Australia v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Hobart December 13, 2011

Warner silences his Test doubters


David Warner's career is only two Tests old but already he has achieved something that eluded Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer: he has carried his bat through an innings. Australia emerged from the loss to New Zealand in Hobart with plenty of concerns, but the way Warner adapted from Twenty20 to the five-day game was not one of them.

Warner nearly lifted Australia to an unlikely victory with his unbeaten 123, an innings of responsible strokeplay and impressive resilience. He survived into the 64th over, removing any lingering doubts about his suitability for the longer format, and joined Bill Lawry, Ian Redpath, David Boon, Mark Taylor and Simon Katich as the only Australians to carry their bat through a Test innings since World War II.

It continued an outstanding 2011 for Warner. This year he has averaged 75.53 from his 15 first-class appearances. Only two of his innings have been scored at better than a run a ball. The average length of his innings is 132 minutes. His near three-hour effort in the second innings at Bellerive Oval was impressive, but when he scored a double-hundred for Australia A in Zimbabwe in July he batted more than twice that long.

"As a kid growing up you want to keep striving 100% to get that baggy green," Warner said. "Now I have got it I am going to try to hold onto it as long as I can and I am going to keep doing that. Everyone keeps talking about T20 cricket but I have always said I wanted to prove I could play the longer form and at the end of the day it is overwhelming to show people what I have done."

Not that Warner is resting on his laurels. He knows that Test cricket won't get any easier, although the pitches might, and working at the top of the order requires intense concentration against quality attacks. He had a few moments of luck in Hobart and he is well aware of the challenges that will arise if he retains his spot in the side.

"There were some patches where I played at balls that I don't really need to," he said. "I'm still learning. At the end of the day, the next game, whatever it is, I've got to be a bit more cautious and more tight in my defence and hopefully I can keep playing my natural game.

"My mood is always going to be the same when I go out there and to achieve a milestone like that is always fantastic. But at the end of the day we lost and it's disappointing to be out there with eight runs to go and not get across the line."

It was a remarkable achievement in itself for Warner to get Australia so close to victory. When he was joined by the No.11, Nathan Lyon, Australia still needed 42 runs for victory. Warner refused to hog the strike and backed Lyon, who played some good shots but also survived two perilously close lbw calls, and in the end Lyon survived for 43 minutes before he was bowled by Doug Bracewell.

"It was our decision and 100% on backing my team-mate," Warner said. "No matter who it is, still going to back him. Every run was crucial. I batted with Nathan in Zimbabwe this year and he hit the running runs over there and we had to get 30 runs there as well. He's a fantastic person in general and was laughing and carrying on a little bit out there today and at the end of the day it's what happens. Doug Bracewell bowled well and it shouldn't have come down to Nathan there at the end anyway."

Warner battled a back injury in the later stages of his innings, receiving attention from the physio Alex Kountouris several times. However he was confident the problem would not cause him any long-term trouble.

"After I dived back in for a run-out chance I then played a pull shot and the right side of my back sort of seized up a little bit and I couldn't bend down but I don't think they took much notice of what happened so they didn't bounce me too much," he said after the match. "Obviously some of the drugs the physio gave me settled in and it's okay at the moment. I should be fine."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • kan on December 15, 2011, 22:28 GMT

    Warner is looking upto Sehwag as idol, Ponting is looking upto Tendulkar and Dravid for inspiration, it used to be other way round in Australian era when players from every other team wanted to be like an Aussie

  • Kaze on December 14, 2011, 13:38 GMT

    Lol so many responses to my comment. I never said that that Warner has thoroughly proven himself what I am saying is that as a start he has already achieved what Sehwag hasn't. On a better track Warner would have had a double hundred easy.

  • Randolph on December 14, 2011, 12:10 GMT

    Fair to say that Warner is an absolute star already and makes the likes of Strauss and Cook look second-rate. @Jose Puliampatta - if he gets more tips from Sehwag that would be great for his confidence and knowledge!

  • Ashley on December 14, 2011, 9:17 GMT

    Not only does Sehwag not score with the pressures on but have you seen Tendulkars record in a 2nd innings runchase when the wickets are tougher. Tendulkar is the ultimate flat track bully and goes missing when the conditions are tougher. Look at his performance in England this year.

  • John on December 14, 2011, 4:47 GMT

    Snowflake - An average of 75.53 from 15 first class matches doesnt sound hit and miss to me...

  • Roo on December 14, 2011, 4:32 GMT

    Quite humorous reading comments on a player who has only played 2 Tests... Get real everyone... Lets wait & see after 10-20 Tests where he is heading... In Test cricket in takes time - it is the nature of the beast... But current form is important & he is in form... 4 innings as an opener, with 2 not outs... An impressive start... But that is all it is atm...

  • Bilal on December 14, 2011, 2:06 GMT

    An excellent fielder and an even better slugger in short version of the game. Outrageously exposing the last man, Lyon, to face 5 to 3 deliveries in the last few overs when 30 odd runs were required is an unforgivable crime. Frankly speaking, he is not ready for test cricket. Better off framing his test century in gold and stick to T20 and ODI till he finds out that test cricket not only requires, patience and technique but also a little brain.

  • Raghupathy on December 14, 2011, 1:44 GMT

    @BravoBravo - Dude I never said anything about Warner not being a good player. All I had said was since he was already well settled at the crease, he need not have taken singles in the first delivery of the over. And what is this stupid argument of bringing SRT in this. So in a way you are implying that what Warner did was somewhat similar to what Sachin did in SA. Also India's game against South Africa was already a lost case, whereas Australia could have clinched a win.

  • sunil on December 14, 2011, 1:11 GMT

    Warner is Sehwag in making, he will be a brutal force of future. Being an Indian I wish him best against all the teams except india lol... It felt so good when he tweeted that "he was watching Sehwag on his way to 219. Only True champions does that. Good luck Warner you played like a true champ...

  • P on December 14, 2011, 0:14 GMT

    Usefulness of Warner over long term does not really depend on him but quality of Australian middle order. Sehwag retains his place because of strong Indian middle order. Both Warner and Sehwag are hit or miss batsmen. A team can only use them if they can afford to lose them cheaply. Otherwise, they may become huge liability on the fortunes of their respective countries.

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