AUS v SA: Warner hungry and eager to play red-ball cricket beyond his 100th Test

Going through his longest sequence of innings without a hundred in the longest format of the game, opener David Warner says the drought is a distraction as he gets ready for his 100th Test for Australia, in the second match of the series against South Africa at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), starting on Monday.

The 36-year-old has been going through difficult times, struggling for form and distracted by the controversy with Cricket Australia over overturning his captaincy ban after pulling out of the process, unhappy with the federation’s handling of the process.

Warner’s last three Tests have seen him make scores of 5, 48, 21 and 28 against the Windies, before 3 and 0 during the two-day Test at the Gabba against South Africa. That has seen his century drought extend to 29 innings, though he did manage a ton in his most recent ODI innings — against England at the MCG last month.

However, on Saturday he insisted that he is still hungry for runs and eager to keep playing well beyond his 100th Test match on Boxing Day.

“Leading into the Perth Test, my mental health probably wasn’t where I needed it to be at to be 100 percent,” Warner told reporters on Saturday.

“And that was challenging. If I had it my way, we would have had it all sorted (by then). From the CA’s point of view, I didn’t really have any support. My teammates and the staff in our team were absolutely amazing, and my family and friends — they really got me through that period.

“I’m in a great headspace now … I’m pumped to play another Boxing Day Test, and more importantly we’ve got a series that’s on the line.”

The left-hander is adamant he still has the hunger for tours of India and England, Australia’s two overseas Test assignments in 2023 that captain Pat Cummins has labelled as “career-defining”, said a report on cricket.com.au.

For the last many years, no Aussie men’s team has won a Test campaign in either India or England — 2001 was their last Ashes series win abroad while 2004 was their last win in India.

Meanwhile, Warner indicated that he hoped to speak to CA officials following the concluding match of the home series against the Proteas in Sydney.

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