Saturday was an emotional day for all the cricket fans as Australia star batter David Warner played his last Test match at the Sydney Cricket Ground against Pakistan. The 37-year-old dashing opener ended his 13 years long Test career with a remarkable half-century, which helped Australia claim an eight-wicket win and register a clean sweep in the three-match series. In the chase of 130, Warner scored 57 off 75 balls before getting LBW out by Sajid Khan. However, his last moments on the field as a Test batter grabbed a lot of attention and broke many hearts.
In the 25 over of Australia’s chase, Sajid struck on Warner’s pads and appealed for LBW. The on-field umpire signaled not out, after which, Pakistan opted for a DRS review. As the TV umpire gave the decision in favor of Pakistan, Warner took the long walk back to the pavilion, receiving a heartwarming applause from the players as well as the audience.
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“It’s pretty much a dream come true to win 3-0 and cap off what has been a great 18 months to two years for the Australian team,” he said after Australia claimed an eight-wicket victory for a sweep of the series.
“I’m just proud to be with a bunch of great cricketers. These guys — they work their backsides off. To come here in front of my home crowd and the support they have shown me and the team over the last decade of my career, I can’t thank them enough,” he added.
He departed the red-ball game after plundering 8,786 runs at an average of 44.60, with a strike rate of 70.20, blasting 26 centuries and 37 half-centuries.
A larger-than-life character, Warner also collected 91 catches as one of the most consistent slip fielders in cricket.
“He is probably our greatest-ever three-format player. He’ll be a loss,” Australian coach Andrew McDonald said ahead of the Test.
Warner last week also announced his retirement from one-day international cricket, but is expected to continue in the Twenty20 format.
While one of the finest openers the sport has known, Warner’s exploits will forever be overshadowed by the role he played in the notorious “sandpaper-gate” ball-tampering scandal of 2018.
He was seen as the chief plotter when Cameron Bancroft used sandpaper to scuff the ball before a crude attempt to conceal the evidence down his trousers during the third Test in Cape Town.
Along with skipper Steve Smith, he was suspended for a year by Cricket Australia, stripped of the vice-captaincy and banned from ever leading the team.
Despite the controversies Warner was welcomed back into the Australia fold when his ban ended and made his comeback during the Ashes series against England in 2019.
He has been a fixture ever since with selectors now facing the difficult decision of who replaces him, with a two-Test home series against the West Indies starting on January 17 in Adelaide.
Recognised openers Bancroft, Marcus Harris and Matt Renshaw are seen as the contenders to fill the role.
However, Smith added a twist to the plot this week when he put his hand up to move up from number four and do the job.
That would open the door for the return of young all-rounder Cameron Green in the middle of the order, having been overlooked in recent Tests in favour of a resurgent Mitchell Marsh.
(With AFP Inputs)
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