David Warner has silenced the critics with a swashbuckling century on the opening day of the first Test against Pakistan in Perth.
Warner scored 164 off 211 balls to guide Australia to a dominant 5-346 at stumps on Thursday in front of 15,671 fans at Optus Stadium.
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The 37-year-old needed just 125 balls to reach triple figures in a performance that should guarantee his spot for a farewell Test at the SCG.
He crunched 16 fours and four sixes in the knock, which was the 26th of his career and first since January 2020.
After reaching the milestone, Warner ripped his helmet off and did a trademark leap into the air before holding his glove to his mouth and then pointing it towards the venue’s media centre in a powerful response to the criticism he has copped.
David Warner celebrates his century. Credit: Getty Images
He continued the onslaught after reaching the milestone with a series of cracking shots.
Warner cruised past 150 and looked on track for a double ton before he was out caught on 164.
He left the field to a much-deserved standing ovation.
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Warner’s position in the Test side became a subject of public debate following an explosive column from former pace ace Mitchell Johnson.
Johnson, who was in attendance for his commentary commitments, declared the retiring Warner didn’t deserve a hero’s farewell given his poor recent form and involvement in the 2018 sandpapergate scandal.
But Warner, who has scored just one Test century since January 2020, fired back in perfect fashion on Thursday.
“It’s one of those things, there’s going to be criticism but you’ve got to take that,” Warner said.
“There’s no better way to silence them than by putting runs on the board. It feels great.”
While Warner cashed in, no other batter reached 50 with Usman Khawaja (41), Marnus Labuschagne (16), Steve Smith (31) and Travis Head (40) all falling.
Mitch Marsh (15) and Alex Carey (14) are not at stumps with Pakistan facing an uphill battle to post their first Test win in Australia since 1995.
Khawaja was the first batter to fall after entering the match in the spotlight.
Khawaja hit the headlines this week for inscribing “all lives are equal” and “freedom is a human right” on his cricket shoes in response to the growing humanitarian crisis in Palestine.
His hopes of wearing the shoes for the Test were scuppered by International Cricket Council rules, but Khawaja – who donned a black armband at Optus Stadium – hit back with a heartfelt explanation of his stance.
Khawaja’s innings looked over when he top-edged one high into the sky when he was on 21.
But Abdullah Shafique, running back with the flight, had the sun in his eyes and was left embarrassed as the ball went through his hands and rebounded off his chest for a boundary.
Khawaja’s knock was finally ended after lunch when he edged a fuller Shaheen Afridi delivery behind.
Labuschange was then trapped lbw by Faheem Ashraf (1-65).
Warner was dropped on 104 when Khurram Shahzad failed to hang on to a catch above his head at mid-on.
But his luck ran out late in the day when his hook shot off Aamir Jamal (2-63) came off the toe of his bat and found Imam ul-Haq in the deep.
– With AAP