David Warner has made the staggering admission that he believes his double century in the Boxing Day Test was probably the best knock of his career. Warner returned to the crease on Wednesday at the MCG after retiring hurt on day two on 200.
However his stay lasted just one more ball after he was clean-bowled by a fired-up Anrich Nortje, who was on a hat-trick after also bowling Travis Head with the previous delivery in brutal scenes. Warner received a standing ovation from the MCG crowd as he made his way from the field, before opening up about what the innings meant for him and his career.
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The 36-year-old had come under immense pressure to perform ahead of tours of India and England next year, and finally ended a three-year Test century drought on Tuesday. By reaching 200 he became just the second player in history to score a double century in their 100th Test (after Joe Root in 2021).
It marked the third-highest score in Warner's Test career after he made 335 not out against Pakistan in 2019 and 253 against New Zealand in 2015. But with the intense scrutiny and pressure swirling around him, his 200 on Tuesday was arguably the best knock of his career.
"I was going through that (my best knocks) the other day with a couple of the journos and that definitely is up there now," Warner told the Seven Network after his dismissal. "To go out there, a lot of pressure, I don't generally feel the pressure, I don't get nervous.
"But walking out here and telling my friends, 'I'm going out to play the way I want to, looking to score and have intent', and to deliver that in a Boxing Day Test which is the pinnacle as a kid ... to go out and execute that emphatically was awesome."
Warner had averaged just 20.61 in 10 Test matches this year. He hadn't even reached 50 since the third Test against Pakistan in March.
"When your back's against the wall, you can only look to move forward, that's how I've always been," he said. "It was emotional, it was hard out there, it was draining.
"The build-up, the articles ... but to come out here and just back myself and look to score, have that intent, which was probably missing from the last 12 months. It was a magical moment and so proud to do it in front of my family and friends."
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Warner's wife Candice expressed similar sentiments when he reached triple figures on Tuesday. Speaking to Channel 7 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.
“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. 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.
“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.”
— 7Cricket (@7Cricket) December 27, 2022
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