Australia stand-in captain David Warner has said his century in the fifth ODI against Sri Lanka came as a "sigh of relief" as it was his first score over 20 in the five-match series. Warner scored 106 from 126 balls, his seventh ODI hundred, and became the first Australia batsman to score an ODI ton in Sri Lanka.
"When I was out there it was obviously about trying to get the runs and stay there till the end and that's the way that I had to try and play tonight," Warner said after the match. "It's obviously great to get a hundred but for me it was a bit of sigh of relief. I never doubted myself and kept backing and executing my plans. You do need a bit of luck in this game and I'm pretty sure I hit that one to short leg (leg slip) but that's part and parcel of the game, you get a bit of luck your way and fortunate tonight I got that luck."
When Warner was on 22, he attempted a sweep off left-arm spinner Sachith Pathirana in the 14th over and seemed to top-edge the ball to leg slip. Sri Lanka appealed but chose not to review Aleem Dar's decision who had adjudged it not out. Warner later admitted that he had edged it.
"It was a semi, half appeal," Warner said. "The bowler came up to me and said 'Lucky, you hit that one' and I said 'Yeah, I think I did'. "I wasn't 100% [sure]. The keeper thought I didn't hit it. I think there was a faint edge. That's the luck. The responsibility is on the players as well, they've got to make that decision to either use a referral or not. They still had it up their sleeve."
It was not a typical Warner century because Australia lost two early wickets for 25 runs while chasing 196, and Sri Lanka employed their spinners to strangle the visiting batsmen. Warner, accompanied by George Bailey, had to "grind" on a slow pitch using a lot of sweeps and reverse sweeps.
"It was almost going back to the Test matches and trying to grind but still try to rotate the strike," Warner said. "Me and Bails out there we were actually saying to each other that we feel like we're trying to play that big shot and we were telling each other to try and rotate the strike because you always want that sense of relief somewhere, because they weren't giving us any bad balls to put away. So we just had to try and grind away and use the bit of pace they were giving on the ball, and try to sweep and reverse sweep as much as we can. That was the game plan we had to try and manufacture [shots]. It is quite handy sometimes when you don't have that rhythm or hitting the ball out of the middle and to actually be able to play that kind of role it does help."
When asked to identify reasons why Australia were whitewashed in the Tests but came back so strongly in the ODIs, Warner pointed out that the batsmen did not "adapt fast enough" in the Test series. He also said that a different approach was needed when batting in Asian conditions and Australia adjusted much better in the ODIs with their shot selection.
"From my own personal experience, it comes down to runs on the board and the pressure. We all talk about taking the game on and in these conditions you still have to look to score. When we're at home, we always have that intent to score," Warner said of the key differences between the Tests and ODIs. "That's when our boys are playing our best. If you face six balls in these conditions, then one is going to have your name in it.
"In these conditions you're going to have to sweep, you need to use your feet, you're going to have to watch the ball hard onto the bat where you can't leave the ball because one is going to skid on. They're the variables in this game and I think that's where we lacked a little bit [in the Tests]. We didn't adapt fast enough. In the one-day game you get some release because you can't have those catchers around the bat. You can, but [against the] white ball you can play these kinds of shots, there's no reason why you can't play in the Test matches. That's how you're going to have to score in these conditions."