David Warner has scored an incredible double century in scenes similar to Dean Jones’ famous knock in Madras in 1986.
Warner walked out to resume batting at 10:30am on day two of the Boxing Day Test with the temperature already at 30 degrees.
The 36-year-old hadn’t scored a century in almost three years but after lunch reached the milestone against the South Africans to break the drought and silence his critics.
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The temperature hit 37 degrees as Warner put on a 239-run partnership with Steve Smith, but severe cramp was setting in and at drinks in the final session he could barely stand. ‘
Teammates brought a chair to the middle for Warner – who was on 192 runs – to sit in with a wet towel draped over his head as the physio massaged his legs.
“David Warner looks absolutely cooked out in the middle of the MCG,” Mark Howard said on Fox Cricket.
“His partnership with Steven Smith is 239 in stifling conditions. Since tea Warner is 57 from just 36 deliveries.
“He’s moved to 192 and has about three different chaps giving him treatment out in the middle at the moment.”
South African great Shaun Pollock questioned whether it was worth Warner batting on after he makes 200 runs.
“I didn’t suffer with massive amounts of cramp in my career but it’s the worst feeling and sensation, almost nothing you can do.
“He’s got himself to 192, I want to see what happens if he gets himself to 200, what’s going to happen to the celebration? It might have to be subdued one.
“He’s desperate to get to the milestone, once he gets there is it worthwhile retiring hurt?”
Kerry O’Keeffe responded that Warner would have to consider it.
“He looks distressed,” O’Keeffe said.
“There is still talk of Dean Jones’ 200 at Madras where he was in all sorts of trouble and you sense that Warner is approaching that state, his eyes have sunk. His body is betraying him at the moment.
“When he nicked Rabada in that second innings in Brisbane, if you said he could follow up with a double century, nobody would have believed you.”
Jones made a historic 210 while battling dysentery and oppressive heat, which remains the highest score by an Australian in India.
Jones was infamously hospitalised following the knock and Pollock said Warner needed to get in an ice bath as soon as possible.
“He will just want to get off and get into an ice bath, and he would have been doing that at the lunch break to try and get that body temperature down,” Pollock said.
Warner made his double ton 15 minutes later and dropped to his knees in a passionate celebration.
The veteran didn’t face another ball and instead he was carried off to a standing ovation from the MCG crowd.
“It gets through and David Warner celebrates, pure emotion. Just enough energy to get the trademark leap out. It comes with a cramp but it is a pain he’s happy to have,” Adam Gilchrist said on Fox Cricket.
“The first Australian to pass 200 in their 100th Test. Wonderfully well played. What a proud moment. The body gets to a point where it just can’t tolerate anymore.”
Warner became the eighth Australian men’s cricketer to pass 8000 runs and the fifth batter to pass 5000 runs on Australian soil.
He also overtook Mark Waugh in seventh spot for most Test runs by an Australian.
“An unbelievable moment in his career David Warner, MCG, Boxing Day Test, 100th Test, 200, that’s what dreams are made of,” Waugh said.
“Exceptional skills, metal toughness and physical toughness. Very, very enduring conditions out there today, the heat you always think about the bowlers in the heat but it’s equally tough for the batsmen.
“He’s got to go off. The jump in the air was the nail in the coffin. He needs a medi-cab. Once you start to go I imagine your whole body just shuts down.”
Warner became just the second Aussie batter – and the 10th overall – to score a century in their 100th Test and the first to make a double ton at the MCG since Ricky Ponting in 2003.
Most remarkably, he became the first player in Test history to score at least three hundreds at the five major Aussie venues: The MCG, SCG, Gabba, WACA/Optus Stadium and Adelaide Oval.
“That mental toughness side of things is really impressive,” Mike Hussey said.
“He could have been happy with 100 in his 100th Test match in incredibly hot conditions and say ‘ok I’ll play a loose shot here and be on my way’ but he kept pushing and going. He looked cooked before he got 100.
“They’re going to have to carry him off.”
Warner was under the spotlight coming into the Test, having struggled with the bat for most of the year.
“All the drama that’s been around David Warner, he himself said this may in fact be his last Test match summer,” Adam Gilchrist said.
“He said Test cricket might be the first mode of the game he withdraws from, it’s a very, very emotional moment.”