David Warner's wife Candice has taken a pointed swipe at his critics after the opener broke through for an extraordinary double century in the Boxing Day Test. The knives had been out for Warner after a lean run with the bat that hadn't resulted in a Test century in nearly three years.
The 36-year-old had been facing immense pressure to find some runs to justify his place in the Aussie side - and he did exactly that on Tuesday. Warner retired hurt with full body cramps and exhaustion after reaching 200 against South Africa in a masterful display.
Speaking to Channel 7 after her husband reached triple figures, Candice Warner took a swipe at his critics. “Just incredibly proud. A sense of relief,” she said. “David’s back has been against the wall and everyone has been saying he’s too old or he should retire, but first of all to hit 8000 Test runs is a huge milestone and then to get a Test century - hopefully now people will sort of back off him a little bit.”
Warner recently abandoned his push to have his lifetime leadership ban in Australian cricket overturned. Candice referenced the ugly saga, which seemed to take its toll on her husband's batting.
“It hasn’t been an easy summer with the bat, but also behind the scenes he hasn’t really received a hell of a lot of support where it’s needed,” she said. “He’s very grateful for his teammates, his coaching staff and his friends and family who are all here today, but it hasn’t been easy.
“If it comes down to the captaincy stuff, if we’re talking about that, it’s been dragged on and it shouldn’t have. Everything else is behind him now, he came here and he was ready to go.
“He’s had a little bit of bad luck in the last few Tests but he knew what he wanted to do and he executed it beautifully. It’s funny everybody says form slump, but that’s not the words he’s been using, it’s not the words everyone has been talking about in the changerooms.
“He just hasn’t scored the runs that he’d like, but he’s such a positive person, he knows what he has to do at training to get the best out of himself. We knew that today was going to be special, we knew that this Test, besides from being his 100th Test, he was going to deliver.”
According to teammate Steve Smith, the double century means Warner can extend his Test career for as long as he likes. The 36-year-old's place in Australia's side for next year's tours of India and England now appears guaranteed.
"He's doing pretty well and played exceptionally well (on Tuesday)," Smith said. "I don't see any reason why he can't continue playing. Fingers crossed he can keep playing well, and he can play for as long as he likes, I'm assuming."
Warner had averaged just 20.61 in 10 Test matches this year and hadn't reached triple figures since January of 2020. He did make 95 and 96 in the Ashes series last summer, however he hadn't passed 50 since the third Test against Pakistan in Lahore in March.
"I think the more he started to cramp, the more shots he started to play and everything seemed to be coming out of the middle," said Smith. "It was an amazing knock and nice to be up the other end for for a large chunk of it."
Aussies on top but facing injury concerns
Warner became the first Australian and second player in history to score a double century in their 100th Test match (after Joe Root in 2021). He returned to the crease on Wednesday but his stay lasted just one more ball after he was bowled by Anrich Nortje
"You'd think by now writing David off is probably the wrong thing to do. He thrives on that," wife Candice told Fox Cricket.
Warner's heroics gave Australia a 197-run lead at stumps on day two in Melbourne after they ended Tuesday's play at 3-386. However there are a number of concerns for the Aussies, with Cameron Green joining Warner in retiring hurt with a finger injury and Mitchell Starc also battling a nasty finger issue.
"The boys were cramping left, right and centre," Smith said. "So, difficult (conditions) but nice to get us to the position where we are now. I think we're in a nice spot.
"Hard to believe I was the last wicket (because of the two retired hurts). I was looking up and Nathan Lyon was padded up next to me and we're three down."
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