Tim Paine called the batsmen in with David Warner 65 runs shy of the all time record and tracking towards it.
Tim Paine called the batsmen in with David Warner 65 runs shy of the all time record and tracking towards it.

Was Paine right to call time early on Warner?

Putting the team first. Cricket teams talk about it all the time ... but sometimes it takes a brave captain to do it.

There are many different pressures that descend upon a Test captain and one of the most unusual was the dilemma Tim Paine faced over when to declare at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday.

Australia had the contest at their mercy yet you could feel the tension rising as David Warner moved to 335 not out.

 

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The distinct whiff of a momentous historical moment was thick in the air.

You could feel it in the press box with the chatter suddenly dying.

You could feel it when the crowd gave Warner a rousing ovation when he advanced from 334 - the score shared by Don Bradman and Mark Taylor - into second spot on Australia's highest scorer's list behind Matthew Hayden's 380.

Brian Lara's world record 400 was, potentially, just 90 minutes away.

But with Warner on 335 not out and cruising in whatever gear he decided to choose, the innings was called off.

Paine had the courage to make the big call.

In a way it left everyone a winner of sorts but no-one got it all.

Warner passed Bradman and Taylor but not Hayden or Lara. He got some sort of cake but not the cherry on top.

With rain forecast for Sunday, the team got the time they wanted to attack although you could make a case to say time won't be an issue given how far on top they are.

 

 

Warner’s 335 not out puts him second on the all time list of Australian Test innings.
Warner’s 335 not out puts him second on the all time list of Australian Test innings.

 

When Taylor declared on 334 in Pakistan it became a generous nod to Bradman but it was also made a little easier because it was his score overnight and to proceed for a couple of overs the next morning would have looked indulgent.

The decision to let Warner sneak pass Bradman and Taylor should not be criticised because it was not Warner's call. He should not have to apologise for passing some legends any more than Paine should have to for calling things off before he passed Hayden and Lara.

 

 

Some judges said Australia should have batted for another 40 minutes but that may have taken Warner to around 360 and there was no way Paine could have called off the chase then any more that you could ask an astronaut landing on the moon to resist from driving his flag into the surface.

The question also begs that, given the turbulence of the last few seasons, wouldn't Australia have been better served letting Warner bag a world record that would have gained global attention far beyond the result of this match?

The world record for runs scored in an innings is a massive mark in the game.

For all of Lara's match-winning deeds his big innings of 375 and 400 in Tests and 501 for Warwickshire is what he is most known for.

But in declaring Paine has sent a message that the team comes first.

The fact that so much was at stake has enhanced the powerful nature of the deed.

News Corp Australia

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