David Warner has left the cricket world in awe after a moment of magic in Australia’s thumping win against England, in the first of their three-match ODI series.
Warner (86 runs), his new opening partner Travis Head (69) and Steve Smith (80 not out) all starred as the Aussies comfortably chased down England’s 288-run target, in a commanding six-wicket win in Adelaide.
‘DISRESPECTFUL’: Ugly new twist in Shane Warne doctor furore
Head delivered a perfect first audition to be Warner’s permanent partner at the top of the Aussie order, ahead of next year’s ODI World Cup.
The Test No.5 got an opportunity at the top of the order after the retirement of former skipper Aaron Finch from the ODI side, and Head made the most of it by combining with Warner for a blazing 147-run opening stand that set up Australia’s win.
At times Head – like many other observers – just had to sit back and admire the brilliance of his batting partner Warner, who looked back to his best in a blistering knock.
It was a vintage innings from Warner even if the 35-year-old fell short of scoring his first international century since January 2020.
One shot in particular left cricket fans and commentators gobsmacked when Warner casually hit a delivery from England quick David Willey for six, scooping the ball over the leg side boundary with astonishing ease.
“Oh that’s so clever, so creative from Warner, all the way! That’s a ridiculous shot,” Aussie Test great Adam Gilchrist said on Fox Cricket commentary.
Warner and Head’s partnership had a familiar feeling to it after the pair combined five years ago when Finch was out of the team.
On January 26, 2017, Head and Warner scorched Pakistan’s bowlers at the Adelaide Oval to put on a 284-run stand – the highest partnership in Australia’s ODI history.
Head was dropped from Australia’s ODI team in 2018, having to wait almost four years for another opportunity when he was recalled to play in the middle-order against Pakistan in March.
Warner is hopeful Head can cement his spot ahead of the World Cup in India next October.
“I think we both play quite similar, we take the game on. We like to go aerial, that’s the way we play,” Warner told reporters on Thursday.
“It’s coming off at the moment, which is great and hopefully we can continue that success.”
Steve Smith roars back into form for Australia
After winning the toss and electing to field first, Australia kept England to 9-287 despite a majestic century from Dawid Malan.
The opener responded to the disappointment of missing England’s T20 World Cup triumph by smashing a career-best 134, helping England reach a respectable total after the visitors found themselves in early trouble at 4-66.
England’s total always appeared below-par as Warner and Head went about their business, before Smith guided the Aussies home with an ominous knock that suggested a return to form for the former captain.
After being left out for all but one game of the recent Twenty20 World Cup campaign, Smith had a point to prove and his innings came at better than a run-a-ball as the star batter built on the good foundations set by Warner and Head.
Warner appeared set to score his first international century since January 2020 but was caught in the deep for 86.
“We came in here really fresh after a week (off after the exit at the T20 World Cup) and keen to come back into it, and it showed,” Australia captain Pat Cummins said.
“Classic Smithy has been working the house down in the nets so to be fluent from ball one was awesome, we know his class.”
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.