Warner defies critics en route to summer-opening 164

After debate around his place in Australia's XI, David Warner salutes to kick off his farewell Test series in style

Warner defies critics with stunning ton on day one

David Warner all but guaranteed his farewell tour will go exactly as he hoped, charging to a quickfire century against Pakistan on the opening day of the NRMA Insurance Test summer.

Warner, whose spot in the team was the subject of significant scrutiny in the build-up to this Test, celebrated a chanceless ton with what might have been a gesture to his critics after needing just 125 balls to get to the milestone.

The opener brought it up with his 14th four, ramping first-gamer Aamir Jamal over the slips, before a furious series of celebrations including a forceful salute towards the northern side of the ground.

"There's going to be criticism, but you've got to take that, and there's no better way to silence them than by putting runs on the board," he told Fox Cricket at tea.

After moving into fifth spot on Australia's all-time Test run-scoring charts by passing Michael Clarke and Matthew Hayden, Warner was finally out in the final session hooking debutant Aamir Jamal for 164 from 211 balls.

Even before this year's Ashes series got underway, Warner had expressed his desire to keep playing until the end of this home Pakistan series and have a fairytale send-off in his home Sydney Test.

Play of the Day: Warner's astonishing six

Selectors made no guarantees, only saying the 37-year-old remained in their best XI for the first Test.

After his first-day fireworks, it now appears certain they will continue to see it that way until the end of the series.

Warner's 26th Test hundred means he has now scored centuries at all seven Australian Test venues he has played at, adding Perth Stadium to the nearby WACA Ground, along with the SCG, MCG, Gabba, Adelaide Oval and Bellerive Oval.

Steve Waugh and Matthew Hayden are the only others to have passed triple-digits at as many Australian grounds. 

Warner could yet bow out having equalled Allan Border's mark of 27 Test centuries, which he is now one away from. Only six Australians have more Test tons, and among Australian openers, only Hayden (30) has more.

Warner and Usman Khawaja combined for a 126-run opening stand // Getty

Hayden's record as Australia's most prolific Test opener is also under threat. Warner, who has scored 39 of his 8,651 Test runs from No.3 and 6, is now just 13 runs away from passing Hayden's Australian benchmark of 8,625 runs from that position. 

Pakistan will be having nightmares about bowling to Warner, who is averaging nearly 90 against them with six centuries in 17 Test innings.

Speaking before play, Warner insisted the scrutiny over his position in the side – which reached a crescendo with an explosive column in The West Australian newspaper by former teammate Mitchell Johnson – did not bother him.

"I've never really felt pressure," said Warner, who has averaged a tick over 30 in Tests since the start of 2021, before today. "When you get out there you might get a little bit of nerves, but I don't feel the pressure when I go out there.

"I think everyone (thinks) now that it sort of adds fuel to the fire for me when I go out there – but that's not the case either.

"When you're out there, you're just in your zone, you forget about what's out there … your focus is on that next delivery and then running hard between wickets. That's what you talk about with compartmentalising."

A fanciful lbw review off a Shaheen Shah Afridi delivery going well over the stumps aside, Warner did not look like being dismissed before reaching triple figures as he took advantage of sweltering heat and an inexperienced Pakistan bowling attack featuring two first-gamers.

Captain Pat Cummins' decision to bat first after winning the toss had put Warner on a collision course with Shaheen, who had been identified as their tourists’ main threat with the ball.

While he found the left-armer a handful on occasions with the new ball, Shaheen's waywardness set the tone for a miserable bowling effort before lunch.

'In our favour': Aussies eye pacey Perth pitch for Test opener

Warner blazed five boundaries in the space of nine balls off Shaheen and debutant quick Khurram Shahzad, the last of those bringing up Australia's fifty even before the 10-over mark.

He had found the fence nine times by the time he brought up his half-century, courtesy of more generous bowling from Faheem Ashraf, who coughed up three boundaries in the space of four balls to Warner.

But the highlight of the left-hander's march to triple-digits was a jaw-dropping pick-up shot over fine-leg off Shaheen, the stroke that he has added to his arsenal in recent years in white-ball cricket.

Warner was vicious on the cut and pull, using the pace of the Perth pitch expertly as he hit the majority of his 16 boundaries behind the wicket.

NRMA Insurance Test series v Pakistan

First Test: December 14-18, Perth Stadium (1.20pm AEDT)

Second Test: December 26-30, MCG (10.30am AEDT)

Third Test: January 3-7, SCG (10.30am AEDT)

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

Pakistan squad: Shan Masood (c), Aamir Jamal, Abdullah Shafique, Abrar Ahmed, Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Khurram Shahzad, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Noman Ali, Saim Ayub, Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Saud Shakeel and Shaheen Shah Afridi