South Africa in Australia, 2012-13 November 6, 2012

Aggressive Warner won't back down

26

David Warner has vowed to attack South Africa's powerful pace line-up when the first Test begins at the Gabba on Friday. Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander are the No.1 and No.2 Test bowlers in the world, according to the ICC rankings, and Morne Morkel is also in the top ten, but Warner is looking forward to taking them on over the next few weeks at venues such as the Gabba and the WACA, where the ball comes on to the bat.

Warner has not faced the South Africans in Test cricket but he has met them in the shorter formats, notably in January 2009 when he burst on to the international scene with 89 from 43 balls in a Twenty20 international at the MCG. However, he hasn't had quite the same impact against them in more recent encounters, and his only half-century in last year's limited-overs matches in South Africa was a slow 74 in a Port Elizabeth ODI as Australia struggled in a big chase.

Since then, Warner has made his mark in Test cricket with two contrasting centuries last summer, a patient and subdued 123 not out against New Zealand on a very difficult Hobart pitch, and a pyrotechnic 180 from 159 balls against India at the WACA. He believes his best option against Steyn and Co will be closer to that Perth performance than his stonewalling Bellerive innings.

"On grounds like this and the WACA I think it can be [the best approach], because if you play your shots the ball can go anywhere," Warner said in Brisbane ahead of the first Test. "If you hit them, you hit them. If you don't, they're going to be flying all over the place. The thing for me is being positive in the intent that I show out there - no half-hearted shots, be committed to what I want to do, have my game-plan structured and make sure I stick to it."

Although Warner has the potential to give Australia a flying start, he will also need to be aware of the dangers of the moving ball at the Gabba, a venue at which his only previous first-class experience was his Test debut against New Zealand last year. However, Jacques Kallis is the only member of South Africa's attack who has played first-class cricket at the Gabba - a pair of tour games in the 1990s - and Warner said even an attack like South Africa's was not infallible.

"They've got to turn up and bowl, don't they? You can say they've got three of the best bowlers in the world, even Jacques makes it four of the best bowlers in the world. They've still got to be able to bowl," Warner said. "On the day they've got to be ready and they've got to be going. Our batsmen, for ourselves, we could be red-hot out there. They could be bowling to red-hot batsmen on the day. You just don't know, that's how fickle this game is. But definitely they're three of the best bowlers in the world and we're up for the challenge and can't wait."

Warner will enter the match with little first-class cricket behind him over the past few months, having had only one Sheffield Shield game since the third Test in the West Indies in April. In that Shield game, against Queensland over the past week, Warner made 2 and 39, but his captain Michael Clarke was confident that an abundance of short-form cricket, including the recent Champions League Twenty20 in South Africa, would not be a major problem for Warner.

"He's batted a lot in the nets, whether it be in South Africa or Australia," Clarke said. "At least he's faced plenty of bowling in conditions similar to what he's going to face. Game time is something that all of us want ... he hit the ball really sweet in the second innings for New South Wales. Again it's important Davey continues to work on his game and doesn't get caught up in the opposition, like all of us."

And although a combative cricketer like Warner cannot help but focus on his opponents, he has also been attending to his own game since joining the Test side. He is confident that his work with his personal batting coach, Trent Woodhill, and Australia's batting mentor, Justin Langer, has helped him focus his attention on the right aspects of his game.

"I'm getting such good support. I'm getting the right advice everywhere," Warner said. "Last year I think I probably listened a lot to too many different people and I was hearing voices in my head. Now I'm just taking in the advice and being selective with what advice I've been given.

"I think the last 12 months for me has been thinking out how I play the game, how can I keep playing this game and keep being successful at this level, in all three forms. That's what I've got to learn, to be a bit more consistent, make sure when I'm scoring runs we're doing well as a team as well."

At the Gabba over the coming week, Warner and Ed Cowan will renew their partnership as Australia's opening pair and while most of the pressure is on Cowan, who was not given a Cricket Australia contract and needs a big score to lock in his place in the side, Warner also wants to continue to show the doubters that he is a Test batsman. And a strong showing against the world's No.1 side would also confirm in his own mind that he belongs in the baggy green.

"This shows me where I am at this level," Warner said. "If I can get on top of these guys and score some runs and do well for our team, I know personally that I'm capable of playing at this level. Team-wise we can see where we are on the world scale."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • RagTagTeam on November 8, 2012, 13:31 GMT

    @CricHorizon I think his average of 42 over 16 innings, as a young opener, is enough to say otherwise. Or maybe the Indian attack just was that poor. Great test for the lad!

    At least he's not some egotistical maniac who's convinced he's gods gift to the cricketing world...

  • Beertjie on November 7, 2012, 20:38 GMT

    Good luck Davey! Morkel and Philander are the ones to avoid, so get to the other end quick. It's Steyn for you mate; carve him up.

  • ozwriter on November 7, 2012, 20:17 GMT

    warner = walking wicket except when he gets lucky

  • LordKratos on November 7, 2012, 13:20 GMT

    Kallis will have your head for breakfast son

  • Meety on November 7, 2012, 1:19 GMT

    @Marcio on (November 07 2012, 00:34 AM GMT) - I thought Warner will only have to play three innings????

  • bobagorof on November 7, 2012, 0:43 GMT

    So much negativity towards Warner - and a lot of it from some Indian posters, I see. I wonder if they're still having sour grapes from last summer. I'm a little disappointed to hear that Warner, like Lyon, was inundated with advice upon joining the Test side and that muddled his game. Of course everyone wants to be helpful, but this seems to be a trend - Hughes, Lyon, Warner. Hopefully he's able to sift through it all and take just the parts that will improve his game, while keeping the fundamentals that have got him there in the first place.

  • Marcio on November 7, 2012, 0:34 GMT

    Let's face it. Warner will have no better opportunity than this to prove himself than this series. He doesn't mind the fastbowlers, especially in Australian conditions. If he can at least get a century and a couple of 50s in the 6 innings he will play, he will have written himself into a team for some time - and silenced the many critics. The thing about Warner is that he can demoralise opponents, and really put them on the back foot. Ian Chappell pointed this out. Even a 30 or 40 from him can really put the team on top. It's not just about the average, but how the runs are made.

  • Chris_P on November 6, 2012, 23:55 GMT

    Do people even read what is stated. Nowhere does he say he will switch hit. In fact in all his tests to date I can't recall him ever switch hitting once. That shot he leaves for the hit & giggle garbage where it belongs. Try reading articles, people, before planting foot in mouth. All he has to do is play the way he has to date. That is why he was selected, that is why he has gone so well, he is a tough little character, with a solid mental approach.

  • Cpt.Meanster on November 6, 2012, 21:06 GMT

    Warner is a hit or miss player. He's following in the footsteps of his GURU - VEERU Sehwag. A reckless player no doubt but he does have a place in Australia's team. As an opener he could provide the blistering starts and set up a foundation for their middle order to work with. If chasing a target, Warner could set up the chase well. But at the same time, he's a walking wicket. He needs to get rid of a few shots that works well in T20s. Test cricket needs an old fashioned 'TORTOISE' attitude. He needs to LEAVE the ball well and avoid reverse sweeping recklessly.

  • on November 6, 2012, 16:37 GMT

    better luck next time........

  • RagTagTeam on November 8, 2012, 13:31 GMT

    @CricHorizon I think his average of 42 over 16 innings, as a young opener, is enough to say otherwise. Or maybe the Indian attack just was that poor. Great test for the lad!

    At least he's not some egotistical maniac who's convinced he's gods gift to the cricketing world...

  • Beertjie on November 7, 2012, 20:38 GMT

    Good luck Davey! Morkel and Philander are the ones to avoid, so get to the other end quick. It's Steyn for you mate; carve him up.

  • ozwriter on November 7, 2012, 20:17 GMT

    warner = walking wicket except when he gets lucky

  • LordKratos on November 7, 2012, 13:20 GMT

    Kallis will have your head for breakfast son

  • Meety on November 7, 2012, 1:19 GMT

    @Marcio on (November 07 2012, 00:34 AM GMT) - I thought Warner will only have to play three innings????

  • bobagorof on November 7, 2012, 0:43 GMT

    So much negativity towards Warner - and a lot of it from some Indian posters, I see. I wonder if they're still having sour grapes from last summer. I'm a little disappointed to hear that Warner, like Lyon, was inundated with advice upon joining the Test side and that muddled his game. Of course everyone wants to be helpful, but this seems to be a trend - Hughes, Lyon, Warner. Hopefully he's able to sift through it all and take just the parts that will improve his game, while keeping the fundamentals that have got him there in the first place.

  • Marcio on November 7, 2012, 0:34 GMT

    Let's face it. Warner will have no better opportunity than this to prove himself than this series. He doesn't mind the fastbowlers, especially in Australian conditions. If he can at least get a century and a couple of 50s in the 6 innings he will play, he will have written himself into a team for some time - and silenced the many critics. The thing about Warner is that he can demoralise opponents, and really put them on the back foot. Ian Chappell pointed this out. Even a 30 or 40 from him can really put the team on top. It's not just about the average, but how the runs are made.

  • Chris_P on November 6, 2012, 23:55 GMT

    Do people even read what is stated. Nowhere does he say he will switch hit. In fact in all his tests to date I can't recall him ever switch hitting once. That shot he leaves for the hit & giggle garbage where it belongs. Try reading articles, people, before planting foot in mouth. All he has to do is play the way he has to date. That is why he was selected, that is why he has gone so well, he is a tough little character, with a solid mental approach.

  • Cpt.Meanster on November 6, 2012, 21:06 GMT

    Warner is a hit or miss player. He's following in the footsteps of his GURU - VEERU Sehwag. A reckless player no doubt but he does have a place in Australia's team. As an opener he could provide the blistering starts and set up a foundation for their middle order to work with. If chasing a target, Warner could set up the chase well. But at the same time, he's a walking wicket. He needs to get rid of a few shots that works well in T20s. Test cricket needs an old fashioned 'TORTOISE' attitude. He needs to LEAVE the ball well and avoid reverse sweeping recklessly.

  • on November 6, 2012, 16:37 GMT

    better luck next time........

  • Rajesh_india_1990 on November 6, 2012, 14:36 GMT

    He is neither sehwag nor adam gilchrist...he is 'Switch Hit and out' Warner..already one wicket down for australia..:-)

  • CricketMaan on November 6, 2012, 13:46 GMT

    What does he think? Steyn, Morkel and Phil are not Vinay kumars and Ishant Sharmas..neither Tim Southees or Bracewells (though these two are better than Indian trundlers)..You better watchout Warner boy..this ain't IPL!!

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on November 6, 2012, 13:43 GMT

    Ha ha ha, yeah sure - switch-hit them all the way Warner... just like you said you would against England in the last Natwest series. Worked a treat didn't it... If someone like Hughes is at the other end, Clarke and Ponting are really going to have it tough - having to play duel roles as both openers (because they'll have to come out so early in the innings anyway) and middle-order accumulators.

  • sawifan on November 6, 2012, 13:26 GMT

    @CricHorizon. I agree with what u say about a selector not beig too chummy with his team-mates, but Clarke is also the captain and i think he brings the best out of players with his friendly demeanour. He dropped Punter from the ODI team, so i think he can handle hard decisions. I think his friendship with Warnie could prove to be a great asset to this team.

  • Hammond on November 6, 2012, 12:53 GMT

    I was actually in Blacktown Hospital Emergency when Warner went berserk against India last year. I waddled out in my gown with my drip just so I could watch the carnage on the TV in the waiting room. I'm not sure he can keep that up against Steyn & Morkel but if he pulls it off it truly will be remarkable viewing.

  • Clan_McLachlan on November 6, 2012, 12:12 GMT

    Much like Quiney and Cowan, Warner is only in the team because Aus are stacking the top order with lefties to counter Steyn.

  • ozwriter on November 6, 2012, 11:24 GMT

    warner will probably keep his place as he is the sehwag of australia. cowan though should count his days. 150 runs this season at an average of 21 may be foretelling the rest of his summer.

  • ozwriter on November 6, 2012, 11:15 GMT

    as a selector, i do not think it is appropriate for the captain to be all chum chum with the players. its david warner, not "davey". if he is your best mate you will never be able to make the tough decision of dropping him when he ain't performing.

  • cricmatters on November 6, 2012, 11:03 GMT

    It would be interesting to watch how Warner goes against one of the best attacks in Test Cricket. He could be quite entertaining like Sehwag if it clicks however his captain and team would like him to stay a bit longer in the crease so the middle order is not exposed to the new ball too early. I still think injury to Watson is a big blow for Australia and has given SA an edge over Australia.

  • HawK89 on November 6, 2012, 11:01 GMT

    I think it's the right way to go about it. You can't let top bowlers get on top of you, or else you get no where. Put on pressure and make them think twice about their bowling. Great series, can't wait.

  • ballonbat on November 6, 2012, 10:56 GMT

    The Protea bowlers are going to expose the Aussie top order batsman. Ponting will step in, as he has become accustomed to doing recently with three down for next to nothing. I'll be surprised if any of the top three make a 50 in either innings at the Gabba. It will up to Ponting, Clarke and Hussey to make the runs. Philander will get Warner out and Morkel will dismiss Cowan and Quiney cheaply. Proteas to win the match in four days.

  • Gordo85 on November 6, 2012, 10:52 GMT

    Oh well I guess some players never mature then. If you keep on being too agressive and it costs you you only have yourself to blame. I would love to see Warner and Quiney open together and have Cowan at three but that may not happen. There is nothing wrong with going a little bit slower than you normally would. Not to mention David that you are not in great form at the moment and we have seen how you go up and down a little too often. And it is no good thinking that you are one of the best batsmen in the world because lets be honest you are not. You still have to bat don't you?

  • Chark_attack on November 6, 2012, 10:38 GMT

    While I am not a huge fan of having an explosive batsman as an opener in longer forms of the game I do belive that warners best option is to go out swinging as that is his natural game anything else and he will be in trouble.

  • jonesy2 on November 6, 2012, 10:34 GMT

    the thing is, if warner makes runs, he is going to make them at a strike rate of over 80. against NZ at hobart is the most ridiculous swinging conditions on a green pitch he smashed his half century in about 60 odd balls and hughes was still on about 20

  • BackOfALength504 on November 6, 2012, 10:26 GMT

    Very dangerous batter on his day. I think he has what it takes to keep a place in the side. Being consistant over the next 3 test will surely cement him a place. Himself and a fully fit Shane Watson could prove a handful for our Saffer bowlers, though I forsee a brilliantly poised series. Most specially between the #4 batsmen of each team. i.e Kallis & Ponting.

  • Pappu_bhai on November 6, 2012, 10:25 GMT

    But He is not good enough against steyn.I feel he should be a sure bet in Twenty 20 and sometimes in One day.In test they need a better opener.Like Hayden/Langer.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Pappu_bhai on November 6, 2012, 10:25 GMT

    But He is not good enough against steyn.I feel he should be a sure bet in Twenty 20 and sometimes in One day.In test they need a better opener.Like Hayden/Langer.

  • BackOfALength504 on November 6, 2012, 10:26 GMT

    Very dangerous batter on his day. I think he has what it takes to keep a place in the side. Being consistant over the next 3 test will surely cement him a place. Himself and a fully fit Shane Watson could prove a handful for our Saffer bowlers, though I forsee a brilliantly poised series. Most specially between the #4 batsmen of each team. i.e Kallis & Ponting.

  • jonesy2 on November 6, 2012, 10:34 GMT

    the thing is, if warner makes runs, he is going to make them at a strike rate of over 80. against NZ at hobart is the most ridiculous swinging conditions on a green pitch he smashed his half century in about 60 odd balls and hughes was still on about 20

  • Chark_attack on November 6, 2012, 10:38 GMT

    While I am not a huge fan of having an explosive batsman as an opener in longer forms of the game I do belive that warners best option is to go out swinging as that is his natural game anything else and he will be in trouble.

  • Gordo85 on November 6, 2012, 10:52 GMT

    Oh well I guess some players never mature then. If you keep on being too agressive and it costs you you only have yourself to blame. I would love to see Warner and Quiney open together and have Cowan at three but that may not happen. There is nothing wrong with going a little bit slower than you normally would. Not to mention David that you are not in great form at the moment and we have seen how you go up and down a little too often. And it is no good thinking that you are one of the best batsmen in the world because lets be honest you are not. You still have to bat don't you?

  • ballonbat on November 6, 2012, 10:56 GMT

    The Protea bowlers are going to expose the Aussie top order batsman. Ponting will step in, as he has become accustomed to doing recently with three down for next to nothing. I'll be surprised if any of the top three make a 50 in either innings at the Gabba. It will up to Ponting, Clarke and Hussey to make the runs. Philander will get Warner out and Morkel will dismiss Cowan and Quiney cheaply. Proteas to win the match in four days.

  • HawK89 on November 6, 2012, 11:01 GMT

    I think it's the right way to go about it. You can't let top bowlers get on top of you, or else you get no where. Put on pressure and make them think twice about their bowling. Great series, can't wait.

  • cricmatters on November 6, 2012, 11:03 GMT

    It would be interesting to watch how Warner goes against one of the best attacks in Test Cricket. He could be quite entertaining like Sehwag if it clicks however his captain and team would like him to stay a bit longer in the crease so the middle order is not exposed to the new ball too early. I still think injury to Watson is a big blow for Australia and has given SA an edge over Australia.

  • ozwriter on November 6, 2012, 11:15 GMT

    as a selector, i do not think it is appropriate for the captain to be all chum chum with the players. its david warner, not "davey". if he is your best mate you will never be able to make the tough decision of dropping him when he ain't performing.

  • ozwriter on November 6, 2012, 11:24 GMT

    warner will probably keep his place as he is the sehwag of australia. cowan though should count his days. 150 runs this season at an average of 21 may be foretelling the rest of his summer.