Breaking down David Warner and Nathan Lyon’s run-out of AB de Villiers – one of the most disrespectful dismissals in history

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Many things happened during Australia’s win in the first Test of their ill-fated 2018 tour of South Africa. Some of them were cricket, some of them were David Warner falling out with people. The thing that interests us the most – AB de Villiers’ second innings run-out – fell somewhere in between.

Let’s break the moment down, because it was really quite something. We’re struggling to think of a more disrespectful dismissal.

The context

The South Africans were near enough 200 runs behind on first innings and had then found themselves chasing 417 to win.

They quickly fell to 39-3 and so had basically lost. You wouldn’t think there was much left to get het-up about at this point, but then you’re not David Warner.

David Warner is, you suspect, the kind of man who snaps the remote in half in fury when the batteries start to get a bit low.

The run-out

Nathan Lyon dobbed one down the leg-side and South Africa opener Aiden Markram nurdled the ball towards David Warner.

As Warner scuttled round to get it, AB de Villiers set off down the pitch before doing a big U-turn when he looked up and saw only Markram’s back.

Sadly for de Villiers, he’d gone sufficiently far that the run-out was never in doubt. Warner was grinning even as he threw the ball.

At the bowler’s end, Lyon enveloped the ball with his Mekon hands and duly broke the stumps.

Nathan Lyon’s bit

What we didn’t mention was that AB de Villiers was on nought, having only faced one ball. Now here he was lying on his face, run-out in a match his team were about to lose.

Being run-out is always rubbish because to some extent it’s always self-inflicted. It’s worse still when you end up literally lying on your face in the dirt at the moment it happens.

Here’s AB de Villiers literally lying on his face in the dirt having been run out for a duck in a match his team is about to lose.

What happened next was that Nathan Lyon saw AB de Villiers literally lying on his face in the dirt having been run out for a duck in a match his team is about to lose and thought to himself: “This isn’t quite humiliating enough. I think I need to ramp this up a bit. I need to really emphasise the fact that AB de Villiers is literally lying on his face in the dirt having been run out for a duck in a match his team is about to lose.”

So Lyon ran past, looking down at him, and to emphasise that de Villiers was both literally and metaphorically fallen, he dropped the ball near him.

You’ll note that we italicised ‘nearly’ in that last sentence. As you can see, Lyon is looking directly at de Villiers even having passed him and is dropping/flinging the ball as he does so. You could maybe, if you so chose, argue that he dropped the ball at de Villiers.

David Warner’s bit

Lyon could not have executed his run-out and ball-drop without the assistance of David Warner. Warner too was hugely keen to emphasise the fact that his team was winning the Test match.

Presumably feeling that the surviving batsman had escaped lightly, he chose to convey his team’s supremacy to Aiden Markram.

Australia wicketkeeper Tim Paine said at stumps that there “wasn’t too much aggression” during Warner’s send-off (which technically wasn’t actually a send-off because Markram wasn’t going anywhere).

Here is Warner’s Hatred Face midway through said send-off. We’re pretty sure we have never been this angry with anyone about anything in our entire life.

Now we want you to understand something at this point because it doesn’t really come across in stills. Warner is aiming this face AT Aiden Markram. Aiden Markram is the subject of the hatred.

All of Warner’s team-mates came and mobbed him for doing the run-out throw and yet he physically struggled with them to ensure he retained a direct line of sight to Markram.

A direct line of sight to Markram was important to Warner because he didn’t want there to be any miscommunciation about just how much he hated him

It doesn’t really need stating explicitly, but obviously as well as making the face, Warner was  saying things at Markram.

And yes, ‘at’ is the right word here. David Warner was most definitely not saying things to Aiden Markram; he was saying them at him.

First published in March 2018.


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  1. Bloody hell the World Cup Qualifier’s good fun. Scotland have two wins. Afghanistan-Zimbabwe, two overs seven runs one wicket. Meanwhile UAE are out of it, but they’re having a good old slog anyway.

    Odds on the actual World Cup being this fun?

    1. I just came along to post “this WCQ is really fun!” but you have got there before me!! I like how nobody in PNG’s top 7 got a double-figure score, but Tony Ura’s 151 stands in significant contrast to 1, 8, 2, 3, 1 and 8 from the next six batsmen. Next highest score was 25 from their number 9, as they recovered from 12/2, 24/3, 42/4, 55/5 and 80/6 to post a 235 that almost beat Ireland, who had a bit of a panic at the end.

      Afghanistan surprisingly lose their first two matches – they bowled Zimbabwe out for 196 and were cruising at 156/3 with loads of overs in hand and a tiny RRPO, before collapsing to 194 ao. Three wickets in one over to the part-timish spin of Sikandar Raza, including Nabi who was on a half-century.

      Scotland surprisingly win their first two matches, but took six wickets to overturn Hong Kong’s 91.

      The UAE thrash 297/6 against the Windies but still lose by loads (pro tip: don’t concede 357 runs unless you have the batsmen to score 358). Similar advice for Nepal who managed a creditable 264/8 against Zim a few days ago, but still managed to lose by 116 runs.

      I wonder where in the ICC’s programmable logic chip they decided that with 10 Test nations, it was a good idea to have a 14 team World Cup, but that if you have 12 Test nations then it’s a good idea to cram them into a 10 team World Cup…

  2. We can only hope he’s never made skipper and therefore the de facto keeper of “the line”. I’d imagine his first act would be to abolish it. And then shout at it. But not cross it (despite having abolished it).

    1. The Aussies have claimed that none of this crossed “The Line”, but whatever QDK said was most definitely across “The Line”. “The Line” is really really stupid.

      1. Ottis Gibson has finally asked the question we’ve all been thinking: ‘Whose line is it anyway?’ Almost. To within a word.

    2. “There’s this thing and I have seen it recently now about the line. They are saying they didn’t cross the line, but where is the line, who sets the line, where did the line come from? When you are saying you didn’t cross the line but we didn’t cross the line, you went very close to the line whose line is it?”

      This is lovely stuff from Big Ottis

    1. Given his past history of screaming at people to “speak English” and current government policy I can see him as a future immigration minister.

  3. Didn’t know u saffers weee such Big who gets!! He was merely pointing out to Markram that he played a massive part in running out the 5th best player in the world ( smith, kohl, root and Williamson). Fair play to him tho, great innings!

    1. This is like that guy who corrected himself when we said we weren’t Pakistani by saying “okay, British Asian or whatever, I don’t know what the right term is.”

      1. Finally, someone has called you out on being such a Big who get. We’ve all been thinking it, it’s just nice that someone finally has the balls to stand up to you.

  4. Odd. Tim Paine wheeled oput as “Line” edudicator yesterday,confirms that Australia have definitely, definitely not crossed “The Line” but says that South Africa have unquestionably leapt over “The Line”.

    Today, Warner is fined and given points for crossing “The Line” and chooses to accept it without question.

    “The Line” is confusing.

    1. And just a a point of comparison, getting 3 Demerit points for something is quite rare. Other people that have got 3 points have got them for the following:

      Deliberately throwing the ball at someone
      Ball tampering
      Deliberate physical contact
      Continuous and deliberate damaging of the pitch

      Intruiging that Warner would be so happy to accept a charge putting him on a level with these offences when he hasn’t crossed “The Line”

  5. I find it impossible to believe that David Warner has crossed any sort of line.

    We were told quite categorically, by the Aussies, just a few months ago that Warner is a completely reformed man now. A man of the cloth. A Quaker or some similar quintessentially non-violent ministry.

    Warner has obviously been framed in this recent Saffer incident. But, being such a paragon of virtue, rather than challenging the demerit points, Warner is turning the other cheek and continuing his enlightened praxis.

    What a role model. What an example to us all.

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