Australia v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Hobart, 3rd day December 11, 2011

Warner shows Test credentials

David Warner's innings on the third day in Hobart was an encouraging glimpse of what he can offer Australia's Test team

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ravi_hari on December 12, 2011, 6:28 GMT

    This article should have come a day later. When I first saw Warner wacking bowlers around the park in T20, I was stunned at his talent, timing and power. Some of his shots reminded me of Hayden. The way he can stand upright and pull the ball out of the ground, the way he dances down to fast bowlers and hits them straight into the sight screen, all are virtues of a true talent. He is a natural aggressive batsman. I dont know why people make a hue and cry of slogging. Look at Sehwag, he has 2 triples in Tests and one double in ODIs. Hayden also slogged and so did many batsmen like Viv Richards, Sachin, Don, etc. I strongly feel Warner is a much better bet than Hughes and Khwaja. I would pick Warner to patner with Watson against India and Marsh to come in at 3. Khwaja will come in only if Ponting or Hussey is dropped. Warner has a long career and should play all formats like Watson. He can reduce the load on Watson at the top. Being a brilliant fielder will add to Aussies' advantage. Ravi

  • deve8sem on December 12, 2011, 5:17 GMT

    spence1324 - You have no idea...

  • satish619chandar on December 12, 2011, 4:51 GMT

    is worth a try as test opener for longer term too.. What an innings it is.. Treat to watch him blast anything offline.. He was a bit lucky as he was beaten N number of times but u always need the luck to survive in these tracks.. The T20 mindset to forget what happened previous ball and look to hit the next ball helped him a lot better.. Ussie and Hughes were missing that attitude..

  • dummy4fb on December 12, 2011, 4:51 GMT

    Looking at Vrender Sehwag, A player like Warner certainly has a test future.

  • satish619chandar on December 12, 2011, 4:35 GMT

    @Kaze : I agree with u when u say Warner was better before IPL.. But he wasn't even playing Firstclass as he himself was not taking it seriously as is his NSW team for the longer version.. He had his goal set on the longer format only after he was with Sehwag which he revealed even before making his first class debut.. IPL is not a saviour of cricket world but it is upto the players to learn from the senior players in their respective teams.. It provides opportunity of unknown young players to be in dressing room with some of the best achievers and learn from them.. Can do it in domestic matches too but we dont get all of the good players playing domestic matches(Most of players prefer rest to domestic matches unless they are out of form or need some match practice)!! IPL provides value for youngsters and it can't be denied..

  • dummy4fb on December 12, 2011, 4:29 GMT

    @Sibhas, Sachin is also an IPL superstar. He failed also and so is Sehwag, who came underprepared and thus failed in England. The issue you fail to recognise when you compare England's ODI performance in your country to your country's test performance in theirs is that England have never prioritised ODIs in quite the same way as they do tests. They are always tougher in tests than they are in ODIs and if you haven't noticed that then I don't know what you've been following. Take the 2009 Ashes for instance. England won that series, but then when it came to the ODIs they were thrashed mercilessly by Australia. The only thing no-one expected was that your Indian side would be so helpless against England in the ODI series in England. I dare say you would be eating your words if England and India held a test series in India right at this moment.

  • dummy4fb on December 12, 2011, 4:29 GMT

    Best Aussie XI to face India at Melbourne if all players were fit. Warner, Marsh, Ponting, Clarke, M Hussey, Watson, Haddin / Paine, Cummins, Pattinson, Harris, Lyon.

    Best India XI to face Aussies at Melbourne if all players were fit. Shewag, Gambhir, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Rohit Sharma, Dhoni, Ashwin, Zaheer, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav / Praveen Kumar.

  • caAamir on December 12, 2011, 4:23 GMT

    There once was a lad called Warner. If only he was a bit taller. He played a fair knock. Noone else showed any stock. Lock him in for the next time longer.

  • Gupta.Ankur on December 12, 2011, 4:10 GMT

    IPL has been partial to Australia, by giving them great cricketers........Australia's other opener Watson was languishing outside the team before he's a permanent fixture of their side...

  • wardyinoz on December 12, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    warner was made to look good this test match because all the other batsmen were tumbling at the other end. the kiwis didnt have time to get him out, too busy wrapping up the other 9 wickets. avereage player, will be found wanting against india or any other half decent side

  • No featured comments at the moment.