David Warner has downplayed suggestions next week’s New Year’s Test will be his final one after a dominating performance in his 100th match.
Despite coming into the second Test against South Africa under a mountain of pressure, Warner played one of the best knocks of his career, and was named the player of the match for his 255-ball innings of 200.
Such was Australia’s dominance that Warner almost outscored the Proteas in both innings, as Australia ran out winners by an innings and 182 runs.
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Following the match, Warner was asked about whether this would be his last Boxing Day Test and offered an interesting response.
“You never know,” he said.
“I’ve obviously committed to playing next year’s (Twenty20) World Cup. If I’m still feeling as fit as I can then I’ll keep going for as long as I can.
“If I get that tap on the shoulder, then I’m going to have to go.”
As impressive as Australia has been so far in the series, South Africa has been equally disappointing.
The tourists were blasted for a lack of professionalism after being throttled at the MCG to lose their first series in Australia since the summer of 2005-06.
Despite the series being billed as a potential epic, the Proteas lasted just a combined six days in the first two Tests, with Australia securing an unassailable 2-0 lead with the New Year’s Test at the SCG to come next week.
Australia was ruthless in exposing the frailties of a young South African line-up, punishing every mistake made by the tourists en route to a fourth consecutive Test win of the summer.
Facing a second-innings deficit of 386 runs, South Africa did itself no favors on day four, with its top scorer Temba Bavuma running out two teammates in calamitous fashion.
Bavuma first burnt Khaya Zondo in the opening session with what was a suicidal attempt at a quick single before running out Keshav Maharaj in what should’ve been an easily-run three.
Maharaj’s run-out left the commentary team in disbelief.
“That is just a calamity,” former New Zealand keeper Ian Smith said on Fox Cricket’s coverage. “Just dreadful cricket, honestly.”
Former Australian batter Mark Waugh labeled the running “amateur hour”.
“That’s not good enough at Test level. That’s just not good enough,” he said.
To make matters worse for the tourists, Bavuma fell just minutes later for 65 following an ill-advised slog attempt against Nathan Lyon.
South African captain Dean Elgar did not thin his words following the innings and 182-run loss.
“We have to come up to speed to the intensity Test cricket deserves. We were good in periods, but it is not a lot,” he said.
“The inexperience is hitting us hard. We have lost a lot of batters in the last few years.
“There is opportunities for guys to make their spots their own, but the inexperience is hurting us.”
Former Australian captain Mark Taylor suggests that South Africa’s batters’ issues were two-fold.
“I thought Australia was always going to be the favorites to win this Test series, but it’s surprising to see how disappointing the batting of South Africa has been,” he told Wide World of Sports.
“They’re really showing why it’s only been Dean Elgar who’s scored more than one Test hundred.
“There’s some technical problems there and also some mental problems in terms of putting together a Test match innings against quality bowling, being able to go through the gears and find a way of manufacturing a long innings that turns into a hundred.”
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