'Dream come true': Australia's Warner retires from Test cricket

SYDNEY: Australian opener David Warner drew the curtain today on his 112-Test career with a swashbuckling 57 against Pakistan, leaving his home Sydney Cricket Ground to a standing ovation.

The polarising 37-year-old was dismissed lbw by spinner Sajid Khan in the third Test, slamming seven boundaries in a 75-ball stay.

Warner's typically pugnacious knock helped the hosts to an eight-wicket victory and series clean sweep.

"It's pretty much a dream come true to win 3-0 and cap off what has been a great 18 months to two years for the Australian team," said Warner, who made his debut in 2011.

"I'm just proud to be with a bunch of great cricketers. These guys -- they work their backsides off.

"To come here in front of my home crowd and the support they have shown me and the team over the last decade of my career, I can't thank them enough," he added to broadcaster Fox Sports, where he will now work as a commentator.

Asked how he would like to be remembered, he replied: "Exciting, entertaining and I hope I put a smile on everyone's face with the way that I played."

One of the finest openers cricket has known, Warner departed the red-ball game after plundering 8,786 runs at an average of 44.60, with a strike rate of 70.20.

He blasted 26 centuries and 37 half-centuries.

A larger-than-life character, Warner also collected 91 catches as one of the most consistent slip fielders in cricket.

Australian coach Andrew McDonald described Warner before the Test started as "probably our greatest-ever three-format player" and skipper Pat Cummins said he will be a huge loss.

"It's going to be hard to replace Davey, he has basically played every game for the last dozen years," said Cummins.

"He's a huge personality, he really sets the game up with the way he plays every time he walks out, so he is going to be huge to replace."

Warner last week also announced his retirement from one-day international cricket, but is expected to continue in the Twenty20 format.

Childhood friend and long-time opening partner Usman Khawaja said it had been an emotional day.

"It's been a long journey and it's bizarre. Everything comes to an end, but you never think it will," he said.

"I'm really proud, particularly the way Davey went out and batted today, entertaining right to the very end."

While a great with the bat, Warner's exploits will forever be overshadowed by the role he played in the notorious "Sandpapergate" ball-tampering scandal of 2018.

He was seen as the chief plotter when Cameron Bancroft used sandpaper to scuff the ball before a crude attempt to conceal the evidence down his trousers during the third Test in Cape Town.

Along with skipper Steve Smith, Warner was suspended for a year by Cricket Australia, stripped of the vice-captaincy and banned from ever leading the team.

Despite the controversies Warner was welcomed back into the Australia fold when his ban ended and made his comeback during the Ashes series against England in 2019.

He has been a fixture ever since with selectors now facing the difficult decision of who replaces him, with a two-Test home series against the West Indies starting on January 17 in Adelaide.

Recognised openers Bancroft, Marcus Harris and Matt Renshaw are seen as the contenders to fill the role.

However, Smith added a twist to the plot this week when he put his hand up to move up from number four and do the job.

That would open the door for the return of young all-rounder Cameron Green in the middle of the order, having been overlooked in recent Tests in favour of a resurgent Mitchell Marsh. --AFP

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