Australia v Sri Lanka, CB Series 1st final, Brisbane March 4, 2012

Warner corrects his ODI anomaly

He has conquered the Twenty20 format, he has surprised some with his effectiveness in Tests, and now David Warner has finally sorted out the confusion about why he had not played that big ODI innings

Until tonight, David Warner's ODI career was an anomaly. He had scored two superlative Test centuries despite limited first-class experience (only 17 games, including six Tests), he had set the Twenty20 world alight, but the one-day international game remained unconquered. He had played 18 games before today for just 405 runs.

Warner nearly did not play the first final. On statistics alone, he would have been the choice to make way for the returning captain Michael Clarke. Cricket does not work on statistics alone, though. Australia stuck with Warner. They knew he could win a match off his bat alone. They knew he could play above the game around him. They were right. Warner responded with the eighth-highest maiden century in the history of ODIs. Six of the seven above him came against Bangladesh, Zimbabwe or Associates, with the other against New Zealand.

Warner has always challenged logic. He was a Twenty20 showman who watched balls sail into the stands with his hand on his helmet, and hardly played first-class cricket. Then came the Tests, and all you wanted to ask was: where the bloody hell were ya? It remained confounding, though - a bit like it was with Virender Sehwag a few years ago - that this man had the two extremes figured out and was struggling with the middle path.

"It is cricket, isn't it? The way I play I am going to come off sometimes, and sometimes not," Warner said of the phenomenon. Perhaps his reputation hurt him. Perhaps he wanted to dominate a bit too early. Like with Sehwag, you knew it would not be too long before Warner would say hello to this format too.

After he scored that whirlwind Test hundred at the WACA, Warner said that he had been worried because the runs had not been coming for him in recent times. He did not feel any such nerves today, despite a slow start to his ODI career. "At the end of the day, I didn't feel any pressure at all," Warner said after Australia's victory at the Gabba. "I backed myself, my instincts and how I play. I went out there with the same attitude, to get the team off to a good start, and I did. Me and Matt [Matthew Wade] put on a 100-run partnership, which was fantastic. At the end of the day it is cricket, and I am thoroughly enjoying it still."

Australian conditions, which offer movement for longer than has become the norm in ODI cricket, perhaps require a more circumspect approach at the top, especially with two new balls. Warner built a solid foundation today, not going out of his way to hit boundaries. It was also the time when the pitch was at its freshest. The ball jagged around, but it helped that Matthew Wade ran away at the top.

"Obviously the first 50 runs were a bit scratchy," Warner said. "I felt that I didn't really hit one ball off the middle, but by then I knew I had to keep going, with Matthew. I had to be there at the end. I knew in the middle period if I kept going and got a big hundred, we would get 300."

Warner did make a change to his mindset in that he wanted to bat through the 50 overs. "We have always said that one of the top four batters has to bat through because then we'll get 300," Warner said. "Today I had a job to do. That was my role, and I was the set batsman. With the Powerplays I had to bat my normal way, and I did that, and when Michael [Clarke] came in he said to me, 'You try to be there till the 46-47th over, and I did that.' It was a conscious effort from me to stay there through the 50 overs, and it put us in a great position."

Once Warner got in, he sizzled. The middle overs and spread fields did not seem to matter. The bowlers were not safe, nor were the umpires, and the crowd too had to be alert. The two shots that often stand out for Warner are his pulls and cuts in front of square, which become important when the pitch is slow, as it was tonight. Warner kept hitting those shots once he had reached the middle part of the innings.

The persistence with a potential matchwinner has paid off for Australia, but Warner strained his groin too, while turning back for a second in the 45th over, and it is "very very" sore at the moment.

Warner's performance should have set up a one-sided win for Australia. That they did not win it so convincingly is a different matter, but Warner brought back memories of numerous ODIs that Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden took away from the opposition, something Australia have missed since their retirements.

Edited by Dustin Silgardo

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 6, 2012, 0:52 GMT

    @ Aniket Ranade Read it again, it says the eighth highest MAIDEN century. NOT the 8th best score.

  • Andrew on March 5, 2012, 23:40 GMT

    @MaruthuDelft - whilst I tend to think that Sehwag will continue to dwindle over the next few years, I think it is foolish to trash someone with his record. I think the IPL has done him no favours as he doesn't seem as focussed as he once was, however, once upon a time he had a defence technique that was a mirror image of SRTs. If he can rediscover that, he will again perform well at the top level. Yes he seems to lack some fight atm, but as I said anybody that averages 50+ in test cricket over a long period - deserves some respect. @Philip_Gnana - good comments, although I think it won't be too long before sides bowl spin to Warner at the start of the innings in all forms of the game.

  • Greg on March 5, 2012, 22:56 GMT

    @Aniket Ranade. Your attention to detail is lacking.... it says "by an australian". I love how heaps of ppl are quick to try and jump on the editors and writers on cricinfo yet are often wrong anyways..

  • Varnendra on March 5, 2012, 17:05 GMT

    My god. There are people who still believe Sehwag is good. He doesn't fight. All his achievements came when the radar was missing him. Even after 2 triples people didn't take him seriously.After the second Morne Morkel said it was ridiculous meaning 'yes he has done it but he can't believe it'. After the 293 people thought he might have something and the radar was reset. After that he never scored against good teams. But it is the lack of grit you should have observed. Boycott said 'yes 2 triples but he is not good'. The best was one reader predicted in Cricinfo 'he will not score 219 in the entire seiries down under' after his ODI double century. Don't you have intelligence? He is not knit for fight. But Warner must be good. He came through the Australian system. Sehwag would never have made it to first class cricket in Australia.

  • B on March 5, 2012, 15:37 GMT

    @Philip_Gnana: pot noodle cricket! I like that, might borrow it if you don't mind.

  • Matthew on March 5, 2012, 13:12 GMT

    @Aniket Ranade Learn to read; it says the 'eighth-highest MAIDEN century in the history of ODIs'.

  • Philip on March 5, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    Warner has not been a non-contributor but has given his all. Sides are still trying to find his week points in how to bowl to him. A very good performance in how to play till the end. That is what you will be expecting from an excellent batsman to play the full 50 overs. The Indian supporters seem to be still unable to take in the defeats and the bad performances of their team barring a few good ones in between. I feel sad that this great nation has been let down by their seniors hogging their places. They are better of in the IPL I would say. Clarke sure must have been have kittens the way SL took up the challenge and would not go away. The Aussie spirit that is instilled in SL I would say. Hope the series goes in to the final game so that it would be a proper final. I personally do not agree with the best of three finals it just should be the final. T20? what T20. ODI is doing great and so it should be. T20 is entertainment or pot noodle cricket ideal for the retired. Surrey UK

  • Manesh on March 5, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    Technically he is not top class but he is caching in his current form. I donot think can survive like Ponting or Gilly even if he is aggressive as them.

  • Dummy4 on March 5, 2012, 11:23 GMT

    This is FACTUALLY wrong!...This is NOT the 8th best score in ODIS...

  • Roo on March 5, 2012, 7:00 GMT

    Warners torn hamstring/groin in the 45th over sort of spoils a brilliant innings - great batting, but will probably miss the important 2nd match & 3rd if required... Either way, he has secured his position in all formats of the game & for the 1st ODI match in the WI tour in 11 days time... Warner again shows the importance of building match winning scores as an opener & will put pressure on anyone else trying to take his position away...

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