Warner repeats Allan Border Medal win

David Warner's enormous improvement as an ODI batsman has lifted him to a second consecutive Allan Border Medal, on a night when Mitchell Starc's outstanding spells in Sri Lanka and resilience against South Africa and Pakistan helped him to his first Test Player of the Year award.

Though the medal provides a weighting that favours Test displays over those in other formats, Warner's success was built upon a prolific voting period in ODIs, long thought to be his weakest format. He coshed no fewer than seven centuries in eligible limited-overs matches, helping Australia to series wins in the Caribbean and Sri Lanka in addition to their consistent success on home soil.

This season Warner also put the capstone on a Test summer that started poorly but ended strongly with a pair of sublime hundreds against Pakistan in Melbourne and Sydney. The first bought time for the hosts to force a result in a rain-blighted Boxing Day Test, the second a scorching affair before lunch on day one of the New Year's match.

However, Warner's away record remains a considerable blindspot, as an overall Test average of 38.53 and four centuries attests, as opposed to 59.21 at home with 14 centuries. During five Tests on the road in New Zealand and Sri Lanka, Warner polled in only one Test; SSC was coincidentally the only match in which he passed 50.

The need for Warner to do more away from home is something his captain Steven Smith noted in an interview with ESPNcricinfo this week. Smith's own displays were more consistent in Test matches, but he was beaten into second place for the Test award by Starc.

This was a tremendous achievement given that he did not take any part in the series in New Zealand that began the year. However a magnificent lone hand in Sri Lanka, where he plucked 28 wickets in three Tests when no other player truly enhanced his reputation, was backed up by sterling efforts against South Africa and Pakistan.

Those arrived despite Starc being heavily inconvenienced by a deep cut to the leg sustained in a training accident, ironically when he had been rested from the ODI series in South Africa. Starc was the first bowler in nine years to win the Test award; it is a fact of the way Cricket Australia's medical staff feel compelled to manage the workloads of fast bowlers that such garlands will invariably be more common for batsmen like Warner.

Earlier this season Shane Watson had been conveyed around the SCG for a lap of honour to recognise his international retirement. But his earlier performances in a year when Australia once again disappointed in the World Twenty20 tournament, held in India, allowed Watson to round off his days in Australian colours with the T20 award - his third overall.

The night was also marked by Hall of Fame inductions for David Boon, Matthew Hayden and the late Betty Wilson. Boon's address was perhaps the evening's emotional high point. Having conflicted a tough-as-teak highlights reel by contending he is actually "soft as butter", Boon did indeed tear up as he acknowledged his fellow players, the former national team coach Bob Simpson, and his wife Pip.

Hayden spoke with equal feeling of his family and team-mates, and also exhorted the present players in the room to push themselves on the looming tour of India, the venue where he memorably made a Test spot his own in 2001. "My great challenge to this current group of players," he said, "is to ensure every day you're trying to get a little bit better because you're going to have a lot of tough days."