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Warner’s Test Farewell: A Symphony of Switch Hits, Reverse Sweeps, and Pitch-perfect Goodbyes at SCG

One Last time for Warner

In the twilight of his magnificent Test career, David Warner etched a long-lasting chapter at the Sydney Cricket Ground. As Australia set out to secure a series whitewash over Pakistan, Warner, the seasoned opener, found himself on the cusp of a dream realized by few in the realm of cricket.

With the target set at a modest 130 runs, Warner, often seen as a protagonist in many cricketing dramas, appeared destined to conclude his Test journey undefeated, orchestrating the winning moment with a flourish. The SCG stage was set, and Warner, true to form, delivered a punchy fifty with a switch hit and reverse sweep. The trademark aggression followed and the crowd of over 20,000 was in awe.

As he approached the milestone, the prospect of Warner signing off with a fairytale century loomed large – an achievement deemed improbable with a target so modest against Pakistan. However, fate had a different script in store. The feisty Sajid Khan, refusing to succumb to the script of a fairytale, trapped Warner leg before, denying him the glory of scoring the winning runs.

Nevertheless, as Warner took a solitary walk off the arena, he was greeted with a standing ovation that echoed the adoration for a conquering hero.

The numbers tell a story of a remarkable career – 8786 runs, an average of 44.59, a strike rate of 70.26, 26 centuries, and 37 fifties. Warner leaves a lasting legacy, retiring as the fifth-highest run-scorer in Australia’s Test cricket history, a position earned through years of grit, determination, and unforgettable performances on the grandest stage.

Warner's Test career

David Warner’s timeline reflects a prolific run-scorer for Australia but entangled in controversies, including the infamous ball-tampering incident, which has shaped his entire cricketing journey. Let’s take a look at the prominent events in his red ball career.

December 2011: David Warner arrives in Test cricket:

Warner’s Test debut was indeed a memorable one. It took place in Brisbane, but it was the subsequent match in Hobart that left an early impression of his dominance in this format.

In this epic encounter, Warner emerged as a central figure, demonstrating his prowess with the bat. In Australia’s second innings, he made 123 runs, showcasing his tenacity and skill. However, the match ended in a heart-wrenching climax. Despite Warner’s valiant effort, Australia fell agonizingly short of victory.

The turning point came when Nathan Lyon was dismissed, handing New Zealand a narrow win by just seven runs.

This match, while not resulting in victory for Australia, marked the arrival of Warner as a force to be reckoned with in Test cricket.

Warner Unleashing the firepower in him:

On January 13, 2012, David Warner delivered a performance that was nothing short of spectacular in his fifth Test match. Playing against India at the WACA, Warner unleashed a torrent of runs, scoring a staggering 180 off just 159 balls.

What was even more remarkable was that he reached his century in a mere 69 balls. Reflecting on his performance, Warner said, “I was looking at my strike rate and I said this ain’t Test cricket, this is something different.”

His approach to the game, marked by intent and aggression, certainly paid off that day. This innings was a testament to Warner’s unique style and his ability to redefine the boundaries of Test cricket.

Warner transitions from a Cricket Star into a Controversial Figure:

In the summer of 2013, David Warner faced a challenging period in his career. Following an altercation with Joe Root in the Birmingham Walkabout bar after a Champions Trophy match at Edgbaston, Warner was suspended by Cricket Australia.

This incident led to him missing the first two Tests of that summer’s Ashes series. To regain his form, Warner was sent on the Australia A tour of Zimbabwe. Despite these setbacks, Warner’s talent and determination could not be sidelined for long.

He was soon recalled for the Old Trafford Test, marking his return to international cricket.

Warner in the middle of the team huddle
©- Mufaddal Vohra/Twitter
The 2018 Sandpaper Scandal: Darkest Chapter in Warner’s Career:

March 22, 2018, marked a turning point in Warner’s career, casting a shadow over his otherwise illustrious journey in cricket. On this day, Warner found himself at the central point of what would come to be known as the ‘Sandpaper Gate’ scandal during a Test match in Cape Town, South Africa.

The Australian cricket team was already under scrutiny due to the hostile tour of South Africa, where Warner had been involved in a stairway altercation with cricketer Quinton de Kock in Durban. However, the incident in Cape Town escalated the situation to a whole new level.

During the match, Cameron Bancroft, a relatively inexperienced opener, was caught on camera attempting to alter the condition of the ball using a piece of sandpaper. Upon investigation, it was revealed that Warner had urged Bancroft to tamper the ball to gain reverse swing, as Australia was struggling to pick wickets. Then-captain Steven Smith was found to be aware of the plan but failed to prevent it.

In response to this incident, Cricket Australia imposed severe penalties. Warner and Smith were handed a year’s ban from all international and domestic cricket. Furthermore, Warner was hit with a lifetime leadership ban, barring him from holding a leadership position within the Australian team again.

This incident, while a dark chapter in Warner’s career, serves as a stark reminder of the importance of sportsmanship and integrity in the game of cricket.

SA vs IND, Cape Town: Years pass, India’s old tail collapse continues with South Africa’s twice batting

A Summer to Forget: Warner’s 2019 Ashes Series:

The Ashes series of July-August 2019 proved to be a low phase for Warner. Despite his reputation as a formidable opener, he struggled against the English quicks, particularly Stuart Broad, who exploited the around-the-wicket line to great effect. Warner’s performance dipped significantly during this series, with him averaging a mere 9.50 – a huge contrast to his usual high-scoring exploits.

This average was not just a personal low for Warner, but it also marked a historical low in Test cricket. It stands as the lowest average for an opener who has batted in at least ten innings in a series.

Warner’s Unbeaten 335 becomes his personal best figure in Test cricket:

November 29, 2019, will forever be etched in the pages of cricket history as the day David Warner delivered an extraordinary performance against Pakistan in Adelaide. On this day, he plundered an unbeaten 335 runs, marking the second-highest score for Australia in Test cricket, surpassed only by Matthew Hayden.

His score was also one run ahead of the legendary Mark Taylor and Sir Donald Bradman, placing him in the company of cricketing greats.

“You grow up knowing what those milestones are. Forever you talk about Donald Bradman.” Reflecting on his achievement, Warner said. “I remember Michael Clarke at the SCG declared on 329 not out. They’re things that you look at the history books and say, ‘how did they get there – that’s a long time in the middle.”

He acknowledged that reaching such a milestone required an incredible amount of patience, a quality he surprised himself with on that day.

2019 Ashes didn't occur for Warner
©- England’s Barmy Army/Twitter
Warner’s Withdrawal from Leadership Ban Appeal:

On December 8, 2022, David Warner found himself at a crossroads. He had been attempting to overturn the lifetime leadership ban that had been imposed on him after the Sandpaper Gate incident. However, when the appeal panel insisted on conducting the hearing in public, Warner chose to withdraw his appeal. His decision was mainly taken to protect his family from the public scrutiny that such a hearing would inevitably bring.

Warner expressed his sentiments powerfully, stating, “Some things are more important than cricket.” He criticized the panel’s intention to conduct what they termed a ‘cleansing’ through a public spectacle. Warner firmly stated, “I am not prepared for my family to be the washing machine for cricket’s dirty laundry.”

This incident highlighted Warner’s commitment to his family and his willingness to prioritize their well-being over his professional aspirations.

Warner’s Desire to be Remembered as an Exciting and Entertaining Cricketer:

In a remarkable conclusion to his red-ball journey, Warner was also a part of Australia’s triumph, lifting the inaugural Test Mace at The Oval against India in 2023.

As he bids a heartfelt farewell following a memorable 3-0 series victory against Pakistan, Warner leaves an indelible mark on the sport, blending his on-field excellence with a legacy marked by highs and controversies.

It’s pretty much a dream come true. Win 3-0 and cap off what’s been a great 18 months to two years for the Australian cricket team. On the back of the World Test Championship win, Ashes series draw, and then the World Cup and then to come here and finish 3-0 is an outstanding achievement and I’m just proud to be with a bunch of great cricketers here.” – Warner said this in his farewell interview.

Avipsha Lala
Author: Avipsha Lala

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