Hobart: Opener David Warner is a rare talent and the X-factor he brings to the Australian team more than makes up for the odd ugly dismissal, captain Michael Clarke said on Thursday.
Warner's last Test innings ended with a wild slash at the ball in the defeat to South Africa in Perth which sent him back to the dressing room with 29 runs to his name and Australia another wicket down as they chased a huge victory target.
The 26-year-old, a brilliant limited overs player who graduated to the Test team last year, will play his 13th Test against Sri Lanka in Hobart this week. "The one thing we have to understand about Davey, is that the same ball that got him out in Perth, we were all applauding in Adelaide when it went over slips for four," said Clarke. "That's the way he plays."
Warner had scored a superb 119 against South Africa in the second Test in Adelaide, an echo of his magnificent 180 against India in Perth last year which he kicked off with a 69-ball century. "The only thing I continue to say to Davey is to make sure his intent is there," Clarke added. "When the intent is there, his defence is better, his shot selection is better. He plays his best when he's looking to score runs, there's no doubt about that. Like all of us, we would like to be more consistent and score runs every time we walk out to bat.
"Sometimes it's not going to look great when he gets out, but on the other hand he has the X-factor. He can take the game away from the opposition in the first session of a test match. There's not many players in the world that have that talent. I'm really happy with the way he's going."
Warner scored his maiden Test century (123) at the Bellerive Oval last year and although it was in a shock defeat to New Zealand, Clarke said it was a great illustration of his skill. "I think one of Davey's greatest innings was the hundred he scored here against New Zealand in really tough batting conditions," said Clarke. "He still had that intent, even though the wicket was doing a lot. His shot selection was perfect. In a perfect world, you'd love to bottle that, but you have to have a bit of give and take with Davey."