David Warner missed the second and third ODIs against India. He was on paternity leave. He made a smashing return to the Australian team on Wednesday after welcoming his second child. The ruthlessness was back again. And if a 92-ball 93 was not enough proof of it, then what is?(Scorecard | Highlights)
The Australian opener, who replaced Shaun Marsh, hit 12 fours and one six en route to scoring his 13th ODI fifty, and gave the hosts a brilliant start in the fourth ODI at Canberra. He was ably assisted by fellow opener Aaron Finch, who scored his seventh ODI ton. Finch joined Ireland’s William Porterfield to register most 100s by a batsman yet to play a Test match!
After Australia opted to bat first, proud father Warner turned out to be a nightmare for Indian bowlers. He took two overs to settle in and started the onslaught from the third over, by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The Australian hit Kumar, playing in place of Barinder Sran, for three fours to gave enough indication of his intent.
Next up was Umesh Yadav and he was meted with the same treatment as the Indian pacer went for 14 runs in the fifth over, courtesy three fours from the 29-year-old Warner.
After a lull of six overs in which he did not hit a single boundary, Warner was back in his elements in the 11th over with Kumar bearing the brunt.
The run-rate never plummeted
Even when they were not getting the boundaries, Warner and Finch did not let the run-rate fall below six in the first 10 overs. The way they rotated the strike coupled with some misfielding saw the home team coasting towards a big total.
Warner brought up his fifty in the 14th over, off 46 balls, in his own trademark style by slogging Gurkeerat Singh Mann for six at square leg. He brought up Australia’s 100 too, with reverse sweep four against Ravindra Jadeja in 16.1 overs. That over yielded two more fours.
The Aussie dynamite looked invincible but Ishant Sharma had some other plans. He rattled the Australian’s middle stumps as Warner missed his fifth ODI ton by a whisker.
However, Finch continued to take Australia to a big total as he brought up his century with a single off Yadav in 97 balls. He eventually fell for 107 when Ishant took a well judged catch off Umesh Yadav. But by then Australia were well on their way to a big total.