There was just enough steel in David Warner’s voice when asked what he thought of a Sri Lankan journalist’s un-Australian sledge after the Galle second Test capitulation.
“I heard about that,” Warner said with a stern tone on Thursday in Colombo.
Writing in The Island newspaper the day after Australia’s heavy 229-run defeat inside two-and-a-half days, respected cricket writer Rex Clementine labelled Steve Smith’s men the worst to tour Sri Lanka, un-Australian and they “chickened out” when the series was on the line.
Australia’s opening batsman, who has found the going as tough as his teammates in the first two Tests and has in the past been a confrontational figure on and off the field, didn’t want to fan the flames but there was certainly an edge to his response.
“People have their own opinions and can say what they want,” said Warner.
“We know when we walk out of that change room, we’re giving 100 per cent every time we put that baggy green on … we’re walking out here with a lot of pride; we represent our country in every aspect, whether it’s on or off the field.”
Warner, who has made scores of 0, 1, 42 and 41, will be keen to turn it around when the third Test starts on Saturday at Sinhalese Sports Club.
As disappointing and unexpected as the series loss has been for the No.1-ranked Australian team, there’s plenty to play for given a four-Test tour of India looms early next year.
Runs and wickets on another dry, spinning pitch in Colombo will go a long way towards getting the nod for India, which ominously has been the most-gruelling tour in recent years for Australia.
“There is always a lot on the line when you are playing Test cricket,” said Warner.
“Everyone is in the right spirits … we have got something to prove … we’ve had quite a successive amount (eight) of losses in the subcontinent so we do have a lot to prove.”
Warner also dead-batted News Corp Australia claims that the Galle pitch had been doctored to favour Sri Lanka’s spinners on the third and final day of the second Test when Australia relinquished the Warne-Muralitharan Trophy.
There is naturally going to be general wear on a Test pitch, mostly by bowlers’ foot marks, but the accusation was that the Galle curator scraped grass off an area two metres in front of the crease to aid the home side’s spinners.
“I think the Galle wicket was a competitive wicket,” said Warner.
“Galle naturally does turn a lot. I think the way that the pitch played was okay.
“In that two-metre (area) from the crease, it is going to get scuffed up on the first few days of a Test match.”