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Ken Borland

One can only salute vintage Warner

Posted on August 17, 2023 by Ken

David Warner has been a nemesis of South African cricket for a long time, but one could only salute the stroppy left-hander for his vintage double-century in his 100th Test which gave Australia complete control of the second Test at the MCG.

With the build-up to his landmark Test being surrounded by talk of how much longer he would feature in the longest format – his previous century was nearly three years ago – and off-field drama as he sought to overturn the leadership ban imposed on him after his scurrilous ball-tampering actions in the previous Test series against South Africa, Warner was under real pressure at the MCG.

But with Kagiso Rabada having dismissed the 36-year-old in his last five innings, Warner made the bold statement that he had perhaps been treating bowlers with too much respect and he was going to return to his old, aggressive self in the second Test.

Warner was true to his word and his innings was a high-quality display full of all the attributes that have made him a great Test batsman: he brought an almost manic intensity to the crease, he was positive and committed to every shot he played and every run he scampered, driven by an immense hunger that saw him plough on through severe cramps brought about by searing temperatures that touched 40°.

Warner produced a typically flashy statement innings on his big day at the cathedral of Australian cricket. Not only did he become the eighth Australian to score 8000 Test runs, but only the second (and 10th overall) to score a century in his 100th Test. He was not satisfied and went on to become only the second batsman, England’s Joe Root being the other, to made a double-century in his 100th Test.

The lover of sports cars – he owns a McLaren and a Lamborghini Huracan – emptied the tank on Tuesday at the MCG and whether he still has the desire to fuel his continued presence on the Test stage, with daunting tours of India and England to come, remains to be seen.

Let’s hope he continues to grace the most important stage of the game because, whatever you may think of Warner the person and his antics, he is a box-office entertainer.

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