By Glen Robertson
David Warner’s relief at ending his wait for another Test century did not match his delight at helping move Australia into a commanding position on day three in Brisbane.
The 27-year-old had failed to reach three figures in his last 23 Test innings - a run dating back a year and a day to when he hit 119 in the draw against South Africa at Adelaide - but took the attack to England with a brilliant 124 in the opening Ashes rubber at the Gabba.
But it was his 158-run partnership with fellow centurion Michael Clarke that helped turn the screw on the tourists and gave the New South Wales batsman the most satisfaction.
“It’s always good to get a personal milestone but I’m out there to do a job and today I did that and so did Michael,” he said.
“A lot of credit goes to our bowlers; the way they came out yesterday dictated the way me and the rest of the guys came out today and played.
“It allowed me to play my innings the way I wanted to play and then Michael came out and scored an almost run-a-ball hundred. It was fantastic to get a partnership out there with Michael to put us in a great position.”
Warner endured some nervy moments in the 90s. Having reached 99 with a thick outside edge that fell just wide of slip, he survived a tricky over from James Anderson, who beat the edge of the bat as he managed to get some life out of the pitch.
But Warner went on to bring up his fourth Test century - and first against England - in the following over and insisted he had not been cagey as he approached the milestone, but paid tribute to Anderson’s bowling.
“I wasn’t nervous at all; I just didn’t know how that ball started swinging a little bit,” he said. “I think there’s a little bit of a crack out there and I think Jimmy bowled well all day; he came up and dotted me around the wicket and I felt it was going to be hard to score.
“I tried to walk into his line a little bit to try and put him off but I was more worried about getting pinned on the crease and being 'lb', then the confidence got a bit higher when I got treble figures and then I put him over his head.”
When the players left the field at the end of the day, with England trailing by 536 on 24 for two, Warner was congratulated by Alastair Cook.
“He’s the captain, he leads from the front and he acknowledges good sport and people who do well,” said Warner. “Credit to him he’s a gentleman and he’s all class.”
But the Australia opener knows that the game is not won yet, especially with someone like Cook at the crease. The England skipper scored an unbeaten 235 in his last second-innings knock at the Gabba and Warner is determined to prevent history repeating itself.
He said: “The boys are on a high at the moment but we’ve got to get the job done tomorrow and take eight wickets.”