David Warner was playing his second Test, Doug Bracewell, his third.

Ross Taylor had already billed Bracewell as a cricketer of enormous potential in only his first year of international cricket.

Warner, on the other hand, barged into the international scene when he made his T20I debut against South Africa without any first class experience. 43 balls and 89 runs later he had captured everyone’s imagination. In a way, Warner sold himself short due to his aggressive technique and had to wait almost two years since his international debut for a chance to feature in Tests. He finally made his debut against New Zealand in 2011 at the Gabba. The critics, wary of Warner’s technical pitfalls, didn’t have to wait too long- in his third ball in Test cricket, Warner was bounced out by Tim Southee. Bracewell also had a poor outing in that match with figures of 1-112.

In the second Test at Hobart, after opting to field first, Australia bundled out New Zealand for only 150. In reply, they could manage only 136 as Warner fell for 15.
Bracewell on the other hand ended with 3-20 off 10 overs. New Zealand, in the second innings, scored 226 runs. Chasing 241, Australia seemed to be cruising with Warner well set at 159 for 2.
It took nine balls to change the script as Bracewell scalped Ponting, Clarke and Haddin. From 159 for 2, Australia were 159 for 5.
Warner and Haddin took Australia to 192 for 5 but within a space of 10 balls, Australia lost four more wickets with Southee and Bracewell picking two each. For the last wicket, Nathan Lyon & Warner needed 42 runs to earn a series victory.
Warner battled valiantly but it was Bracewell who went through Lyon’s defences to register a historic victory with Australia six runs away from victory. Warner remained unbeaten on 123 as Bracewell picked up 6 for 40 in the second innings.

The win was New Zealand’s first over Australia in Tests in 18 years. Bracewell earned a series-defining performance in only his third Test but it was David Warner who was the highest impact player of the match.

It had been 8.02 against 5.52 in the battle of the newbies.

Doug Bracewell took 9 wickets for 60 runs in the match but was only the fourth-highest impact player after Warner, Siddle and Pattinson. Both Pattinson (5 for 51, 3 for 54 & 17, 4) and Siddle (3 for 42, 3 for 66 & 36, 2) scored valuable runs under pressure in the first innings and backed it up with their bowling performances. Their all-round contributions made them higher impact players than Bracewell. Warner on the other hand scored almost 53% of his team’s runs in the fourth innings and absorbed immense pressure to take Australia close.

For a batsman who was stereotyped as a T20 batsman, Warner batted for more than five hours and carried his bat through the innings. All doubts over Warner’s mental resilience were quashed. Bracewell himself was touted for great things after this performance.

However, their careers panned out differently. Since the Hobart Test, Bracewell has played only 16 more Tests (till August 2015) and is New Zealand’s second-lowest impact specialist bowler (after Ish Sodhi) in this time-frame (min. 10 Tests). Clearly, not a part of New Zealand’s future plans anymore, Bracewell played his last Test against Sri Lanka in January 2015. Warner on the other hand grew from strength to strength and since the Hobart Test is Australia’s highest impact batsman in Tests (min. 20 Tests). He is also the third-highest impact opener in the world after Murali Vijay and Alastair Cook in this time-frame. Staying true to his game, he also has the highest Strike Rate Impact in the world.

It is interesting to think whether things would have been different if the events of that day at Hobart had panned out differently. Normally, it is the player from the winning team who steals the limelight. David Warner, though, had different ideas.

 

 

Soham Sarkhel
Art- Gokul Chakravarthy

 NOTE: Impact Index has undergone an upgradation in November 2015, and though 95% of its findings remain the same, there have been some minor shifts. This piece was updated post that, and is up-to-date as of August 2016.