AS I SEE IT (13 Nov) wc 457


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By Terry O’Neill.

Australian opening batsman David Warner joined illustrious pair, Rick Ponting (Australia) and Sunil Gavaskar (India), by scoring back-to-back centuries in three tests after his performance against New Zealand at the Gabba in Brisbane.

Not bad for this young cricketer who as a 13 year-old youngster was switched to bat right-handed by his coach. But only until Warner’s mother returned the youngster to his original left handed style because it wasn’t working. Results confirm her expert perception.

Warner, upon selection to play for Australia, became the first Australian in 132 years to play for a national cricket team, of any form, without experience in first class cricket. And this Paddington boy never looked back. He earned his first test century against the Black Caps in Hobart though it wasn’t enough to arrest the Black Caps win. On August 2 again against New Zealand, in Warner’s unbeaten 123 in the Australian innings of 233 he became the sixth person to carry his bat through the fourth innings of a test match.

Warner’s batting always seems aggressive. And in 2012 his 69 ball century against India in Perth equalled West Indian Shavnarine Chanderpaul’s record for the fourth fastest test century of all times in terms of balls faced. Warner’s two centuries against the Black Caps lifted his test average to 50, on a par with Matthew Hayden (50.73), and better than the career marks of Justin Langer (48.22), Bill Lawry(42.83), Mark Taylor(43.49) and Michael Slater(42.83), all Australians. His 3900 test runs bring him close to becoming the sixth Australian opener to join the elite 4000 run club. Warner has 14 test centuries more than the combined total fellow Australians David Boon(8) and Geoff Marsh(4) managed in the “baggy green”.

Warner’s earlier batting career may be impetuous, but of late, the “molly digger” the term for a left-hander in Australia, illustrates increased discipline and control and has given away a shot which was described as a “halfie’, a half pull and a half a leg side push shot, which too often brought about his downfall.

And what other record challenges does this aggressive Australian opener face? Pakistan’s Misbah-ul-Haq holds one with the fastest test half century from just 21 balls, and West Indies batsman Viv Richards for the fastest test century from just 56 balls.

Many Black Caps supporters worried early in the first test about an innings plus defeat but Steve Smith took that out of the equation. New Zealand’s biggest ever defeat was at the hands of Pakistan when it lost by an innings and 324 runs in 2002. Pakistan made 643 and the Black Caps replied with 73 and 246 in Lahore which places the Kiwis fifth on the greatest loss margins.

ENDS

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