Warner dedicates century to Hughes on emotional day

Warner dedicates century to Hughes on emotional day

If David Warner’s sweep off Karn Sharma had gone slightly finer, it would have been a four. Luckily, the left-hander had managed to play the ball straight towards the backward square-leg fielder, restricting him to two which took him to 63 not out.

There were rehearsed tributes to Phillip Hughes prior to the start of the first Test here on Tuesday. A moving video by Richie Benaud, 63 seconds of applause from the crowd, the number 408, black armbands and such.

But Warner reaching 63 (the score that Hughes was on when he was fatally struck by a bouncer), the spontaneous applause from a 20,000-strong crowd and the southpaw raising the bat heavenwards in a show of respect to his departed team-mate… It all made for a most poignant moment of the day.

Warner, who was at the venue when Hughes collapsed after being struck on the back of his neck, barely managed to beat back his tears but his emotions had little impact on his batting as he went on to notch up a big ton (145).

"The hardest point of the day for me was when I was on 63,” said Warner later. “It was such a horrific and rare incident that in the back of my mind even though a spinner was bowling, just that number in the back of my mind wasn't right.

So I wanted to try to get past that, it was quite tough when I was on 63 to get that momentum. Michael (Clarke) asked me at the other end if I was ok. I had to step away for a couple seconds there to get my thoughts and my process back again,” he revealed.
Warner rated his 10th Test century as the best of his career.

"I think this is going to be the best of my career. Hopefully I can score some more, but I think that's going to stick with me for the rest of my life. I had a gut feeling that my little mate (Hughes) was down the other end with me the whole time from ball one, up the other end laughing at me about all the support and all the people who've sent their messages down to him.”

Later in the day, Steven Smith too managed to reach 63 with a clipped four off Ishant Sharma and there was similar routine of applause and acknowledgement. Warner said the number is going to remain special for this generation of Aussie cricketers.  

"It's going to be with this generation for the rest of our lives and careers. A lot of people will probably raise their bats at 63, but in the back of our mind we're always going to look up there and know he's looking down on us. I'm going to carry it for the rest of my career, I know that,” he noted.

Dedicating the century to Hughes, Warner said he was not sure if he should celebrate his century or not. "It was in the back of my mind whether I should celebrate or not,” he remarked.

“…but I know what Hughesy's like and he'd always say to keep jumping and keep doing what I do. I dedicate the hundred to him, and Michael said he'd be proud of us both out there, and try and get on and win the game. But it was a little moment out there, and hopefully Michael can come back and get his next 40."
DH News Service

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