Is David Warner bound for greatness?

Date: November 10, 2015 / Posted by Glenn Mitchell

David Warner 2David Warner entered the record books in Brisbane and there is little doubt there is still much more to come.

His knocks of 163 and 116 put him in rarefied air.

It is the third time he has posted twin centuries in the one Test, equalling the all-time record held by Sunil Gavaskar and Ricky Ponting.

Gavaskar achieved the last of his twin tons in his 43rd Test while Ponting did it in his 102nd.

Warner has now played 44 Tests and played 83 innings, compiling 3928 runs at 49.1.

In those 83 innings he has made 14 centuries.

Over the same period Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar had made 12; Brian Lara 10; Rahul Dravid 9; and Jacques Kallis and Kumar Sangakkara 8.

When compared to those players, who each scored at least 34 career centuries, it is clear that what Warner has done to date is remarkable.

It is well worth remembering how it all started for him.

He burst onto the international scene in January 2009 as a Twenty20 specialist.

His debut at the MCG against South Africa was historic as he was the first player to represent Australia prior to playing a first-class match.

He celebrated the feat by smashing an audacious 89 off a mere 43 deliveries, pummelling an attack that boasted Kallis, Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini, Morne Morkel.

A great innings, but one that further pigeon-holed him as a pyjama batsman.

Two months after his MCG heroics he broke into the New South Wales Shield team for the last game of the 2008-09 season.

He batted just the once – at number six – and made 42 off 48 deliveries.

Twenty-months later and with just 11 games of first-class cricket behind him he made his Test debut at the Gabba against New Zealand, scoring three in the first innings and hitting the winning runs in the second to remain 12 not out.

His introduction to the Test side was met with derision by some fans who believed he lacked the requisite experience and technique to succeed in the longest form of the game.

He soon had them rethinking in his next Test at Hobart with a superb unbeaten 123 in the fourth innings on a testing pitch.

Australia lost by nine wickets with New Zealand posting its first win in Australia in 26 years.

For Warner, in an individual sense, it was a moment of triumph as he became the third Australian to carry his bat in a Test innings in the previous 25 years.

Throughout his career Warner has courted his fair share of controversy both on and off the field, most infamously his late night altercation with English batsman Joe Root on the 2013 Ashes tour.

Now, however, with the retirements of Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, Chris Rogers and Brad Haddin he has become one of the most senior players in the Test side – he has played ten more Tests than his new skipper, Steve Smith.

The mass exodus has seen him promoted to the vice-captaincy.

If Brisbane is any indication the added responsibility has sat well with him.

In concert with the recalled Joe Burns – playing his third Test – the pair seized the initiative on the opening day and laid the foundation for what should be, weather permitting, a comfortable win later today.

There is simply no doubting Warner’s abilities.

Over time he has gone from a rampant full-throttle attacker to a batsman who is far more judicious in his shot selection.

He now reads the situation of the game and adjusts his approach accordingly.

Even though his century in the first innings seemed reasonably sedate given some of his earlier heroics, he still reached three figures off 141 balls.

In the second innings, when the team and the match situation required it, he lowered his foot on the accelerator and climbed into the Black Caps’ injury-riddled attack, scoring his 116 from 113 balls.

Warner turned 29 a fortnight ago, and judging by what we have seen in Australia in recent times, he is entering what should be the prime of his career.

In this era of shortened boundaries and tree trunks for bats he will continue to terrorise opposition attacks.

By dint of sheer numbers, Matthew Hayden is Australia’s most successful opening batsman.

His career spanned 103 Tests in which he struck 30 centuries and amassed 8625 runs at 50.7.

He sits fifth on the all-time Australian run-list.

Warner is well on the way to eclipsing Hayden’s record.

Yes, there is a lot of water to still flow under the bridge, but one thing we can be guaranteed is there are still plenty of runs to flow from the blade of David Warner.

First published on The Roar – theroar.com.au – on 9 November 2015, soliciting 37 comments