David warner says his “shush” celebration after making a memorable century against Pakistan was aimed at all the doubters who have dragged up his name to create headlines.
Warner scored 164 off 211 balls to guide Australia to a dominant 5-346 at stumps on day one of the series-opening Test against Pakistan at Optus Stadium.
The 37-year-old only needed 125 balls to bring up his 26th Test ton, and he continued to pile on the pain after that in an innings that featured 16 fours and four sixes.
The massive knock resulted in Warner (8631 runs) leapfrogging both Matthew Hayden and Michael Clarke into fifth spot on Australia’s all-time Test run-scoring list.
Warner has already announced he will retire at the end of the current three-Test series, which also takes in clashes in Melbourne and Sydney.
But given Warner had only posted one Test century since January 2020, there were huge question marks about whether his form warranted him holding his spot until his nominated home finale at the SCG.
The veteran opener emphatically put those doubts to bed on Thursday in front of 15,671 fans, and his emotions flowed after reaching his century.
Warner unleashed his trademark leap in the air, before holding his glove to his mouth and then pointing it towards the venue’s media centre in a powerful response to the criticism he has copped.
“It was there, you saw what it was. It was a nice, little, quiet shush,” Warner said of the celebration.
Warner’s position in the side became a subject of public debate following an explosive column from former Australian pace ace Mitchell Johnson.
Johnson declared Warner didn’t deserve a hero’s farewell given his poor recent form and involvement in the 2018 Sandpapergate scandal.
But Warner, who had also been labelled a walking wicket by his former opening partner Ed Cowan, fired back in perfect fashion, taking just 41 balls to reach his half-century, before powering on to reach his ton.
When asked if his celebration was directed at Johnson specifically, Warner replied: “It’s just (for) anyone who wants to write stories about me and try to get headlines.
“That doesn’t bother me. I’m allowed to celebrate how I want.
“Mitch is entitled to his opinion, he’s a former player. You saw Justin Langer’s comments, he said he (Johnson) is entitled to it.”
Usman Khawaja (41), Marnus Labuschagne (16), Steve Smith (31) and Travis Head (40) were unable to go on with the job against a listless Pakistan attack.
Hometown hero Mitch Marsh (15no) and Alex Carey (14no) will resume at the crease on Friday.
Khawaja hit the headlines this week for inscribing “All lives are equal” and “Freedom is a human right” on his cricket shoes in response to the growing humanitarian crisis in Palestine.
His hopes of wearing the shoes for the Test were scuppered by International Cricket Council rules, but Khawaja – who donned a black armband at Optus Stadium – responded with a heartfelt explanation of his stance.
Khawaja’s innings looked over when he top-edged one high into the sky when he was on 21.
But Abdullah Shafique, running back with the flight, had the sun in his eyes and was left embarrassed as the ball went through his hands and rebounded off his chest for a boundary.
Khawaja’s knock was finally ended after lunch when he edged a fuller Shaheen Afridi delivery behind.
Labuschange was then trapped lbw by Faheem Ashraf (1-65).
Warner was dropped on 104 when Khurram Shahzad failed to hang on to a catch above his head at mid-on.
But his luck ran out late in the day when his hook shot off Aamir Jamal (2-63) came off the toe of his bat and found Imam ul-Haq in the deep.