An emotional David Warner at the Adelaide Oval after reaching the figure of 63 not out © Getty Images
An emotional David Warner at the Adelaide Oval after reaching the figure of 63 not out © Getty Images

David Warner’s century on Day One of the first Test against India in Adelaide is perhaps one of the most emotional knocks in recent times. Warner paid tribute to his friend Phillip Hughes, by notching an entertaining and fearless hundred. Nishad Pai Vaidya looks back to a memorable century.

When Australia assembled for their practice session a few days before the first Test, Warner cut a very emotional figure. The southpaw was still grieving the loss of his friend Phillip Hughes, who was felled by a bouncer during a Sheffield Shield game right before his eyes. Warner struggled in the nets, unable to hold his own. Upon walking out, he broke down! It was understandable as the world mourned the loss; but for Warner it had a bigger connotation.

This century is perhaps the best tribute Warner could have given Hughes, who also shared that attacking instinct. The look at the sky on getting to his fifty summed up the emotions over the last two weeks. On 63, he raised his bat again and looked up to the heavens yet again. It was quite a symbolic gesture by Warner as the number 63 has occupied an unforgettable spot in cricketing folklore. This number would forever be associated with Hughes and as the series goes on, we may see more players making it more symbolic.

Warner has shown tremendous mental strength to go out there and get on with the game. Perhaps his start helped him overcome any initial nerves. The Indians fed him with those deliveries outside the off-stump, which were punished severely. Within the first four overs, Australia had sped away to 40; Warner was on 35 off 17. Playing with his trademark aggression, Warner soothed himself and got his eye in to play a long one.

It wasn’t just about the initial charge that caught the eye. Warner was sensible enough to temper his game and not get carried away. Getting right behind those deliveries, Warner showed sound defense. Even when the Indian bowlers pitched it short, he was ready to leave them. Normally a fearless puller, he let them go this time. While he may have come out of his shell to start with, the pull shot took time to come. He did play a pull only on 98, when he got a single to the deep.

This innings could well be one of the most moving knocks in recent history. One instantly thinks of Sachin Tendulkar’s 103 not out against England in Chennai in 2008, which came in the backdrop of the Mumbai terror attacks. Tendulkar’s knock was emotional in the sense that the Indian in him was affected like a billion others. One of course cannot compare the two knocks or the two scenarios but Warner’s knock could mean something similar to Australia, which is recovering from the loss of a sporting hero. This is one ton Warner will cherish for the rest of his life.

It was also fitting that Michael Clarke was by Warner’s side when he got to his ton. Hughes was like a younger brother to Clarke and his eulogy was tearful. The Australian captain had symbolised the emotion of the cricket world during the tough period. Now, it was his chance to help it recover. Warner has made the initial moves and a milestone from Clarke awaits.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)