he'll come down to me and keep a check and say you've got to keep playing straight. I respect that. I'll always listen to my partner. Hopefully we can keep continuing this."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Brenton on January 18, 2012, 7:42 GMT

    Many are saying Hughes was 'found out' in England. This is complete rubbish. 3 innings (one of which wasn't out), with a good 37 and two low scores is hardly "found out". He was dropped prematurely by a poor selection panel who messed with the mind, technique and confidence of the young 20 year old.

  • Girik on January 17, 2012, 8:25 GMT

    @freo75, Well Hughes wasn't found out by SA in SA which is normally a tough place to bat. He was only found out later against England. Warner while aggressive doesn't seem to have any big technical weakness unlike Hughes at the moment. Having said that, after another 10 tests bowlers from all over the world will try to find a pattern with the way he gets out (looking at videos). If Warner can get through that tricky phase where the bowlers are bowling to his weak spots he will be a force to reckoned with for the rest of his career.

  • Roo on January 17, 2012, 6:24 GMT

    Its early days for Warner & Cowan - lets just give them encouragement & see how they do... Move Watson down to no.6 or 7 where he wont run out his opening partner - he even did it to Warner in a ODI... Can't think of an opener Watson hasn't run out - no idea at all... Still a handy bowler though his batting has gone down the gurgler in the last 12 months...

  • Andrew on January 17, 2012, 2:50 GMT

    @ landl47 - nice to pick one innings out of 8! @ tearsinblue - that may or may not be true, but pls understand that the biggest criticism of Warner coming into the Oz side is that most of his success has been in India & Zimbabwe! So I don't think he'll be too daunted by playing in India, bear in mind too that grounds are smaller so his mishits will still go 10 rows back! @Anthony Dzioba - the key to Warner's potential is his short back lift, he seems to be able decide what to do very late. This could be very helpful in seaming conditions (like Hobart 2nd Test) & was helpful at the WACA. He has the ability to force good bowlers to change their plans AND that is a very good talent to have! @ AbdullahShaikh - yes true, but the article is not about Sehwag, who quite honestly doesn't look like he'd be able to play Grade cricket in Oz atm. So you are harking back to past glories there matey!!!!

  • Brenton on January 17, 2012, 1:33 GMT

    I can see Australia having the makings of another great test team in a couple of years. With Warner, Hughes (when he finds his mojo again), Watson, Clarke, Cummins, Pattinson, Lyon, Hilfy. A good support team, selectors, bowling coach, Rod Marsh etc.

  • jason on January 16, 2012, 23:16 GMT

    Obviously a great talent. so far he has faced an average attack (NZ) and a really really poor attack that is barely above park cricket standards (India) will be interesting to see how he goes against the current Eng, SA, Pak bowlers. im sure he will score runs against them but will be harder and will prove how capable his technique is.

  • Andrew on January 16, 2012, 17:01 GMT

    Just a moment, you can't win a Test Match unless you take 20 wickets. Australia's big problems have been the inability to take 20 wickets in a match. Remember, Hilfenhaus took 8 wickets for the match, and the bowlers set this win up in the first innings. While it was a great innings from Warner, let's not get carried away. Nemisis usually follows Hubris.

  • david on January 16, 2012, 14:08 GMT

    dont try and compare warner with hughes. warner is alot more correct, and most of his shots are good to the eye. but in tests he will have to curb some of the more flamboyant shots. but on his day he could get you a sehwag style 100 before lunch. but at the end of the day its how many poor knocks between his good ones. dpk

  • Marcio on January 16, 2012, 12:58 GMT

    Players of this natural ability don't come along very often. What is best about Warner is that he is incredibly keen to learn, and listens intently to others. As usual @landl47 bashes any Aussie player, but Warner's defense is excellent. He just has to learn to move his feet with some of the big shots outside off, early in his innings. His fielding is as good as having an extra bowler in the team! The best fielder in international cricket for years.

  • Dummy4 on January 16, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    Interesting to see the opening partnership of Hughes and Watson earmarked by the former selectors has returned results reflecting their tenure as a whole. Hughes has been dropped indefinitely and Watson will in all likelihood return to the middle order. Now with a fresh selection panel and an even fresher opening partnership, it looks like we might be on to something good here. I just hope these two are given enough time to prove themselves and not chopped and changed when things aren't going so well (which will inevitably happen). Long live Test Cricket I'd say!

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