Run-machine Warner stands tall

CRICKET

For the second Test series in a row, David Warner will top the run-scoring charts.

The steadying influence of partner Candice Falzon was credited as the spark that helped Warner turn his life - and cricket career around - after punching England batsman Joe Root in a Birmingham bar last year.

Falzon helped Warner fire in the 2013-14 Ashes and compile 523 runs across the five Tests, and has been alongside him for the three-Test series in South Africa where he's scored 543.

But it was a more personal source of motivation Warner drew on as he took his career-best form to a new level and belted two belligerent centuries in the series decider at Newlands.

In the space of 15 seconds in a radio interview, Warner had put his foot in his mouth while discussing the opposition's reverse-swing in the second Test.

Warner was fined by the ICC, punished by his own team, sternly criticised by the opposition and pilloried by many pundits.

The 27-year-old made amends the only way he knows - 30 boundaries and 280 runs spread across two typically free-flowing innings.

"When there is a little bit of pressure on, I do find another gear. It does help me sometimes," Warner said.

"The other thing is that when I get out there and they start giving me a little bit of banter, I love that.

"If they are not going to talk to me when I am out there, I will try to niggle them.

"I love it when they come at me, it is a challenge."

Vernon Philander huffed and puffed and a hamstrung Dale Steyn tried his best, but the top two bowlers on the ICC's Test rankings both failed to halt Warner's momentum in either knock.

Warner believed he has earned their respect.

"I do feel respected, and the other thing is they know if they miss their mark that I'm going to start going after them," Warner said. 

AAP

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