The 30-year-old scored 106 to steer Australia to a five-wicket victory and a comprehensive 4-1 series win against Sri Lanka. It was Warner’s seventh ODI hundred and the first by an Australian in an away one-day series against Sri Lanka.
After failing to reach 20 in his previous four innings, Warner uncharacteristically adopted a more sedate approach in a determined effort to find form and he eventually enjoyed a third-wicket 132-run partnership with George Bailey, who was named man-of-the-series, to put the result beyond doubt.
“It was almost like going back to the Test matches, trying to really grind,” Warner said after the match on Sunday (August 4). “We (Warner and Bailey) were saying to each other that we feel like we are going to play that big shot and we kept on telling each other to try and think about rotating the strike… we just had to try and grind away.
“For me it was a bit of a sigh of relief,” Warner added. “It is quite handy sometimes when you don’t have that rhythm, and aren’t hitting the ball out of the middle, to actually play that kind of role, that kind of innings.”
The left-handed opener had a slice of luck when he appeared to edge a ball to leg slip at 2-44 but the Sri Lankans did not review the decision and Warner, who was on 22, survived. “You do need a bit of luck in this game and I’m pretty sure I did hit that one tonight,” Warner admitted.
Australia had more luck when Kusal Perera was given out lbw during Sri Lanka’s innings and called for a video referral. Replays appeared to show an edge onto the pad, but television umpire Michael Gough did not overturn the original decision.
Unlike in Australia, there was no Hot Spot and Snicko technology for the umpires during this series, which Warner believed made a “massive difference”. “When you don’t have Hot Spot and you don’t have Snicko, they’re two crucial ones, especially with those decisions and the caught behinds,” he said. “As a player, you would love every bit of the technology that they’ve got there to be used in every single game, to be consistent enough.”
With the series already won and the fifth ODI effectively a dead rubber, Warner said his bowlers struggled for intensity early but paid tribute to their efforts in clawing back into the contest. “I felt like we were playing grade cricket to be honest, the bowlers,” he said. “They didn’t switch on in the first 10. They probably lacked a little bit of energy and intent. But they still restricted them to 195 which is a fantastic effort.”