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David Warner's numbers game

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David_Warner_Australia_cricketDavid Warner made his International T20 debut even before his First Class debut. This showed the faith that the Australian selectors had in his abilities. He did not disappoint, scoring 89 off just 43 balls against South Africa at Melbourne in January 2009.

Normally, very quick scorers are considered more likely to excel in the shorter formats of the game than in Tests. However, as Virender Sehwag shrewdly remarked, with attacking fields in Tests, Warner would excel in the longest format as well.

Warner has played in 66 Tests and scored 5,705 runs at an average of 47.94 with 20 centuries. However, some critics still comment on his skewed home/away record. He has scored a lot of runs at home but has had modest returns almost everywhere else. Is he a flat track bully? Can he be considered a great batsman? Let’s have a look at what his numbers say.

Warner has scored 3,257 runs in 33 Tests at home at an excellent average of 59.21, which is the 4th highest amongst Australian batsmen who have scored at least 3,000 Test runs at home, after Don Bradman, Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey. He has also scored 14 out of his 20 centuries at home.

However, he has a poor record away from home, scoring just 2,448 runs from 33 Tests at an average of 38.25. This can in part be explained due to his poor record in Asia.

Over the world, the conditions and challenges of batting in Tests can be divided into three different types. In Asia (and nowadays the Caribbean), the pitches take a lot of turn; in South Africa and Australia there is a lot of pace and bounce; in England and New Zealand there is a lot of swing in the air along with lateral movement off the pitch.

 

In Asia, he has scored 1,041 runs in 15 Tests at a much lower average of 34.7. Even this number is inflated by 2 centuries in Bangladesh and one century and a fifty in the UAE against Pakistan. In India and Sri Lanka combined, he averages just 25.04 from 11 Tests. This can be attributed to his difficulty in adapting to the conditions in the sub-continent and sticking to his belief in going after the bowling right from the word go.

 

However, one good feature is that even away from home, his batting averages in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th innings of Tests are 33.94, 35.06, 42.11 and 42.50 respectively. This shows that he is capable of scoring runs in a variety of conditions even when the pitches deteriorate over time.

In South Africa, Warner averages an astounding 90.5. Coupled with his batting average of 59.21 in Australia, this shows that he is a master on fast and bouncy surfaces.

However, in New Zealand and England he has scored just 595 runs at a batting average of 33.05 from 10 Tests without a single century. Therefore, he needs to improve his record in conditions other than his preferred hot, fast and bouncy.

In the 35 Tests that Australia won when he played, Warner has scored 3,245 runs at an average of 53.19.

If you take a minimum cut-off of 1,000 runs, he is the fastest scorer in Tests since the day he made his debut with a batting strike rate of 77.28. This shows how often Warner sets up the game for Australia with a brisk start at the top of the order. With his speed of scoring, he can take the game away from the opposition in just a couple of sessions.

 

In 2016-17 against Pakistan at Sydney, Warner became just the 5th batsman to score a century before lunch on the first day of a Test. The enormity of the feat can be judged from the fact that only 5 people have accomplished it in the 140-year history of Tests.

 

Warner has also scored a century in both innings 3 times. Many other players have achieved this feat, including Sunil Gavaskar and Ricky Ponting. However, Warner is one of just 5 players to accomplish this feat TWICE in a calendar year.

Warner played all but 3 of his 123 innings as an opening batsman. He has scored 5,666 runs at an average of 48.84 as an opener, which is the third most for any Australian opener, after Matthew Hayden and Mark Taylor. His 20 centuries as opener is the 2nd most for Australia after Hayden, and if you take a cut-off of 1,000 Test runs opening the batting for Australia, he has the 7th best batting average.

Warner has scored more than 1,000 Test runs in a calendar year twice: in 2014 and 2015.

Since his debut on December 1st, 2011, Warner has scored 5,705 Test runs, more runs than anyone apart from Alastair Cook, who has scored 5,761 runs in this time period. His 20 centuries are the most by a batsman since his Test debut.

Warner had a quiet start to his career, scoring just 1,401 runs in his first 22 Tests at a modest average of 36.86. However, from November 2013 to 3rd January 2016, he scored 3,066 Test runs from 27 Tests at an average of 62.57 with 13 centuries. During this period, he scored the most runs and centuries in Tests.

Warner has scored more than 500 runs in a Test series 3 times. His highest run haul in a series is 592 at an average of 98.66 against New Zealand in November 2015.

All of this goes to show that Warner is a very good batsman in Tests, but needs to improve his record in the sub-continent, England and New Zealand to be counted amongst the all-time greats.

 

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