‘Heart in mouth’: David Warner millimetres from disaster in farewell Test at SCG

David Warner has built a career off gnawing his way out of sticky situations.

Of all the tight spots, tense spells and nail-biting run chases that have dotted his career, perhaps none have been as uncomfortable as facing a single over at the death of day one at the SCG.

The veteran opening batsman had spent the better part of two hours in the field preparing to bat as Pakistani wickets became scarcer and runs flowed.

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The final wicket eventually fell with 10 minutes to go, sending Warner dashing back to the sheds to pad up for the second last time.

Pakistan warmed everyone’s hearts by giving Warner a guard of honour as he strode to the crease, but the crowd knew they could be about to witness a nightmare as the 37-year-old took guard to see out the day.

Pakistan threw the textbook out the window and threw the ball to spinner Sajid Khan for the sole over in an attempt to throw Warner off.

But Warner bludgeoned the first ball through the off side for four and sent a massive cheer through the stands. However, on the second last ball of the over, Khan had everyone gasping for air.

The ball bounced off Warner’s bat and was millimetres from grazing the bails and ending his innings at the stroke of six o’clock.

With a bit of rain around Sydney this week, this innings may be the last time Warner will have time up his sleeve to send off the SCG with a big score.

Ricky Ponting applauded Pakistani skipper Shan Masood for the inventive ploy, even though it didn’t land them a wicket.

“You know what, I actually like this from Pakistan. It is unexpected. What you know with the spinner bowling is he

will make the batsman play all six deliveries,” Ponting said on Channel 7.

“Fielders around the bat, will the new ball turn? Will it skid on? Will there be extra bounce? All of that stuff that David Warner has got running through the back of his head right now. For Warner right now, this is all about emotion.

“This is all about controlling your emotions here. It could be the last time he ever walks on to a cricket ground in a Test match.

“Heart in mouth stuff there, that last over. Just millimetres away from that ball being chopped back on to the top of the stumps. Great day’s cricket here at the SCG. Australia trail by 307.”

Mitchell Marsh said the theatrics were part and parcel of the David Warner package.

“History would suggest he’s always been able to find stuff when he needs to,” Marsh said.

“I saw the replay (of second last ball), and it was mighty close. As we always say in this game, you need a little bit of luck.

“It’s been an incredible build-up for him this week and one of our key themes for the week is to hopefully send him out with a win, but most importantly for him to enjoy his last five days as a Test cricketer.”

It was a wild day at the SCG with Mitchell Starc striking on the second ball of the morning to dismiss Abdullah Shafique for a duck.

Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood got into their work early as well and had Pakistan at 4-47 and in a world of strife. But Mohammad Rizwan (88), Salman Ali Agha (53) and Aamir Jamal (82) piled on the runs to keep their side in the fight.

Jamal was a particular highlight. Making his debut as a bowler in Perth, the 27-year-old has flourished into a viable all-rounder this series with a number of handy knocks.

But his outing at the SCG was the most spectacular. Pat Cummins, who has impressed with his field placements and captaincy this summer, was searching for answers when Jamal opened up his arms and blasted Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon for sixes around the ground.

Australia tried everything late in the day but Jamal and Mir Hamza played intelligent cricket to keep the latter off strike and Jamal in the runs.

Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head made cameos with the ball, but it was Nathan Lyon who eventually sent Jamal on his way after he launched one straight to Mitchell Starc in the deep.

Lyon struggled with the lack of bounce at the SCG and finished with 1-71 from his 17 overs.

Pat Cummins was the star of the day with the ball, snagging his 12th five wicket haul and finishing with 5-61 from his 18 overs. His best work was in dismissing Babar Azam, who looked much more comfortable with the SCG bounce than Melbourne or Perth and raced to 26 with some beautiful cover drives.

But Cummins trapped the Pakistani danger man LBW with a ripping in-swinger that caught him off guard.

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