Warner changes gears for Test ton No.20 | cricket.com.au

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Warner changes gears for Test ton No.20

Vice-captain registers a second hundred in succession to steer Australia towards first-innings parity with Bangladesh

Australia vice-captain David Warner has shown he's a Test opener for all conditions after posting his slowest international century on day three of the second Test against Bangladesh.

And having now notched back-to-back tons on the subcontinent, Warner's final frontier as a Test batsman, coach Darren Lehmann believes the left-hander has finally "got it".

Warner's trademark leap after reaching three figures // Getty
Warner's trademark leap after reaching three figures // Getty

Warner followed up his drought-breaking 112 in the first Test in Dhaka with a resolute hundred in Chittagong, taking his tally into triple-digits in the early afternoon of day three.

After being forced to sit through a lengthy rain delay on the third morning, Warner kissed his Baggy Green as he reached the milestone off 209 balls (having spent 15 of them on 99) with a cover-driven boundary 45 minutes into the afternoon session.

The road from his stumps score of 88 to three figures wasn't without drama, though, as Peter Handscomb, who’d courageously batted through illness the previous day, was run out with Warner on 99.

Day wrap: Aussies defy heat, Bangladesh bowlers on day two

The Victorian pushed for the century-sealing single after Warner played one to the leg-side, but a dead-eye Shakib Al Hasan threw down the stumps at the non-striker’s end after Warner sent him back, ending Handscomb’s superb knock of 82.

It was comfortably Warner’s slowest Test century; his previous 'best' had been a 154-ball effort against India in Australia's second innings of the 2014 Adelaide Test.

Drawing level with skipper Steve Smith as well as another Sydneysider in Mark Waugh on 20 Test tons, Warner's innings represents the most measured ton of his almost six-year career in the Baggy Green.

Handscomb was run out attempting a quick single on day three // Getty
Handscomb was run out attempting a quick single on day three // Getty

In brutal heat that Australia players have almost universally declared the most oppressive they've played in, Warner struck just five boundaries on the way to his hundred.

At one stage on day two, he went 74 balls without finding the fence but, far from being tied down by the hosts' spinners, he and Peter Handscomb pushed themselves to the point of exhaustion by scampering between the wickets to score at nearly four runs per over during the final session.

Despite his reputation as one of the game's most destructive batsmen, Warner has on numerous occasions posted substantial scores at, by his standards, pedestrian pace; he's needed more than 100 balls to pass fifty on three separate occasions before and even took 133 balls to reach that milestone against West Indies in Dominica in 2012.

Tea wrap: Warner posts a century but Tigers strike

Yet he failed to reach triple-figures in each of those innings, suggesting some degree of discomfort with playing an extended innings at less than breakneck speed.

But having adapted his game to Test cricket's fluctuating tempos in Bangladesh with a typically rapid ton in Dhaka and now his most composed hundred in Chittagong, Warner's game has gone to another level, according to Lehmann.

"The way he's adapted ... and actually gone about in a different way in the last couple of innings has been spectacular," the coach said after day two.

Warner roars with delight as he reaches three figures // Getty
Warner roars with delight as he reaches three figures // Getty

"He only hit four boundaries today which is unusual for him. They spread the field quite a lot so it was hard for him to hit boundaries and play on the basis of how he (normally) plays.

"He led the way in how we wanted to play in that partnership. It's what you want from your leaders. He's been excellent, especially in the last couple of innings.

"He's that talented, he's probably got it now."

Lehmann hails 'special day' from gutsy Aussies

Australia's most experienced batsman with 66 Tests to his name, Warner had gone 20 innings and three years without a hundred in Asia before the Dhaka Test, and his middling returns on recent tours of India and Sri Lanka had the 30-year-old himself questioning whether he'd ever crack the subcontinental code.

"I think (the doubts) probably hit me in Sri Lanka (in 2016)," Warner said after his first Test century.

"I probably tinkered with it (his technique) a lot over the last couple of years in these conditions and probably just didn't nail the basics of what I do best … attacking and then defending.

Day wrap: Tigers fight back after Warner's century

"That's when I am at my best and I always talk about my defence taking care of itself if I am having that attacking approach.

"And I just showed myself and proved to myself that I am capable of doing it on turning tracks."

DAVID WARNER’S SLOWEST TEST CENTURIES

  • 209 balls v Bangladesh, Chittagong 2017*
  • 154 balls v India, Adelaide 2014
  • 145 balls v New Zealand, Hobart 2011
  • 141 balls v New Zealand, Brisbane 2015

Australia in Bangladesh 2017

Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Ashton Agar, Jackson Bird, Hilton Cartwright, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Steve O'Keefe, Matthew Renshaw, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade.

Bangladesh squad: Mushfiqur Rahim (c), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Shakib Al Hasan, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Sabbir Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Liton Das, Taskin Ahmed, Shafiul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Taijul Islam, Mominul Haque.


27-31 August First Test, Dhaka, Bangladesh won by 20 runs


4-8 September Second Test, Chittagong