David Warner battled through a bowler-dominated day in Southampton and then targeted a maiden Ashes hundred on English soil on his return to Test cricket.
Warner has been the only batsman past 50 in a version of Australia’s Got Talent on the south coast – a practice match between 22 players vying for places in the squad to face England over the next seven weeks.
It extended his excellent touch here this summer, following a World Cup in which he finished a run behind India’s Rohit Sharma at the top of the scorers’ charts.
‘I am a bit hungrier and determined to play the long innings. You saw that against the white ball that I hung in a lot while the old me would have thrown the bat at it quite often,’ said Warner.
‘I was making sure the movement of my feet and my decision making was on point.
‘You probably couldn’t have asked for any more exciting conditions.
‘It was quite challenging – you are not expecting a wicket to go up, down, sideways and swing so it was a great hit out.’
The 32-year-old – who is yet to register a three-figure score in Test matches here and averages 37.06, a mark considerably below his career return of 48.2 – has been trying different preparation techniques since returning from his 12-month Cricket Australia-imposed ban, including listening to music while batting in the nets.
The capricious Ageas Bowl pitch allowed no chance for relaxation, however, for a man who became a father for the third time last month.
James Pattinson, hoping to play only his third Ashes Test and first since 2013 at Edgbaston next week, was a perfect concoction of accuracy and hostility in taking three for 19 on day two while Mitchell Marsh took a five-wicket haul after top scoring for the Brad Haddin XII to enhance his chances of a recall just months after losing the Australia vice-captaincy and his central contract.
The Australian selectors on tour Trevor Hohns and Justin Langer will sit down on Friday morning to finalise a squad of as many as 17 players. It will be announced later that day.