Taunton, Jun 13 (IANS): In the first three games of the ongoing World Cup, David Warner scored runs but still one could make out that he was not at his absolute best.
Back into the national side after serving a one-year ban for his involvement in Newlands ball-tampering controversy, Warner looked edgy and circumspect. He was not able to play freely and was seen struggling to play his natural game-which is to blast from the word go.
However, in Wednesday's game against Pakistan, Warner made sure he doesn't get tied up at one end while skipper Aaron Finch was firing at the other. Warner kept on collecting runs at a brisk pace and went on to score his first hundred of the ongoing World Cup.
He scored a match-winning knock of 107 off 109 balls which included 11 fours and a six. What was more heartening to see was his usual celebrations which he does after getting to the three-figure mark. His inning eventually turned out to be the difference between the two sides as Australia defeated Pakistan by 41 runs.
"To come out here play the way I know I can play was awesome. I was elated," Warner said at the post-match press conference.
"That's one thing probably I missed, against India I hit a lot of fielders. You, as a player, you feel like you got in a rhythm. And that's what happened. But today was one of those wickets, if you're still looking to score and your defence is tight, you'll create those opportunities for yourself."
Against Afghanistan, he consumed 114 balls to score unbeaten 89. The speed of his innings, however, didn't matter much in that match as Australia won the game quite comfortably.
In the next game against the West Indies, Warner didn't manage to stay long at the crease and got out for mere 3.
Against India, the swashbuckling left-handed opener struggled for most of the time and managed to score 56 of 84 balls (strike rate of 66.67). More uncharacteristic was the amount of dot balls he played. Warner played out 50 dots in Australia's unsuccessful chase of 353, including 14 in a row at one point.
"Personally, it's a great thing. (The hundred) obviously was a long time coming. Against Afghanistan I felt like I had no rhythm. The next game (West Indies), obviously, got one that sort of kicked off a wicket, but I was a bit lazy. And still last game they bowled really straight to me," said Warner.
Warner is currently second in the World Cup run-getter's list with 255 runs at an average of 85.
Having served his ban, the 32-year-old said he had work extra hard to ensure he hit the ground running for the Aussie team.
"I really knuckled down and trained my backside off. I am just grateful for this opportunity and as I said before, I am just looking forward to what's coming ahead of us here in the World Cup…I am pumped to be back. The boys are on fire here. We've got a great sort of group harmony, a lot of smiles on the faces as you can see in a lot of the training sessions and out in the field. So, look I am pumped," he said.
The left-handed opener had a rather difficult time after he was found guilty in the sandpaper gate scandal that rocked Australian cricket. However, he made a remarkable comeback as he scored 692 runs in 12 matches he played in the IPL and announced his return.
He credited his wife and kids for keeping him strong during the hard times he faced during his ban.
"The thing that kept me going was my wife and my kids. I got great support at home from my family. And my wife is just, she's just my rock. She's unbelievable. She's determined, disciplined and selfless. And I hold a lot of credit to her," he said.