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News

Warner urged to bat longer by flat decks

David Warner has pointed out that the friendly batting surfaces in Australia were pushing him to redefine his own approach

David Warner carves out a drive, Australia v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Perth, 1st day, November 13, 2015

David Warner - "The key factor here is the type of wickets we're playing on, they're nice and generous for batsmen"  •  Getty Images

David Warner's determination to post bigger scores is driven partly by the proliferation of flat pitches in Australia and around the world. On the morning he was dismissed for 253 after collaring 244* on day one of the WACA Test against New Zealand, Warner said flat pitches were necessitating his desire to bat for longer periods.
Much comment has surrounded the WACA surface for this Test, with the ABC Grandstand commentator Jim Maxwell describing it as a "chief executive's pitch", and Tom Moody expressing his disappointment at its relative lack of pace and carry. While Warner said it would be wise to suspend judgment until Australia's fast battery had bowled on the strip, he pointed out that friendly batting surfaces were pushing him to redefine his own approach.
"The key factor here is the type of wickets we're playing on, they're nice and generous for batsmen, the bowlers are really going to have to work hard," Warner told ABC Grandstand before the second day's play. "That's something we know in Australia as a batsman you really have to cash in, we're fortunate enough to play on very good wickets, and around the world I think in general the wickets are pretty batter friendly today.
"It [the pitch] was a bit disappointing, you see generally after lunch or even tea time it does quicken up, but it felt like it got a bit slower through the middle. The second new ball came through a little bit, but I think it also has something to do with their bowlers only reaching 130-135 and they're quite tired. When we've got two bowlers at 140 plus, that's when we can see if the wicket has actually fastened up. But generally pretty slow for a WACA wicket."
Friday was the first time Warner had managed to bat a full day in a Test match, after he went close on day one of the first game at the Gabba. Leaning heavily on singles and strike rotation with Joe Burns and then Usman Khawaja, Warner said his play had been dictated largely by the field settings of Brendon McCullum, who was notably more conservative than he had been in Brisbane.
"It wasn't really in the back of my mind to achieve that, it was more about trying to take the singles that were on offer, that allowed me to do that and achieve batting out the day for the team," Warner said. "That's what it comes down to, if the fields are a little bit more attacking you can play your shots a bit more and it might create the chances, there were odd occasions when Brendon did bring the field back in, but for us it was rotating that strike.
"I really did enjoy it, putting another 100-run partnership on with Joe, but to go out with my childhood mate Ussie and see him and be out there and hug him for his hundred and our 300 partnership, our family will be so proud of that because we've grown up with each other, to be out there and put what we used to do when we played together as youngsters, to put it out here on the global scale is fantastic."
Warner described some of the concentration battles he had fought across the day, which related mainly to his natural desire to hit out or premeditate shots once he was settled and the bowlers began to tire. "I think the battles come when you start predicting shots before the bowler's bowled," he said.
"That's one thing when you're in and feel like you're really in, you've got the second person in your mind actually talking to you. That's the hardest thing about this game, when you've got so many singles on offer bring able to rotate the strike, the big shots are always in the back of your mind. When I was on 190 and BMac was on, I just felt like I could hit every ball for six, and that's what happens in your mind.
"Even with the spinner at the other end you're thinking 'how can I get to that 200 fast' and that's by hitting those big shots. But you still have to respect the bowler, and I was actually quite nervous when he came on to bowl, so I was hoping he put one in my half, which he did. I tried the little dinky shots down leg but they weren't working either."
Since the start of the West Indies tour that preceded the Ashes, Warner has sworn off alcohol, something he said he was doing in part to be united with his pregnant wife Candice. However, he admitted he would ponder a beverage after this match, now that it has reaped his highest ever Test score.
"A lot of that decision was to try to get through England and our summer, to give my body the best opportunity to get through the summer," he said. "Also it helps when you've got your wife who's seven months pregnant now, her not being able to have alcohol it's more about myself setting a goal to see if I can go her full term with not having alcohol. Going well so far but I think I might need one after this game."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig