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‘No better way to silence them’: Warner fires back at critics with blistering ton as Aussies pile on misery to Pakistan

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14th December, 2023
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David Warner again fought his way out of what looked like a career-ending form slump to smash a superb 164 and ensure he will get his SCG farewell from Test cricket as Australia dominated Pakistan in Perth.

The 37-year-old opener was under fire from fans, former teammates and the media leading into the series opener at Perth’s Optus Stadium but just as he did last year in the Boxing Day Test, he counter-attacked to race to three figures.

Warner brought up his ton in just the 43rd over on day one from the 125th delivery he faced, steering a short ball over the slips cordon before launching into a trademark leap to the heavens and making a shush gesture towards the media area at the ground.

He said the silencing motion was aimed at anyone who had doubted him.

“It was there, you saw what it was. It was a nice, little, quiet shush,” he said in the media conference after stumps, not necessarily for Mitchell Johnson after the former fast bowler’s personal criticism recently.

“It’s just (for) anyone who wants to write stories about me and try to get headlines. That doesn’t bother me. I’m allowed to celebrate how I want.

“Mitch is entitled to his opinion, he’s a former player.

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“People make comments but you get on with it and you know you’ve got to go out there and score runs, and today I did that.”

He was out late in the day for 164, off 211 deliveries, with 16 fours and four sixes along the way ensuring this knock will go down in Australian Test folklore. Australia finished the day on 5-346 to hold the upper hand over their outclassed opponents.

Following months of doubt about his position, the century means there is no chance the selectors will stand in the way of his cherished exit from the Test arena in his home city next month.

Warner has only scored two centuries since 2020 in the Test arena with an average which has hovered below 30 but he blasted 14 boundaries and a six on his way to his milestone moment.

The six was a magnificent ramp shot off Shaheen Shah Afridi which is more at home in the T20 arena but Warner executed the shot perfectly to a ball on an off-stump line, only a fraction short of bail height.

“It’s one of those things, there’s going to be criticism but you’ve got to take that,” he told Fox Cricket at the tea break.

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“There’s no better way to silence them than by putting runs on the board. It feels great.”

On a similar note, he added after stumps: “If people are out to get you or make a headline from your name, then so be it. I can’t worry about that. I’ve got to worry about what I’ve got to do for the team – keep scoring runs and putting the team in a great position.

“I don’t feel any extra pressure, I don’t feel any other points I have to prove.”

Whether he deserved to be selected in the team was the point of the ongoing discussion about his spot in the team – Matt Renshaw, Cameron Bancroft and Marcus Harris have been waiting patiently for a spot to open up at the top of the order.

It will never be known if any of them would have hit a ton if they had been recalled to the side but whoever replaces Warner will have two Tests at home against the West Indies and just two more on tour in New Zealand before the unofficial five-match world championship series in Australia next summer against India.

“He couldn’t have done any more,” said his former skipper, Ricky Ponting, in commentary on Seven at stumps.

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Warner now trails only Ponting, Allan Border, Steve Waugh and Steve Smith on Australia’s all-time Test run-scorers’ list after leapfrogging Michael Clarke and Mathew Hayden after his sixth century against Pakistan lifted his tally to 8651 at 45.05.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 14: David Warner of Australia celebrates after scoring a century during day one of the Men's First Test match between Australia and Pakistan at Optus Stadium on December 14, 2023 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

David Warner celebrates after scoring his century. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Warner got off to a flyer and while Usman Khawaja scratched around for runs, he repeatedly found the boundary as their half-century partnership came up inside 10 overs and they hit three figures before lunch with just 20 overs down.

Khawaja fell for 41 when he feathered a catch behind from Shaheen Shah Afridi and Marnus Labuschagne was trapped in front on 16 by Faheem Ashraf, burning a review on his way back to the pavilion.

Their departures did little to slow Warner, who negotiated a nervous period in the 90s before chalking up his 26th Test century.

He was given the first life of his innings on 104 just before the tea break when Khurram Shahzad made a meal of an easy chance off Agha Salman’s off-breaks which went to the boundary.

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Khawaja had been given a life on 21 when Abdullah Shafique botched a skier running back from slip and to rub salt into the wound, that drop also went for four.

At 2-210 at tea, the Australians were on course for a huge first-innings total to bat the tourists out of the game with Steve Smith getting into a groove as his partnership with Warner also went beyond the half-century mark.

Shahzad somewhat made up for his fielding blunder when he found the edge of Smith’s bat on 31 to send him on his way and peg Australia back to 3-238 early in the final session.

Travis Head threatened to take the game further away from Pakistan but after finding the boundary six times on his way to a typically attacking 40, he cut Aamer Jamal to third man.

Warner also fell to Jamal when he hoisted one too many hook shot into the deep before Alex Carey (14) and Mitchell Marsh (15) safely negotiated the home side to stumps.

Pakistan only got in four overs with the second new ball after finishing six shy of the alloted 90 overs for the day due to yet another day of Test cricket marred by a slow over rate.

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Pat Cummins’ reward for winning the toss and electing to bat was a day of putting his feet up and watching his batters land a huge body blow on Pakistan to set the tone for the series.

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