The Dominion Post
Let’s hand it to Warner
When David Warner was stationed out on the boundary rope in front of the notorious Hollies Stand at Edgbaston yesterday he knew what was coming.
‘‘He’s got sandpaper in his hands,’’ sang the crowd, dressed up variously as everything from cardinals to England footballers to Donald Trump.
Warner, who had spent most of his time in the slips or generally nearer the bat during Australia’s more than a dayand-a-half in the field, could only smile.
But after being booed ferociously by the masses at Edgbaston at regular intervals during the first test he won the applause of spectators by playing up to their antics, opening his palms to demonstrate he wasn’t holding any foreign objects and then turning out his pockets for their amusement as well.
It was the first time any of the three players making their returns to test cricket after the Cape Town balltampering scandal had so visibly made light of the taunting from beyond the rope in the first test.
Warner and Steve Smith have been the targets of another tune, with the crowd regularly singing ‘‘saw you cry on the telly . . . we saw you cry on the telly’’ in reference to their emotional post-Cape Town press conferences last year.
Warner’s light-hearted approach was similar to how he dealt with it the crowd laying into him during the 2013 Ashes. Back then he had returned midseries at Old Trafford from a two-match ban over the ‘‘glancing blow’’ incident with Joe Root at the Birmingham Walkabout and responded to the reception by waving to those berating him beyond the boundary.
Warner’s gesture yesterday went down well with the crowd but it didn’t take long for them to turn on him again as the former vice-captain completed a forgettable first test with the bat after tea.
The opener was given an almighty send-off when he departed for eight in Australia’s second innings, having made a total of only 10 runs in his comeback match.
He will be desperate to bounce back in the second test at Lord’s, where spectators tend to be more restrained than at Birmingham.
■ Smith has extended his dream test comeback by rescuing Australia yet again with the tourists 124-3 and holding a 34-run lead at stumps on day three.
Smith, having dragged Australia from 122-8 to 284 with a century on day one, was at it again yesterday as he revived their hopes of setting a competitive target while weathering a bouncer blow to the helmet.