Sydney: It wasn't quite a fairytale finish for David Warner, but it was very close.
Warner scored 57 runs to help lead Australia to an eight-wicket victory over Pakistan on Saturday in his final Test match, ending a 112-Test career as a winner on his home ground.
With Australia needing only 11 runs to claim its third consecutive victory in the three-Test series, and with a chance to score the winning runs, Warner was out lbw off the bowling of Sajid Khan. He walked off the Sydney Cricket Ground to a standing ovation as he waved to the crowd.
As he headed to the lockerroom, he was embraced by his former Test captain Steve Smith. Warner handed his Australia batting helmet and gloves to a young fan at the players’ gate and walked off into Test retirement.
Delivered in farewell series
Warner had nominated the SCG Test as his last before retirement as soon as Australia's summer schedule was finalised, before he was guaranteed a spot in the starting XI.
It generated plenty of conjecture about his form ahead of the series but selectors stuck with the veteran and he delivered against Pakistan, opening the series with a big century and tallied 299 runs in his six innings.
Warner played his first Test in 2011, against New Zealand, shrugging off speculation he was only suited to the limited-overs versions of the game. He also overcame the infamous “sandpapergate” scandal in South Africa in 2018 that resulted in him being barred from representing Australia for a year, returning to the national team in August, 2019.
Warner maintained his attacking style throughout his career in all formats of the game, and finished with 8,796 Test runs at an average of 44.59.
The only other wicket to fall in Australia's second innings Saturday was when opener Usman Khawaja was also adjudged lbw off Khan’s bowling for a six-ball duck.
Pakistan scored 313 and 115 and Australia responded with 299 and 130-2. Marnus Labuschagne scored 62 and was at the crease with Smith (4) when the match ended.
Warner pulled out all the tricks to celebrate his retirement party, with an array of reverse-sweeps, cover drives and even an attempted reverse-scoop.
“We’re in the entertainment business and I’m just happy to come out here and showcase what I try to do all the time,” Warner told Fox television. “I tried to play my shots and go out the way I like to play.”
His half-century came off 75 balls and included seven boundaries, setting the tone from the third ball he faced by walking down the wicket at the bowler. He twice reverse-swept to the boundary in an entertaining but calculated approach to negating the rough outside off stump.
Warner was granted some luck on 16 when he almost chopped on to his stumps. Aamir Jamal dropped a difficult chance at mid off when Warner was on 25, and the veteran opener survived a loud and very close lbw appeal on 53.
Everything went to plan for Australia on Saturday. The bowlers quickly took Pakistan's three remaining wickets to start Day 4 and set a 130-run victory target.
After Josh Hazlewood (4-16) ran through Pakistan on Day 3, the visitors offered little further resistance. Mohammad Rizwan (28) and Jamal (18) put on 42 for the eighth wicket, but Pakistan folded quickly once Nathan Lyon had Rizwan caught at leg slip.
Lyon also bowled Hasan Ali to end the innings, finishing with figures of 3-36.
Warner had earlier led the team onto the field to start the day, while “Thanks Dave” with his trademark leap also painted on the ground in front of the Members Stand.
Australia won the first Test in Perth by 360 runs and the second by 79 runs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.