David Warner has vowed he won't walk away from the Test arena until he gets a 'tap on the shoulder' from selectors after smashing a double-century in his 100th Test match this week. Having entered the match under pressure to retain his spot long-term, Warner answered his critics with what is arguably among his best career innings.
Warner will be a figure in Australian cricket regardless of his immediate Test future, having committed to Australia's campaign at the Cricket World Cup in India next year. But when quizzed about his Test future following Australia's dominant innings and 182 run victory over South Africa, Warner said 'you never know' when asked if this would be his final Boxing Day Test.
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"I've obviously committed to playing next year's World Cup. If I'm still feeling as fit as I can then I'll keep going for as long as I can," he said. "If I get that tap on the shoulder, then I'm going to have to go."
At the end of day two, which saw Warner retire hurt on 200 runs before being dismissed on the first ball he faced on day three, the 36-year-old said he and several media members had been discussing his career leading up to the match. The veteran opener said he had no doubt the timely double-century was among his best efforts.
"I was going through that (his best knocks) the other day with a couple of the journos and that definitely is up there now," Warner said. "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 been under immense pressure entering the final Test of the year, after averaging just 20.61 from 10 matches in 2022. The decline in Warner's red-ball form had been so sharp he had failed to pass 50 since the third Test against Pakistan in Lahore in March.
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Warner admitted it had been an 'emotional' build-up to the Boxing Day Test, after he abandoned his attempts to have his lifetime leadership ban imposed in 2018 overturned. The 100-Test veteran publicly rebuked Cricket Australia in the days leading up to the Test, claiming he had not been supported properly by the governing body.
"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 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."
The aggressive left-hander is the 10th player to score a ton in his 100th Test and only the second Australian, after Ricky Ponting smashed dual centuries in 2006. Steve Smith, who was himself battling flu, subbed in for a weary Warner during the post-play press conference on Tuesday.
He was confident the opener's 25th Test century was not a one-off, believing the innings can set Warner up for success in blockbuster tours of India and England next year. "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."
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