New South Wales v Queensland, Ryobi Cup, Sydney October 17, 2013

Warner's riposte answered by Bulls


Queensland 5 for 256 (Lynn 78*, Khawaja 63, Peirson 52, Lyon 2-33) beat New South Wales 253 (Warner 139, Hopes 4-38) by 5 wickets

David Warner's fierce response to selection whispers that he is far from an assured starter in Australia's Ashes batting order was not enough to prevent Queensland from hurrying to a five-wicket victory in which a trio of discarded internationals all played their part.

Nathan Hauritz, James Hopes and Usman Khawaja all weathered Warner's 139 before responding with economy, penetration and elegance respectively, allowing the Bulls to win with six overs to spare at a wind and ash-swept North Sydney Oval. They were ably assisted by a fluent Chris Lynn, while Jason Floros shrugged off one Warner bludgeon onto the roof of the Bob Stand with a timely cameo after Nathan Lyon had nabbed Khawaja and Chris Moller with a pair of delectable off breaks.

On the morning of the match, Warner awoke to read that two places in Australia's Brisbane top six are considered up for debate by the selectors, the vacant No. 6 spot and also his own opening position. He was unhappy about this and batted with controlled fury, then declined to speak about his innings. The stand-in captain, Steve Smith, was left to wax lyrical about his Test team-mate.

"He was a bit slow early on but he struck the ball nicely today. He was disappointed with the way he got out - that was the start of a little collapse - but he as pretty happy with the way he it them," Smith said of Warner. "I hope he's back now and he can go off in the next couple of games as well. He's a quality player, obviously he has been for the last four or five years, so he's a pretty important member for our squad."

To begin with, Warner fought himself almost as much as some tidy new-ball offerings from Matthew Gale and Michael Neser, looking decidedly scratchy as he battled a period he had not survived in three previous matches that reaped scores of 4, 0 and 17. But after his first 20 balls the runs began to flow, through shots both orthodox and improvised, including one switch-hit to the third-man boundary. Though Warner did not quite middle it, the fact he tried it suggested comfort and confidence.

Watched closely by the selector Rod Marsh and the new Centre of Excellence batting coach Graeme Hick, Warner's assurance contrasted with what was seen at the other end. Peter Nevill struggled for timing until he punched to mid-off with the opening stand at 79, Steve Smith was run out after a mix-up with Warner, through a nifty piece of footwork by Hauritz to deflect the return onto the stumps, and Kurtis Patterson's promising innings ended when he was yorked by Neser. All struggled against Nathan Hauritz, who twirled through his 10 overs for a mere 31 runs.

Through it all, Warner kept his calm, choosing the right balls to despatch and doing so with conviction. He spent a brief nervous phase in the 90s, but reached three figures with a hurried single then an ebullient leap in the air to let out some of the tension that had clearly built up since his narrow escape from a NSW suspension for skipping a grade game with Randwick Petersham. He reached 139 before departing to a catch at long-on, but the rest were unable to carry it on.

Instead it was James Hopes who grasped the critical juncture of the match, scooping three of the last four wickets to round the Blues up for a total well short of the par at North Sydney, even accounting for a surface that offered helpful turn. Lyon would be by far the Blues' most threatening bowler, gaining significant deviation to end Khawaja's stay and even more expansive rip to bowl Moller as he shouldered arms, in what Smith laughingly termed "another ball of the century".

Knowing this, the Bulls went on to target other bowlers, notably Lyon's longtime friend and fellow 2011 Sri Lanka Test debutant Trent Copeland, who gave up 57 runs from six overs. Khawaja's dismissal by spin will not have been lost on Marsh, but his innings was decent evidence of his quiet resolve to regain his Test, which spot he spoke about later.

"Nath was bowling well there, it was one of those ones where he genuinely beat me, beat me for flight and got me out of my crease, he got the best of me there," Khawaja said. "He was the toughest bowler for them, luckily you can only bowl 10 overs in a one-day game so we worked out pretty quick that if we can fend him off we can score easily against the other bowlers.

"It's not rocket science they are picking blokes on form, that's why Chris Rogers is in the team. A few years ago with the old selectors he wouldn't have played. Obviously he has been an outstanding performer in Shield cricket and county cricket and done beautifully.

"I am quite confident in myself, I believe in myself and I believe in God and I am quite happy with where I am right now and I have faith I will play for Australia again, it is just a matter of when. It doesn't need to be rushed, good things come to those who wait. Hopefully I can keep scoring runs again and become a better player."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Graham on October 19, 2013, 0:12 GMT

    xtrafalgarx; Fair point I was only talking about this game though nothing anout Auatralian selection. What's your thoughts on 3 * 50's after so many failures?

  • Gordon on October 18, 2013, 13:17 GMT

    Can someone please tell me why the heck that all these Ryobi One-Day Cup matches are all in Sydney even if a match is played without NSW even playing on the field? Can anybody tell me why and how is this not being biased towards a certain team? I guess this just goes to show what Cricket Australia thinks about all the other state teams after all regardless of how well NSW is playing they get picked anyway. It shows that they mean business Cricket Australia now this is the proof in the pudding as they say. I would love to go and watch a Victoria match to see my bushrangers play in person but no, not the case.

  • James on October 18, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    Shaggy, a hundred after failing god knows how many time isn't good enough from Warner. I will accept Kilnger, because when he doesn't get hundreds he gets decent starts, but a hundred here and there is as good as not converting as well, not good enough.

  • Graham on October 18, 2013, 7:01 GMT

    Mary 786 - I have never put him down I have just described his actual results. If that is put down well then his results are not good enough. I have him in a position where he can take a test spot now we need to find out is he good enough. Im just frustrated at the single minded approach of you and other supporters and Im sure everyone has taken note of this. Did you actually realise Warner got a ton in this game - Do you consider that noteworthy or was Khawaja 60 runs far superior to that?

  • Graham on October 18, 2013, 6:55 GMT

    Sunil_Batra; You ask when will i give Khawaja a chance? Well I give him lots of chances but unlike your one eyed views I also note there are other batsman performing around the country. Perhaps I will give him a chance when you recognise that there are actually other players also putting there hands up for these spots.

  • Graham on October 18, 2013, 6:53 GMT

    To all the Khawaja supporteres read the comments. I think Khawaja is a good player but you guys have painted him out to be as good as Tendulkar. I have him with many in the mix to make the test match, but over-hyping his fifties is starting to get monotonoous. Hyclass - Top scoring with 50 on a road is nothing to write home about as for the howler well the decision was as good as the shot. Simply if he didnt play a stinking shot he would still be in and Im not going to blame the umpire for the stinking shot. I have pointed out before in Cowans tests he has scored a 50 every 5 innings, Khawaja every ten. Since you guys are raving about the 50's he scored have you noticed Klinger is averaging over 100 in 4 games - what puts Khawaja ahead of Klinger. I have also heard comments where Bailey and Finch results in India against an international attack cant be used for test selection yet you will sprout Khawaja knocks in Ryobi.

  • Mariam on October 18, 2013, 6:49 GMT

    Shaggy076 fair enough, i would also like him to convert as well, but all folks are saying that Khawaja has stared well and can hopefully take that into the shield season. I think the frustration is that you always find a way to put Khawaja down and folks may be noticing that

  • Graham on October 18, 2013, 4:26 GMT

    Joseph Langford ; It was a good effort. I'm just sick of the beat up over 3 consecutive 50 scores when other players have actually done better. For mine if he wants to cement a test spot he has to start turning these scores into 100's. He is a good player and in a position to push for the next test, but what we have read on here over the last couple of years would have him in the class of Ricky Ponting. WHy is his decent performances continually singled out whilst the likes of Klinger who has outperformed him for a long time not mentioned.

  • Mariam on October 18, 2013, 1:55 GMT

    @JosephLangford very well said, agree 100%

  • Dummy4 on October 17, 2013, 23:18 GMT

    "through a nifty piece of footwork by Peter Forrest to deflect the return onto the stumps," - that was actually Nathan Hauritz. Forrest did not play in the match.

    "He was disappointed with the way he got out - that was the start of a little collapse" - I'm also worried by this quote from Smith. If he considers 7 for 39 a 'little' collapse maybe he's been playing too much T20? :P

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