Warner thrives on home comforts and positive thinking

Seven international innings and 438 runs for once out ago, David Warner gave an enlightening insight as to how he had been thinking, and how he was trying to think.

"I think that's one thing that we sort of forget about, what you have done and what you can do and what you're capable of doing," he said in Adelaide ahead of the first T20I of the season. "You get caught up in everyone saying you're out of form or you're not doing as well away from home and what not. You've just got to try and... that external noises, just don't let it get into your head. Negative thoughts are a very, very bad driver in anyone's mind, so you've got to keep being positive and don't buy into that."

This was very much a case of easier said than done. For more than 18 months since the Newlands ball-tampering incident, Warner has been surrounded by a blizzard of negativity, not all of it self-inflicted, though. When he returned to Test cricket in front of openly hostile English crowds during the Ashes, that blizzard merged with an around-the-wicket storm from Stuart Broad to result in the worst Test series of Warner's career.

Warner won plaudits from team-mates for how he was able to handle the repeated setbacks, even when his struggles were falsely attributed to factors other than Broad, Jofra Archer and a fiendishly difficult series for opening batsmen on both sides. Even so, he was still left to wrestle with dark thoughts conflicting if well-meaning advice and doubts about whether, at 33, he was not merely struggling for runs but starting to see the dimming of a previously incandescent talent.

It was, in many ways, an opportune time for Warner to be reunited with Joe Burns, another figure who has not always enjoyed the sort of easy relationship with authority or the Australian public, given an often maddening sequence of being included then dropped from Australian sides that seldom appeared to have much to do with the simple question of whether or not he was scoring enough runs. With a career average of better than 40, he almost invariably was.

Perhaps because of these obstacles, and perhaps because neither batsman had always seemed obvious candidates for professional careers at the top level - certainly in contrast to someone like Steven Smith - Warner and Burns had previously shown the sort of chemistry when batting together that was indicative of a firm relationship. If they are not always the two most easy-to-understand men in Australian cricket, they have found a workable understanding of one another.

That understanding meant that, on the day they were to open together after Pakistan had been bowled out for an inadequate 240 on the opening day of the series, Warner was able to recognise the need for him to take the first over, something he has done in fewer than a third of his 148 Test innings. Burns, as the early exchanges underlined, was brimful of adrenaline and nerves. He was very nearly caught behind first ball, close to being run out third, and able to collect his first two boundaries from fortunate edges.

But at the other end he had a reassuring presence in Warner, who had been able to use his own circle of confidants and mentors to find the clear, positive mindset he had been yearning for in Adelaide back in October. His early moments at the Gabba were redolent of so many of those T20I innings, with quick singles, swift running between the wickets and loud, decisive calls. The boundaries came later, but never to the extent that they dominated his scoring. Instead, Warner used supreme fitness to hustle twos and threes, using the vastness of the Brisbane outfield.

"It was about coming back to state cricket and working hard in the nets there," Warner said. "Just playing the game that I know, especially here in Australia. I've obviously had some success here, and I know the grounds and I know the wickets are nice and true, and you know what you're going to do early on, and I've always felt I always try and apply the pressure to the bowlers in Australia; there's not as much movement and I'm able to do that.

"You just have that reassurance from certain people that you feed off. For me Trent Woodhill is one guy who's always been in my corner and he's always spoken to me, thrown balls to me time and time again, and tells me about being still, and if I'm doing anything wrong. I've had messages from Punter [Ricky Ponting], who I worked closely with in the World Cup; he was very good. And for me it's about having a nice balance at home. I've got a fantastic wife, great family, my parents and her parents and a good support network around me that assures me of what I am capable of."

Burns spent time in Warner's slipstream but also played the odd angry shot of his own, capitalising on the fact that Pakistan's bowlers were missing the guiding example so often provided by Mohammad Abbas. The breathing room provided by Imran Khan's waywardness, Shaheen Afridi's lack of cutting edge, and Naseem Shah's inexperience - despite startling speed for one so young - added to the familiar comforts of the Gabba, a cauldron in which Burns and Warner were able to call upon primarily happy memories of opposition bowlers confounded and opposing teams crushed, whether in domestic cricket or Tests.

Three centuries had flowed from Warner's bat here previously, two in the same Test against New Zealand in 2015. That match had also seen Burns reach three figures, among seven of his 17 first-class hundreds all scored at this ground. These memories were backed up by Tim Paine's pre-match words.

"He hasn't lost any of his appetite to score runs, he's still working as hard as I've ever seen him work," Paine said of Warner. "Just watching him in the last few days, he just looks like he's back to his best, the ball's making a different sound off his bat again, he looks like he's in great positions most of the time when he's batting in the nets.

"We know what we're going to get from Burnsy; he's a hardened first-class opening batter and he bats at the Gabba a lot where it's hard to score runs, particularly at the top of the order. He knows his game really well, he's really confident in it, and I think he's been picked now when he's come into the prime of his career and he's playing as well as he ever has."

In fact it had only been five weeks back that Warner, far less sure of himself than now, and Burns had been on opposing sides in which both men made Sheffield Shield runs for their states at the Gabba. And though Burns, on Friday, was to be denied a century when his attempted sweep shot off Yasir Shah was deflected onto the stumps, he had the enormous satisfaction of not only having made the most of his chance, but also to help drag Warner along into the familiar domination mode he had exhibited in Brisbane so often before.

In England, there had been times when Warner had seemed unable to do anything but get out. The wheel had turned so fully by the end of the day in Brisbane that he was able to shoulder arms to Imran in the day's penultimate over and hear the ball shave off stump without disturbing the bails. That after Naseem's no-ball had invalidated an edge behind in early afternoon. The blizzard has well and truly cleared for Warner, and the clear way ahead looks paved with plenty of Test runs.