‘He can play for as long as he likes’ – Smith on milestone man Warner

by  crickethighlights.on eStaff  •  Last updated on Tue, Dec 27, 2022, 09:55 PM

On a day where players from both sides struggled with the sweltering heat, David Warner put on a batting masterclass in the Boxing Day Test against South Africa to finish with an undefeated 200. Eventually, the energy-sapping heat took its toll on the opener as he had to retire hurt due to cramps. But by the time Warner was helped off the field, Australia had taken complete control of proceedings.

Through the course of the day’s play, Warner was laid low by cramps and had asked for medical attention when he was batting on 124. Such was the effect of the extreme heat that plastic chairs were brought out for the players during drinks breaks. However, all the suffering didn’t seem to bother the southpaw opener playing in his 100th Test, as he cracked 16 boundaries and two sixes. In fact, he and Steve Smith combined to collect 83 runs in a mere 11 overs after Tea. On his part, Smith noted that Warner has good fitness levels and backed him to play for Australia for a while longer.

“They are a quality attack, they are great bowlers, he (Warner) played exceptionally well from ball 1 yesterday. Looks like he had great energy, feet moving really nicely. Started from where he took off nicely. Today, he just played beautifully, I think the more he started to cramp, the more shots he started to play, everything was coming out of the middle. So it was an amazing knock. Nice to be at the other end for a large chunk of it.

“He’s obviously doing pretty well. He’s fit. I don’t see any reason why he can’t continue playing. He certainly saw the ball well today. He can play for as long as he likes,” he said.

Smith also observed that he and Warner didn’t chat much during their 239-run alliance. “Honestly, we weren’t talking about it. I was just doing my thing, he is doing his. It was just like, ‘keep batting’. He was like, ‘I’m cramping’ (and) I was like, ‘good, just keep going’.”

Smith himself ended up with a fine 85. Incidentally, he was the last batter to be dismissed for the day. Subsequently, Warner retired hurt. All-rounder Cameron Green took a blow on his right index finger while facing South Africa’s quickest bowler Anrich Nortje and had to retire hurt as well.

“It was pretty energy-sapping, hot, it wasn’t the most comfortable day at the crease, boys were cramping. But nice to get into a position where we are now… in a nice spot. Obviously, a strange finish to the day. It was hard to believe that I was the last wicket. Nathan Lyon was padded next to me and we were three down. It was an interesting finish but it was a good day.”

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