Warner shows Test credentials
David Warner finished the third day at the Bellerive Oval unbeaten on 47. It wasn't a hundred, it wasn't even a half-century and it may not turn into a match-winning innings. But it was an encouraging glimpse of what he can offer Australia's Test team. For now, that is enough.
His opening partner Phillip Hughes scored two centuries in his second Test and is now desperately trying to cling on to his place in the team. It is impossible to predict what Warner's future will hold, other than to say that his second match in the baggy green won't be his last.
Two years ago, it was inconceivable that Warner would be part of Australia's five-day outfit. When he made his Twenty20 international debut in January 2009, he had not yet played Sheffield Shield cricket. But he already held a $250,000 IPL deal and had launched Shaun Tait onto the roof of the Adelaide Oval grandstand.
He was the poster boy for the changing landscape of the game. He plundered 89 off 43 balls in his first game for Australia, a Twenty20 affair against South Africa at the MCG, where he paddled Dale Steyn over fine leg for six and slogged, for that is the only word for the shot, him for another over midwicket.
A career in Major League Baseball seemed more likely than one in the baggy green. Two days later, Matthew Hayden announced his retirement from international cricket. The few people who suggested Warner replace him in the Test side were laughed at, and not surprisingly, for he had much work to do on his game. Even Warner himself felt that if he was to play Test cricket it would be at No.6.
But he has done the work, without sacrificing his Twenty20 skills, and has become a viable Test opener. It hasn't been easy in Hobart over the past three days. Test cricket can be as changeable as the Tasmanian weather. Both teams have held the advantage at different points, but at no stage has it been easy to bat on a tricky surface.
That Warner wants to face those challenges, when he could have stayed in the comfortable environment of flat Twenty20 pitches and lucrative contracts, is a wonderful sign. The baggy green still holds some sort of lure for young men.
To look at his strike-rate of 94 on the third day in Hobart, it would be easy to assume Warner had brought at least some of his Twenty20 style to Test cricket. That is only true in the same way that it is for another IPL star, Shaun Marsh, who scores largely along the ground through gaps.
Warner struck eight boundaries as he gave Australia the perfect start in their chase of 241. None went in the air. Yes, a couple were lucky, including a near chop-on, but especially impressive was his driving straight down the ground. Whether it is a heavy bat, sweet timing or his muscular physique, the balls flew across the damp outfield.
It all appeared to flow naturally for Warner. At the other end, Hughes was fighting his instincts as he scrapped for his career. He showed a far greater ability to leave balls outside off than he has in recent Tests, eliminating the chance of edges but also trimming his run-scoring options. Warner's tempo allowed Hughes to take his time and he ended unbeaten on 20 from 64 deliveries.
For this day and this situation, they operated well together. On Boxing Day at the MCG against India, they won't have that opportunity. Shane Watson and Shaun Marsh are likely to return to the side, and one or both of the incumbent openers will make way.
On the fourth day in Hobart, they will continue working towards the same cause: an Australian victory. In doing so, they will also be auditioning for December 26. A match-winning hundred from either could be enough to retain his spot.
Whatever happens on Monday, Warner has done enough to be called a Test batsman. What happens in the future is up to him.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo