David Warner has again fought his way out of what looked like a career-ending form slump to smash a century and ensure he will get his SCG farewell from Test cricket.

The 37-year-old opener was under fire from fans, former teammates and the media leading into the series opener against Pakistan at Perth’s Optus Stadium but just as he did last year in the Boxing Day Test, he counter-attacked to race to three figures.

Warner brought up his ton in just the 43rd over on day one from the 125th delivery he faced, steering a short ball over the slips cordon before launching into a trademark leap to the heavens and blowing a kiss towards the media area at the ground.

Following months of doubt about his position, the century means there is no chance the selectors will stand in the way of his cherished exit from the Test arena in his home city next month.

His wife, Candace, was quick to take to social media with a shush emoji to thumb her nose at the veteran left-hander’s critics.

She had a public stoush with Mitchell Johnson earlier this year and the outspoken former fast bowler provided the main storyline heading into this Test with a recent column questioning whether Warner deserved “a hero’s send-off” due to his role in the 2018 ball-tampering scandal and his lack of runs for more than two years at Test level.

Warner has only scored two centuries since 2020 in the Test arena with an average which has hovered below 30.

“It’s one of those things, there’s going to be criticism but you’ve got to take that,” he told Fox Cricket at the tea break.

“There’s no better way to silence them than by putting runs on the board. It feels great.”

Whether he deserved to be selected in the team was the point of the ongoing discussion about his spot in the team – Matt Renshaw, Cameron Bancroft and Marcus Harris have been waiting patiently for a spot to open up at the top of the order.

It will never be known if any of them would have hit a ton if they had been recalled to the side but whoever replaces Warner will have two Tests at home against the West Indies and just two more on tour in New Zealand before the unofficial five-match world championship series in Australia next summer against India.

Warner got off to a flyer and while Usman Khawaja scratched around for runs, he repeatedly found the boundary as their half-century partnership came up inside 10 overs and they hit three figures before lunch with just 20 overs down.

Khawaja fell for 41 when he feathered a catch behind from Shaheen Shah Afridi and Marnus Labuschagne was trapped in front on 16 by Faheem Ashraf, burning a review on his way back to the pavilion.

David Warner celebrates after scoring his century. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Their departures did little to slow Warner, who negotiated a nervous period in the 90s before chalking up his 26th Test century.

He was given the first life of his innings on 104 just before the tea break when Khurram Shahzaf made a meal of an easy chance off Agha Salman’s off-breaks which went to the boundary.

Khawaja had been given a life on 21 when Abdullah Shafique botched a skier running back from slip and to rub salt into the wound, that drop also went for four.

At 2-210 at tea, the Australians were on course for a huge first-innings total to bat the tourists out of the game with Steve Smith getting into a groove as his partnership with Warner also went beyond the half-century mark.

Pat Cummins’ reward for winning the toss and electing to bat was a day of putting his feet up and watching his batters land a huge body blow on Pakistan to set the tone for the series.


By admin