Australia’s opening batsman David Warner is unsure how he will cope with an emotional first return to the venue in Sydney where Phillip Hughes was fatally struck by a bouncer.
Warner and his Australian team-mates Brad Haddin, Nathan Lyon and Shane Watson were fielding at the Sydney Cricket Ground in November in a domestic game when fellow opening batsman Hughes sustained a blow to his neck that led to him passing away three days before his 26th birthday.
Warner and his team have coped admirably with the tragedy to take an unassailable 2-0 lead over India in the Test series that was rearranged after the death, but the loss of Hughes continues to haunt the side.
The combative Warner, who scored an emotional 145 and 102 at the Adelaide Oval in the first Test following Hughes’ death, said memories of the incident flooded back when he walked out at the SCG yesterday, ahead of the final Test which begins late tonight UK time.
“The first Test in Adelaide, not much was going through my head actually,” Warner said yesterday. “The first couple of training sessions I was nowhere and I didn’t really feel like I was moving my feet, just because in the forefront of my mind [I was] playing that incident over and over again. When you look back on social media, I could see those images of the guys holding [Phil] when we were down in that crouch position. It was that image that kept on replaying in my head.
“I managed to get over it after the first couple of overs. I was playing on adrenalin. I know sometimes that’s the way I play but I didn’t anticipate to play like that. It was just all instinct and I think that actually calmed me down, in a way.
“This Test I honestly can’t tell you [how I will be] until I go out there and sing that national anthem and walk out there,” Warner said. “At the moment, not just for me but for the guys that were here as well, they are putting on a brave face. It is going to be emotional, I know for myself it will be – just walking out there today brought back memories.
“I know when I go to face up at that Randwick End I’m going to be looking down at that spot. It’s going to be tough but I’ve got to try and hold back the emotions and do what I do for the team.”
The hosts are without their pace-bowling spearhead Mitchell Johnson because of a hamstring problem but will be boosted by the news that Warner has recovered sufficiently from his thumb and arm injuries.Reuse content