David Warner had tears in his eyes as he walked to the crease for the final time as a Test cricketer.
He made his way through the guard of honour set by the Pakistani team, took in the SCG crowd that numbered more than 20,000 and turned to his opening partner, childhood mate Usman Khawaja.
“He said it’s been an awesome journey and one that he won’t ever forget and will cherish these moments forever,” Warner said after Australia’s eight-wicket win.
“I didn’t have anything to go back to him with because I was tearing up.
“He said to me before he goes, ‘You gave me doughnuts (nothing)’. I had nothing, I couldn’t talk.”
The innings that followed was pure Warner, a half-centurion in his final hit-out and an entertainer right until the curtain call.
There was dogged running between wickets, a bold – though admittedly failed – attempt at a reverse scoop and a beauty of a reverse sweep that was among his seven fours.
Just after lunch on day four, Warner bowed out for a stylishly made 57 runs, the victim of a turning Sajid Khan delivery that struck his pad before the wicket.
By that point, Australia were only 11 runs short of chasing down Pakistan’s 129-run target and sealing a 3-0 series whitewash.
The 37-year-old walked graciously from the pitch after his dismissal, removing his helmet and raising his bat to the SCG crowd that was giving him a standing ovation.
“It meant the world to me,” Warner said of the reception.
Warner hugged long-time teammate Steve Smith by the boundary rope, gave his helmet to a punter and disappeared into the dressing rooms, never to return to the Test arena.
By turns a loveable larrikin, pantomime villain and entertainment machine, Warner’s career was only ever going to end with a rollercoaster of a week.
It started with a press conference during which Warner bared his soul, reflecting on a career spent in the limelight and as a man who only ever intended to do things his own way.
For good measure, he threw in a sudden ODI retirement, and an open offer to meet up for beers with any of his haters.
The next time he faced the written press on Saturday, he confirmed he would retire from Twenty20 internationals after this year’s World Cup.
But just as the sporting public had begun to digest Monday’s words of wisdom, the David Warner Show took another dramatic turn.
The 37-year-old father-of-three had misplaced his baggy greens.
Warner’s Instagram video appealing for the caps’ safe return sparked a nationwide search spurred on by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese himself.
Even when he was not at the crease, the safe return of the baggy greens early on day three meant Warner remained centre-stage.
It was fitting for a man who made a Test career of withstanding pressure and setbacks – not least in the wake of the 2018 Newlands ball-tampering saga.
“I’ve had a lot of ups and downs through my career,” Warner said.
“Today just showed to me that I do have a lot of support and I am very, very grateful for that.”
After the first day of play, long-term teammate Mitch Marsh chuckled and said something like losing a baggy green “could probably only happen to Davey”.
A Test career that began with vocal doubters aplenty, and that ended in the history books, may remain similarly unique to the knockabout Sydney boy now sailing into the sunset.
DAVID WARNER’S TEST CAREER BY THE NUMBERS:
Debut: Australia vs New Zealand, The Gabba, December 1-4, 2011
Final Test: Australia vs Pakistan, SCG, January 3-6, 2023
Highest Score: 335* vs Pakistan, Adelaide Oval, November 29-December 2, 2019