David Warner: Phil Hughes was batting with me the whole time

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Warner steps away for a couple seconds to gather his thoughts after reaching 63.
Warner steps away for a couple seconds to gather his thoughts after reaching 63. © Cricbuzz

When the Adelaide Test started after all the tributes to Phillip Hughes, it was Australia's opening batsman, David Warner, who stole the limelight almost immediately with his sensational stroke-play. He took the attack to the Indian bowlers straightaway and got the home side off to a flier. A few hours later, he went on to complete an emotional hundred, which according to Warner was "going to be the best" of his career.

It was the first day at the office for Australia since Hughes' tragic passing away and fittingly, they dominated most of the proceedings on Day 1 of the 4-Test series. Speaking to media after the day's play, an emotional Warner said that he thought Phil Hughes was with him right from ball one.

"I had a gut feeling that my little mate was down the other end with me the whole time from ball one. Up the other end laughing at me about all the support and all the people who've sent their messages down to him. I think this is going to be the best of my career. Hopefully I can score some more, but I think that's going to stick with me for the rest of my life," said Warner.

When he got to 63, Warner let his emotions take over.

19.1 Karn Sharma to Warner, 2 runs, kneels down and laps a full toss down to fine leg. The crowd are on their feet to applaud Warner who is now on 63. Warner has a look at the heavens, says a few words, sits down for a breather and then gets back to work. A very emotional moment that!

Talking about what was going through his mind when he was on 63, Warner said: "The hardest point of the day for me was when I was on 63. It was such a horrific incident and a rare incident that in the back of my mind even though a spinner was bowling, just that number in the back of my mind wasn't right. So I wanted to try to get past that, it was quite tough when I was on 63 to get that momentum. Michael (Clarke) asked me at the other end if I was okay, I had to step away for a couple seconds there to get my thoughts and my process back again. It's going to be with this generation for the rest of our lives and careers. A lot of people will probably raise their bats at 63, but in the back of our mind we're always going to look up there and know he's looking down on us. I'm going to carry it for the rest of my career, I know that."

The 28-year-old admitted that he found it very tough to put every thing behind and concentrate on his cricket leading up to the Test match.

"The first net session I walked out of, I was nowhere, so I went out and bowled to the guys, I just felt I had to do something and I didn't just want to linger around and take in the emotions. I went and faced the net bowlers the next day, I think I lasted two or three balls and went and had throw-downs. It's one of those things where you've got to keep soldiering on and do your best. We know he's always going to be with us. I'm proud of the guys to actually walk out there and play today. It's been a very tough week and a bit. The guys were talking about not coming out, and all of us actually getting there, taking the field and uniting as one that was probably the proudest moment for me today," the swashbuckling opener revealed.

When Warner thrashed India's opening bowlers to all corners, hitting as many as 6 fours in the first 12 balls he faced, it was quite evident that he wanted to do something special for his little mate.

"I think the initial part before the game started my emotions took over and I found it quite hard when I came off there to regroup a little bit. Then I just played on my instincts and I think it showed the adrenaline was pumping. I slowly gained back that momentum and pulled it in a little bit because I knew I had to survive and get through to lunch," he explained.

It was almost as if Warner was unsure of what do to when he took the 100th run. It was only after a while that Warner jumped in the air and decided to celebrate the hundred, of course remembering Hughes.

"It was in the back of my mind whether I should celebrate or not, but I know what Hughesy's like and he'd always say to keep jumping and keep doing what I do. I dedicate the hundred to him, and Clarke said he'd be proud of us both out there, and try and get on and win the game. But it was a little moment out there, and hopefully Michael can come back out and get his next 40," he added.

Warner recognised that taking the field for the fourth and final Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), where Phil Hughes collapsed seconds after being hit by a bouncer, is going to be very tough.

"For me personally, I think the hardest thing is going to be the New Year's Day Test. I think walking out on the SCG, where it all unfolded and happened, is going to be the toughest task for me and probably the other guys who were there as well. But the next four days, we've got to keep working hard to take 20 wickets. It's going to be a hard task, but the bowlers know what we've got to do here," Warner said.

The left-hander, although confessing that he made a mistake by throwing his wicket away, stressed that Australia would have been in a great position if he was still batting.

"It was a bit disappointing at the end to lose a couple of wickets. I felt I should have gone on and I think the demons inside me got me out. I tried to take him (Karn Sharma) over the top and I hadn't done so all day. So I think the heat might have got to me or mentally I was fatigued a little bit. If I was out there still now, we'd be in a great position," he concluded.

An emotional David Warner hugs captain Michael Clarke after getting to his 10th Test hundred. It was also his 5th century this year.
An emotional David Warner hugs captain Michael Clarke after getting to his 10th Test hundred. It was also his 5th century this year. ©Reuters
An emotional David Warner walks off the field after being dismissed for 145.
An emotional David Warner walks off the field after being dismissed for 145. ©Reuters



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