Australia batsman David Warner put his recent controversies behind him to smash 193 for Australia A against South Africa A in Pretoria on Wednesday. Batting at no.4, Warner's innings came in just 226 balls and included 29 fours and 1 six in a typically belligerent knock. 

Warner fell to the final ball of the day when he looked well set to reach his second first-class double century as Australia A reached 399-5 at the close.

Glenn Maxwell, dropped from the Test squad after the disastrous tour of India earlier this year, also made a century, his first in first-class cricket, and closed the day on 103 not-out.

It represented a timely return to form for Warner, who provided a stark reminder of his abundant ability to the Australian selectors after a year in which he has shown poor form on the field and has been plagued by personal problems off it. 

His annus horribilis in 2013 has seen him suffer poor form in all forms of the game and launch twitter attacks at respected journalists, before reaching its nadir as he threw a punch at England's wonderkid, Joe Root, after the two sides met in the Champions Trophy in June. This final incident saw him suspended until the First Ashes test.

Warner will hope that this innings, one with the sort of patience and class that we all know him to be capable of - but haven't seen for some time - will thrust him back into the selectors' thoughts as they look to fix a batting line-up that performed badly in the Second Ashes Test at Lords. 

Warner now looks likely to play at Old Trafford next Thursday, probably at the expense of Phil Hughes, who has followed up a first innings 81* at Trent Bridge with scores of 0, 1 and 1. 

Chris Rogers will also not be entirely comfortable after two embarrassing dismissals to Graeme Swann at Lords.

Warner's poor form had continued on the first tour match in Zimbabwe, where he recorded scores of 6 and 11 against a Zimbabwe Select XI, but he returned in style with trademark booming drives and authority off the back foot in Pretoria.

With Australia still century-less in the series, Warner's knock will surely not go unnoticed. Despite his misdemeanours off the field, he remains Australia's most destructive batsman and has the ability to change a game in a session. The selectors may not be able to ignore this skill as the team looks to recover from a 2-0 deficit.

It is the first time England have led an Ashes series 2-0 since 1986-87.

Warner will also take heart from the complimentary and encouraging words of new coach Darren Lehmann before the Ashes began.

The Sun reported Lehmann as saying: "David's done everything right in the nets. He's impressed me. He's a very talented guy", before saying "The slate's pretty clean with him."

Warner's Australia team mates head to Hove on Friday for their final warm up before the Old Trafford Test with many players looking to impress, not least Mitchell Starc and Jackson Bird, who are vying for injured quickie James Pattinson's place in the side. 

The batsmen will also be watching their backs now that Warner has announced his return in such flamboyant style.

 

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Topics:
Australia cricket
David Warner
Graeme Swann
Joe Root
Cricket
The Ashes