'Played my natural game'

'Played my natural game'

 After the Australian bowlers decimated India, someone needed to maintain the momentum for the hosts, and David Warner did that job magnificently.

The New South Welshman raced to a 69-ball hundred that earned him an equal fourth with Shivnarine Chanderpaul in the list of fastest Test centurions, behind Viv Richards (56), Adam Gilchrist (57) and Jack Gregory (67).

But it was not just a thuggish innings. Warner’s knock was reflective of his mental strength and ability to focus. The first big test of his concentration came when Ishant Sharma tried to rattle him with a few words about his form and average.

“Get your facts right,” microphones caught him yelling, and later Warner said, “They came up to me and said a few things. We (Ed Cowan and Warner) like a little contest out there, and hopefully we can make a much more substantial score tomorrow.”

The spat with Ishant, which forced umpire Aleem Dar to intervene, intensified his aggressive intentions. Subsequently, he came out with an array of awesome shots like a drive past mid-off off Zaheer Khan, a pull off Umesh Yadav, and a mighty straight six off debutant R Vinay Kumar, but he saved the best for Ishant.

When Ishant came for his opening over after that spat, Warner spanked him disdainfully over the bowler’s head for another massive six. So much for trying to rile up an opponent!.

“I came out and played my natural game. After that hundred at Hobart (against New Zealand), I went off the boil for some time. I got out against a nice ball from Zaheer at Sydney, and I was wondering from where the next big runs will come.

“Today, I came out a bit low on self confidence, and I needed to back myself and it paid off for me today. I needed to clear my mind a little,” Warner said.

The left-handed opener faced his next big test when Umesh pinged on his visor with a bouncer. At that time Warner was on 80, and he needed a few moments with the physio. But his response was simply mindboggling, smashing Umesh for two successive boundaries; one came off a short ball intended to rattle him further.

He then brought up his century with a thunderous six off Vinay, and the first one to clap from the Indian camp was Virender Sehwag. Perhaps, he was happy that his prediction about the Test player in Warner came true.

However, Warner didn’t stop harassing the Indians. He took a jibe at the Indian batsmen’s eagerness to play shots at every ball that contributed to their downfall on this tour. "We have seen the line and length we have to bowl to the Indian guys. If you bowl the fifth or sixth stump line, they don't like leaving the ball, they like trying to hit every ball as possible.

“In my mind, they are bowled over already. They have to work out how they can play outside India. And it just shows if we keep fishing out there they're going to nick them and that's exactly what they've been doing."