Ricky Ponting's staggering call about David Warner before double century
Ricky Ponting made a huge prediction about David Warner that shows he is the sharpest mind in Australian cricket.
Ricky Ponting continues to prove himself as the sharpest mind in Australian cricket after perfectly predicting David Warner's century in the Boxing Day Test. Warner put South Africa to the sword in a staggering display on Tuesday before retiring hurt on 200 with full body cramps.
His extraordinary knock helped Australia go to stumps at 3-386 with a 197-run lead over the Proteas. The double century marked the first time in nearly three years that Warner reached triple figures in a Test match.
'WRONG THING TO DO': Candice Warner hits out after David's heroics
'SELFLESS': Debate erupts after David Warner burns Marnus Labuschagne
Speaking before play on Tuesday, former Australia captain Ponting predicted Warner's innings to a tee. The Channel 7 commentator said Warner would go on to become just the second Australian (alongside himself) to score a century in their 100th Test match, before boldly declaring that he would make 200.
“Yes,” Ponting responded after being asked if Warner would break his century drought. “And if he gets it, he might make 200. There you go.”
After Warner's double century, one fan wrote on Twitter: "Now that Warnie is gone, Punter has, by far, the best cricketing brain in the box."
Ponting was rapt for Warner after the under-fire opener ended his Test century drought. He said: “Awesome. I actually feel really glad that I am here to witness this.
“A guy coming into the game under a little pressure and not having made the runs he would have liked to have made. His 100th Test match and he’s played the way we all hoped he would. He’s played the way that all of Australia hoped he would.”
Warner hadn't made a Test century since January 2020 and hadn't even reached 50 since the third Test against Pakistan in March. His average in his last 10 Test matches was just 20.61, however he put his struggles firmly behind him with a masterful knock on Tuesday.
The 36-year-old was forced to retire hurt on 200 and was helped from the field by trainers, suffering from full body cramps and exhaustion in oppressive 37-degree heat in Melbourne. Teammate Steve Smith, who himself was battling the flu, was full of praise for the under-fire Warner.
"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 (wickets down)."
Cameron Green joined Warner in retiring hurt after being struck on the finger, while fast bowler Mitchell Starc suffered a finger injury of his own and will miss the third Test in Sydney. Warner continued his innings on Wednesday but it lasted just one ball after he was bowled by Anrich Nortje.
"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, who made 85 and teamed with Warner for a 239-run partnership. "It was an amazing knock and nice to be up the other end for for a large chunk of it."
Ricky Ponting and David Warner
The only two Australians to score centuries in their 100th Test match. 16 years apart and both against South Africa.#AUSvSA pic.twitter.com/9nUK7o8R0i
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) December 27, 2022
Steve Smith backs David Warner to extend Test career
According to Smith, Warner has now earned the right to continue his Test career for as long as he likes. The opener had been under pressure to perform with two blockbuster tours of India and England on the horizon 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."
Warner has previously flagged his intentions to retire from Test cricket in the next few years, but is desperate to feature in February and March's tour of India and a showdown with England for the Ashes starting in June. He has never won a Test series in either country and was tormented by Stuart Broad during the last Ashes series in the UK, which finished in a 2-2 draw as Australia retained the urn.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.