Warner breaks hundred drought in milestone match

100 in the 100th! Warner salutes milestone Test with ton

An impassioned David Warner has added a defiant and drought-breaking century to his dramatic summer, pulling together his best individual performance in whites in almost three years in his 100th Test.

Fiery and furious at the crease, Warner typically saves his best for when the heat is at its highest. Coming into Boxing Day facing questions over on and off-field issues, the 36-year-old made no exception as he shook off a head knock to bring up an emotional hundred at the MCG.

A boundary off his 144th ball faced saw Warner erupt in a succession of fervent celebrations; a trademark leap, kisses blown to his family by him and, it appeared, media and broadcasters, before finally exchanging a hug with long-time teammate Steve Smith.

Warner winds back the clock with a hundred in 100th Test

On a scorching hot Melbourne day, it was his first Test ton since January 2020, ending a run of 29 innings without reaching triple figures – the longest drought of his career.

Warner became just the eighth Australian to 25 Test centuries and only the second Aussie opener after Matthew Hayden, while he also passed 8,000 Test runs along the way, another feat only seven of his countrymen had previously achieved.

His glittering innings comes in a summer that has seen Warner dominate headlines after pulling out of a review process that was set to decide whether his lifetime leadership ban would be overturned.

Warner with his children on Boxing Day // cricket.com.au

His form with the bat has also come under the microscope but, having reiterated before this match his desire to continue playing Test cricket beyond next week’s summer-concluding match in Sydney, Warner highlighted he is far from a spent force.

It was Warner at his absolute best, with all the hallmarks of the left-hander’s inimitable style on display during the marquee NRMA Insurance Test at one of cricket’s iconic venues.

Out twice to wide balls earlier in the summer against West Indies, Warner repeatedly pounded on any width offered by the Proteas as he peppered the off-side fence.

Just two of the nine boundaries he had struck upon reaching his century came in front of square on the leg-side.

At 36 years old, Warner is the oldest member of this Australian Test side.

He might also be the fittest.

Resuming his innings unbeaten on 32 on day two, Warner showed complete disregard for the thermostat that was rapidly rising towards 40 degrees Celsius as he raced between the wickets.

Not everyone could keep up. Marnus Labuschagne was run out after hesitating on an overthrow run that Warner was determined to make during Tuesday’s first session.

The fact that Warner, before realizing his partner’s innings had ended and given South Africa a wicket against the run of play, had taken a step for another run after making his ground at his end only underscored his sheer single-mindedness.

Two balls earlier, before he had reached his half-century, Warner had his helmet rattled by Anrich Nortje, who again took aim at the Australian after lunch with a ferocious spell that saw him tip the speed gun past the 150kph mark on several occasions.

But nothing was going to knock Warner off course and, for what he reckons is a long time coming, the chips all fell his way.

The bad luck Warner is convinced he has dogged him all summer was on his mind even on Boxing Day while Australia fielded.

When Dean Elgar chopped a ball on that rolled slowly back onto his stumps but failed to dislodge the bails, Warner, wearing a microphone for Fox Cricket, piped up: “If that was me, the bails are coming off.”

A thick inside edge off Lungi Ngidi that flew between his pads and the stumps and away for four, taking Warner to 76 to the bowler’s disbelief, suggested his luck had finally turned.

Men’s NRMA Insurance Test Series v South Africa

First Tests: Australia won by six wickets

Dec 26-30: Second Test, MCG, 10.30am AEDT

Jan 4-8: Third Test, SCG, 10.30am AEDT

Australia squad: Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Lance Morris, Nathan Lyon, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner

South Africa squad: Dean Elgar (c), Temba Bavuma, Gerald Coetzee, Theunis de Bruyn, Sarel Eree, Simon Harmer, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Heinrich Klaasen, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne, Lizaad Williams Khaya Zondo

Buy #AUSvSA Test tickets here

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