David Warner at centre of player of the series furore after SCG Test

The Aussie opener was awarded the gong despite many believing Steve Smith and Travis Head were more deserving.

David Warner, pictured here after Australia's 2-0 win over South Africa.
David Warner was named player of the series after Australia's 2-0 win over South Africa. Image: Getty

David Warner has been named player of the series after Australia's 2-0 win over South Africa - a decision that has proven highly controversial. The third Test at the SCG finished in a draw on Sunday after the Proteas reached 2-106 when the match was called off with 5.1 overs left.

After rain resulted in over 100 overs being lost throughout the match, Australia only managed to take six of the 14 wickets they required for an improbable victory on Sunday. Usman Khawaja was named man of the match for his unbeaten 195 after he missed out on a maiden Test double century when Pat Cummins was left with little option but to declare on day four.

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However the man of the series decision has gone down like a lead balloon in the cricket world after it went to Warner. The Aussie opener made 213 runs in the three-Test series at an average of 53.25, however 200 of them came in one innings in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.

Steve Smith (231 runs at 57.75) outscored Warner, while Travis Head (213 at 53.25) finished with the same amount of runs. Pat Cummins was the pick of the bowlers with 12 wickets at 16.91. Warner's other scores in the series were 0, 3 and 10.

Travis Head and David Warner, pictured her after the third Test between Australia and South Africa.
Travis Head and David Warner look on after the third Test between Australia and South Africa. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

“He said it himself - ‘oh, that’s surprising’,” Cummins told reporters on Sunday evening. “I heard someone say it was (very close) between a few different players and Davey got it in the end. Whenever someone plays it’s not the first thing they put on their mantle, player of the series, so it is what it is."

Fans and commentators expressed their disbelief on social media. "Warner is somehow player of the series," wrote Daniel Brettig of ESPN Cricinfo. "Travis Head made runs in every Test, including the most important innings of the series in Brisbane, and did it at a strike rate of 100."

Daniel Garb added: "200 of Warner's 213 runs came in one innings and he gets player of the series. Reckon Cummins, Smith, Head had stronger claims."

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Australia cruelled by lost overs as third Test ends in draw

The Aussies managed to bowl South Africa out for 255 in their first innings, allowing them to enforce the follow-on after making 4-475 while batting first. But they only managed two of the final 10 wickets they needed to secure a 3-0 clean sweep of the series.

A win in Sydney would have secured Australia's place in the World Test Championship final. However they will now need to win or draw one of the four Tests they play against India in February and hope Sri Lanka don't win both matches in New Zealand in March.

"Fourteen wickets was a hard ask," Josh Hazlewood said after the match. "If we didn't lose any to rain, who knows what may have been. It would have been nice to have seen the wicket after five days of traffic on it and seen how that would have played, whether it was back to the old school SCG, but it was good fun today."

Rain and bad light in Sydney saw 47 overs lost on the first day's play, before another 14 were lost when day two finished early. Day three was a complete washout, meaning the pitch hadn't broken up as much as the Aussies were hoping when they played Ashton Agar as a second specialist spinner alongside Nathan Lyon.

Australia had three lbw reviews go against them on the basis of umpire's call on the final day, but also put down four chances via Marnus Labuschagne, Alex Carey, Travis Head and Agar. Also of note was the fact that Agar went wicketless in his return to Test cricket after five years.

with AAP

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