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Sport Bradman, Smith, Warner: Star's epic U-turn

04:30  07 january  2020
04:30  07 january  2020 Source:   wwos.nine.com.au

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a man wearing a helmet holding a baseball bat: David Warner drives during his second innings century at the SCG.© Getty David Warner drives during his second innings century at the SCG. David Warner was 18 months removed from being one of Australia's biggest pariahs. And just two months past one of the worst Test series ever seen by an Aussie batsman.

Then he began his summer-long recompense to Australian cricket. He turned five home Tests into a career golden ticket. If it's not complete redemption, it is good enough.

Warner may have lost the right to decide his legacy, post-Sandpapergate. Yet he's virtually ensured that he will end his Australian Test career on his terms.

"He's there as long as he wants to play at the moment," former Australian captain Ian Chappell told Wide World of Sports.

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"You never know with injury [but] he's very fit, so he could be around for quite a while if he wants to be."

With a five-match Ashes series that reaped 95 runs at 9.50, including a record eight single-figure scores, Warner made a nightmare return to the Australian Test team.

Yet if England was Steve Smith's grand comeback announcement, Warner inadvertently kept his powder try until he was back in Australia.

It's no secret that the left-handed opening batsman has struggled on Ashes tours; he's now failed to make a century from 13 Tests in England. Good judges, Australian coach Justin Langer chief among them, knew to expect far better of him at home.

Warner in Australia is every bit the raging bull his nickname suggests. His five-Test run against Pakistan and New Zealand this home summer was the fifth-best by an Australian in history, trailing Marnus Labuschagne's astonishing campaign of 896 runs, Neil Harvey's 834 against South Africa in 1952-53, and Sir Donald Bradman's Ashes series of 810 runs in 1936-37 and 806 runs in 1931-32.

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Smith ´ s stunning fall from grace -- on the heels of high praise for his recent performances in the Ashes when he was described as the "best since (Don) Bradman " -- is an extraordinary turn of events for the world´ s premier Test batsman. Steven Peter Devereux Smith , born in Sydney in 1989, made his

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Warner hit 786 runs at an average of 131, with three centuries. He now averages 65.94 in Australia, which is the third-best average of all time among Aussie batsmen who have made 2,000 Test runs or more on home soil, trailing only Bradman (98.22) and Steve Smith (71.14).

a group of people jumping in front of a crowd: David Warner produces his trademark leap after reaching his century at the SCG.© Getty David Warner produces his trademark leap after reaching his century at the SCG.

Warner bumped up his career average by three and a half runs from the start of the summer to the end, now at 48.94 (7,244 runs). That still-elite number is tempered by an away average of 33.17 and he's made just five of his 24 Test centuries abroad.

Warner has smashed 19 centuries on Australian soil and unleashed his masterpiece this summer: 335 not out against Pakistan in Adelaide. It bettered Bradman's highest Test score by one run and trails only Matthew Hayden's 380 among all-time Australian innings.

It is what it is. Warner is a run machine at home but not away. Yet he's so good at home that he can't be considered anything other than a Test great.

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READ: Smith , Warner , Bancroft pack their bags and head home. Just 32 months on, the 28-year-old has been Smith ' s stunning fall from grace - on the heels of high praise for his recent performances in the Ashes when he was described as the "best since (Don) Bradman " - is an extraordinary turn of

Located less than ninety minutes from both Sydney and Canberra, in Sir Donald Bradman ' s home town of Bowral. Join Aussie spin-bowler Nathan Lyon as your Bradman Museum Tour Guide. Allow him to help you explore the extensive interactive displays, study Sir Donald Bradman ’ s playing equipment

"I think he just had one of those series in England," Chappell said.

"He obviously has a comfort level in Australia that he hasn't quite found in places like England. But he's still a very fine player."

a baseball player taking a swing at a ball: David Warner drives during his second innings century at the SCG.© Getty David Warner drives during his second innings century at the SCG.

Warner made three centuries this summer and his maturity was impressive. Rather than trying to murder attacks, as he has on home soil his entire career, he picked them apart.

He made 111 not out in the final innings of his campaign, at the SCG, from just 159 balls; a strike rate of 70, yet with minimal fuss.

"Especially then, I thought he provided a perfect example of how to score quickly without very much risk at all, it was terrific," Chappell said.

"He didn't play a lot of big shots, but he placed the ball nicely and ran well between wickets. It was a terrific knock."

a man standing in front of a crowd: David Warner walks off after his first innings dismissal at the SCG, for 45.© Getty David Warner walks off after his first innings dismissal at the SCG, for 45.

Warner has all but cemented his right to choose the manner of his exit from Test cricket, Sandpapergate notwithstanding. He paid his price for the Cape Town scandal - still is, thanks to a leadership ban - and has more than earned his way as a batsman.

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There were thankfully no boos from the home fans this summer. Some measure of goodwill has been restored; such breathtaking batting always goes a long way, as it will for some time yet.

Australia plays a two-Test series in Bangladesh midway through the year. Warner has scored two Test centuries in Bangladesh, meaning there should be no impediment whatsoever to next Australian summer.

The 2020-21 home campaign starts against minnow Afghanistan, before a marquee four-Test series against India. Warner has made four centuries from eight home Tests against India, with a best of 180 and an average of 49.50.

There's a trip back to South Africa after that, should Warner desire. It's a home Ashes for the 2021-22 summer, a chance to right his last awful visit to England.

a man wearing a hat looking at the camera: David Warner poses for a portrait ahead of the 2019-20 Test summer.© Getty David Warner poses for a portrait ahead of the 2019-20 Test summer.

Warner is currently sitting on 84 Tests and the timing could be stretched for him to reach 100. Aged 33, he revealed at the start of this summer that he was considering quitting either red ball or white ball cricket in the next 18 months, to prolong his career in one form.

He suggested that T20 cricket was actually harsher on his body; but then again, T20 provides incredible revenue streams to players in the twilight of their careers and Warner has been a big-earning superstar in the IPL. We shall see.

Warner needed to deliver a big summer to guarantee his future in the Australian Test team. He did that emphatically, albeit against disappointing opposition. He currently sits 10th on the all-time Test run-scorers list for Australia, having just overtaken Bradman, Greg Chappell and also Smith, for now.

Warner will wear the baggy green until he chooses to no longer do so. Considering that we wondered if he would ever play for Australia again after Sandpapergate, that is a monumental achievement from a mighty player.

Smith to go back to No.3 for Australia .
Steve Smith will return to first drop for Australia in the one-day series against India, beginning on Tuesday.Smith will return to the crucial position of first-drop for the three matches against India having batted at four for the majority the World Cup last year as Aaron Finch's team begin the road towards cricket's showpiece event in 2023.

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