David Warner was given one final honour by his teammates after he bid farewell to Test cricket on Saturday.
Seven months after initially flagging his intention to retire after his home Test at the SCG, the curtain on Warner’s 112-Test career finally came to a close on Day 4 of the third Test against Pakistan.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Warner leads team song after final Test.
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After a week of fanfare — that included his baggy greens briefly going missing — Warner nearly had the chance to hit the winning runs, but was dismissed for 57 in his final innings.
The 37-year-old walked off to a standing ovation from the SCG crowd and was brought to tears speaking on the field after the game, which Australia won shortly after his dismissal.
David Warner walks away from final on-field interview in tears
David Warner leaves Test cricket with final selfless act
But after all the on-field interviews and presentations, and after everyone had left the stadium, there was one final thing for Warner to do.
The Aussies returned to the arena and gave Warner the honour of leading the team song one final time. That honour usually belongs to Nathan Lyon, but he was happy to stand aside this time.
Teammates then showered Warner with drinks after the boisterous song.
Warner leads the team song. Credit: TwitterWarner is showered with drinks after the song. Credit: Twitter
“A lovely touch. David Warner gets to lead the team song after what will be his final Test win as an Australian cricketer,” prominent cricket journalist Bharat Sundaresan said with a video of the stirring song.
Warner’s departure from the Test leaves a massive hole at the top of the Australian order.
Captain Pat Cummins has warned selectors against a significant upheaval of the batting order, but says the man who replaces Warner need not be a specialist opener.
Selectors will meet in the coming days to make a final call on Warner’s replacement.
A call will officially be made as early as Tuesday, before players return to camp next Saturday in Adelaide ahead of the January 17 Test against West Indies.
Up to eight players have now been floated as options to replace Warner, with Marcus Harris, Cameron Bancroft and Matt Renshaw the form openers in the Sheffield Shield.
Steve Smith has become the latest man to put his hand up for the job in recent days, while Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head and Mitch Marsh have also been mentioned.
But if Cummins has his way, it won’t be any of the current Test batsmen.
“I’m pretty happy with (Smith)‘s output at No.4,” Cummins said.
“Obviously Marnus, Smudge (Smith), Trav and Marsh have been pretty impressive at No.3, No.4, No.5 and No.6.
“So first instinct isn’t probably to disrupt that.”
Cummins is, however, adamant that picking Australia’s best six batsmen is more important than picking a specialist opener.
That could likely leave Cameron Green as the preferred option, with Australia keen to get the allrounder back in the side.
Warner leaves the field in his final Test for Australia. Credit: AAP
Working in Green’s favour is he also can put the pressure back on the opposition with attacking cricket, something Australia will miss with Warner.
“It’s obviously going to be really hard to replicate Davey and what he’s brought to it,” Cummins said.
“I think you look for who is best place to score runs really.
“But I think in Test cricket, there are some things that remain true. And that is you’ve got to be putting the pressure on the opposition.
“You’ve got to be ticking over the scoreboard. Not always, but most of the time, you’ve got to keep the scoreboard moving along.
“They’re considerations. But realistically, if anyone’s scoring runs in Shield cricket, it’s probably a good sign they can do that in the next level, too.”
Warner also backed the call that his replacement does not necessarily have to be a specialist opener.
“I wasn’t an opener. I had to learn on the run,” he said.
“It was challenging, but I think from my perspective, my game is to be attacking and my defence takes care of itself.
“A traditional opener will go out there and look to leave length, play the ball on its merit, probably not be as aggressive.
“Can you develop as a batsman if you’ve not opened? I think you can. At this level you’ll adjust.”
– With AAP