Melbourne Stars v Sydney Thunder, BBL, Melbourne December 17, 2011

Warner ton powers Thunder home


Shane Warne dominated the build-up, David Warner dominated the match. Sydney Thunder's captain courageous, Warner, spanked an unbeaten century after sparkling in the field to lead his team to a six-wicket victory over the Melbourne Stars in the Twenty20 Big Bash League encounter at the MCG.

Combative but also imaginative, Warner marshalled his team intelligently to restrict the Stars to 7 for 153 on a pacey surface. He then crashed no fewer than six sixes in an innings of belligerence, peaking at the moment Warne entered the attack in front of a 23,496-strong Melbourne crowd that has adored him for nearly 20 years.

Warner chose that over to launch into the most monstrous six over long-on, and heaved another in Warne's second. He would bowl only two overs for 19 runs, no doubt restricted by the burns a cooking accident had inflicted on his bowling hand.

The Thunder's bowlers had given Warner a decidedly manageable target to aim at with a stolid ensemble, highlighted by the bowling of the unheralded Scott Coyte and Luke Doran. Doug Bollinger grabbed two wickets though he struggled for rhythm and speed.

Chris Gayle accompanied Warner to the middle for the chase, an opening combination of awe-inspiring power. However Gayle's stay was brief and painful - he was struck a blow on the gloves by the sharper-than-you-think James Faulkner, before being yorked by the left-armer's slower ball before the first over was complete.

Warner was thus left a free stage on which to perform, which he did with all the confidence of a man who must surely now be an integral part of the Australian Test team against India. Of the Stars' bowlers only Faulkner escaped punishment, as Warner biffed them in a display that showed how far he had come as a batsman since his international Twenty20 debut against South Africa at the MCG in 2009. The England bowlers Luke Wright and Jade Dernbach went for a combined 71 from their eight overs.

The only other talking point was the sight of wicketkeeper Matthew Wade wringing his hand after a painful blow on the gloves - his is a set of digits the national selectors would prefer not to be harmed while Tim Paine convalesces.

A speedy, skiddy pitch had greeted the Stars batsmen after Warner sent them in upon winning the toss - a task performed by Elizabeth Hurley - and the pace offered value for strokes as well as possibilities for the bowlers. Bollinger struck first, causing Rob Quiney to miscue to mid-on, while Wade managed only 14 before top-edging a Doran delivery slanted across him to short fine leg.

David Hussey and George Bailey added 41 and seemed to be setting the hosts on the path to a substantial tally, but Bollinger found a way past the flailing bat of the Tasmanian captain. Hussey's striking was typically clean and powerful, including one Bollinger delivery swung many rows back into the Great Southern Stand.

Coyte was delivering a fine spell, and his wickets either side of Hussey's run-out kept the Stars in check. Hussey was clearly aggrieved at his own misjudgement, when he chanced a second run on the arm of Warner and lost conclusively.

Wright added some useful late runs with a bevy of skimming blows, but the final total felt middling at best. Thanks to Warner, it was ultimately made to look considerably less than that.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on December 19, 2011, 23:39 GMT

    @hyclass - re Hughes v Warner, point taken. On Justin Langer, I think he is the new Teflon Tim. Also - I am genuinely curious about the question I posed about Warner?

  • Christopher on December 19, 2011, 10:52 GMT

    I think if one point should strike all cricket observers,its the extreme reticence over the period reviewed by Argus,to give any credence to the traditional historical marker of performance of the individual over time. Suddenly,a country that shunned the cult of celebrity and hype and demanded results before accolades,has been convinced to abandon the core principles of its intelligence.Under these auspices,Marsh whose history of back injuries had limited him to 4 games a season over the last 3 years,was selected for Tests.He lasted 2.5. Cummins,who at 17 played his 3rd 1st class game in the Shield Final,was out with injury shortly afterwards. He lasted 1 Test before succumbing to injury. Watson,who spent the better part of his Test life struggling with injury due to what for him passes as over bowling,was again being promoted as a longer bowling option. This resulted in all too familiar injury. Ignoring cumulative and long standing evidence is the pastime of fools and a CA signature.

  • Christopher on December 19, 2011, 6:55 GMT

    @Meety...I was answering a specific piece of hype in a particular blog regarding the conversion rate of Warner and his current standing.Hughes was the best possible example because of his youth and the fact that his record after 3 Tests in both Test and 1st class cricket outstripped Warners.Far from trying to promote Hughes,I was seeking to bring balance to what has been,not just with Warner,but with many Australian cricketers,a runaway train of hype.Hughes has fallen far over an extended period.If it was to happen to Warner,Id like to see far more compassion from the cricketing public than has shown to guys like Hughes and Smith.@RandyOz..there are the strongest indications from what took place in SA that little had changed with team at that point.Despite Argus,the old CA administration were still in charge,meaning that in principle,the environment was the same.There has been some talk about Langers involvement as batting coach.Given the results of the entire team,id say hes no better

  • Andrew on December 18, 2011, 23:29 GMT

    @hyclass - mate, I know that Warner has to tick a few more boxes to prove he is the real deal, but I don't see why you have to knock him, he has built a strong case for inclusion in the Oz side, & IMO you can only score runs against the bowlers you're up against. He is doing so, this pitc was described as skiddy, so it wasn't a flat track. I was a staunch supporter of Hughes - but the poor guy needs to go back to the beginning. I don't see the need to compare Warner to Hughes, superficially I have always thought Warner looked tighter than Hughes, just didn't have the head space to score frequently in FC cricket or tests, he HAS worked on this & I genuinely believe he COULD/SHOULD evolve into a very very good test batsmen, early days but he should be enjoyable to watch. Just curious, if Warner was to collect a double ton on Boxing Day - would that prove anything positive to you about Warner? For what its worth if I was the selector I'd seriously consider a Warner/Rogers opening combo!

  • Ahmad on December 18, 2011, 19:05 GMT

    where is GAYLE power now, 4 Runs? thats it? this is just the first game. so we will see.

  • Randolph on December 18, 2011, 13:05 GMT

    @hyclass, you mean like the flat pitch Hughes scored his hundred on in Sri Lanka, based on which you tried to convince us that Hughes was back and fixed his batting, and that it wasn't a conincidence that Nielsen had gone? Can you never give credit where credit is due? Warner produced a brilliant hundred which no one else got anywhere near (closet 56), he has more than proved that he deserves a spot in the side over Hughes. Hughes, incredibly, got out the exact same way 4 times in a row, caught at second slip. I believe Hughes will be an awesome opener in the future but needs a year in Shield to get his head straight. He is not even close to Warner at the moment. FYI the MCG isn't exactly a 'small ground'!

  • Hritam on December 18, 2011, 12:54 GMT

    Just stunned by Warner's ton, reminds me of a certain Adam Gilchrist. He has to open the batting for Aus right away with Watson. Mike Hussey and Ponting has to retire. Dave Hussey is stil good and Clarke is okay as a captain. Khawaja, Marsh. Ferguson, and Travis Birt should be given more chances. Fast bowling department should be manned by Cummins, Pattinson, Siddle and Christian (Hilfenhaus is 5th option). The spinners should include Hauritz, Lyon, O'Keefe. I also think Ben Dunk should be keeper, he is much better than Paine. His limited-overs statistics show for it. Let Haddin keep in Tests.

  • Christopher on December 18, 2011, 11:05 GMT

    @Nathan Lynch...Warners average for NSW is 46. Thats his actual record in the strong Australian competition. He made his last hundred for his state against the ever weak Sth Australian side on a small regional ground and flat pitch. He made another on a similar ground and pitch in Zimbabwe in a game where Finch passed 150.He has a history of making runs against weak attacks on flat pitches.His 100 v NZ while meritorious was laced with luck.When Hughes arrived in England in 09 before the Lions game,he had 9 hundreds and 7 fifties at an average and strike rate in both Test and 1st cricket above 60.His previous 10 games had yielded 8 centuries and 1637 runs at 96.He had shown no problem with the short ball or outside off stump and pounded Steyn,Ntini,Morkel,Kallis and Harris to all parts on their home pitch.Nielsen dismantled his batting before the series began and then dumped him when it failed,as it surely had to.I say this to balance the hype of Warners beginning against known facts.

  • Chris on December 18, 2011, 8:54 GMT

    johntycodes I think you're talking about Michael Clarke who I don't remember scoring a single hundred without being dropped at least once.

  • Chris on December 18, 2011, 8:41 GMT

    Dismayed are you referring to T20 or Test or both? (Like everyone else, I don't care about ODI's) I too would love to see Warner, Watson, Wade, Faulkner, O'Keefe, Pattinson, Cummins and Lyon in the Aussie team, but I'd like to see Lynn, Patterson, Nevill (even in the same team as Wade), Copeland, Butterworth, Harris, Cutting and Coulter-Nile in there as well. We have a lot of great bowlers (why is Siddle still there?) yet not many great batsmen coming through other than Warner and Watson. Marsh looks good, but I can see him doing another Marcus North where his career starts well but then he'll just be carried for far too long (I hope I'm wrong about him).

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