It was the clear standout moment of a Boxing Day battle of attrition, and nobody was more relieved to see Tom Curran’s foot clear the crease than David Warner.
The Aussie opener looked to have been dismissed for 99 when his mistimed pull shot fell into the hands of a fielder, but on the umpire’s direction, a second look at Curran’s front foot revealed a no ball had been bowled.
It took Warner only one more ball to take the single successfully and bring up his second straight Boxing Day ton.
His jubilation was clear, but nobody was more aware of how fortunate Warner had been than the man himself.
“Me and Ussie were talking about it, pulling and cutting on that wicket at that stage. Your instinct takes over there and I sort of wasn’t committed to the shot,” Warner said.
“I hit it in the air, but luckily enough he overstepped the line.
“You just get frustrated because it was a poor decision. It was one of those ones that was a half-hearted shot, and you don’t deserve to stay in if you play a shot like that.”
It was a moment that perfectly illustrated the fine margins of Test cricket, as Curran’s first Test wicket quickly became another disaster for England on this tour, while a potential black mark on Warner’s record is now just a special Boxing Day memory.
“It was amazing. It was a bit of a relief. Looking back at Perth, on a wicket that was as flat as it was, I felt like I missed out,” he said.
“As a batter, you always get edgy and when you miss out you want to cash in as soon as possible.
“Growing up, you always want a Boxing Day ton. It eluded me for a while until last year, and then I knew once I got in I really had to try to knuckle down and dig in.”
More than any Australian batsman on day one, it looked easy for Warner on a flat MCG pitch.
His attack in the first session forced England into a dramatic rear guard action, which slowed the scoring but did little to swing things in England’s favour.
“The way that they bowled was obviously a bit negative outside off stump, trying to get me driving,” he said.
“They were obviously too wide and I couldn’t play at anything. I had to be patient, and I knew my time would come.