Aussies make huge call on David Warner for second Test amid ugly drama

The opener has retained his place in Australia's XI despite calls for him to be dropped.

Pat Cummins and David Warner, pictured here before the second Test against India.
Pat Cummins has made a call on David Warner for the second Test against India. Image: Getty

Australia have resisted calls to drop David Warner for the second Test in India, retaining the opener for the match in Delhi. Reports emerged this week that selectors were considering bringing Travis Head back in at the top of the order in place of Warner, while Mitchell Johnson called for the 36-year-old to be axed.

But Cummins revealed on Thursday that he believed Warner would be named on Friday when the second Test begins in Delhi, and he was proven right. Warner was named in his usual spot at the top of the order alongside Usman Khawaja, with Head coming back in the middle order at the expense of Matt Renshaw.

"I'm not a selector. I don't think they've had a meeting but I'm sure Davey will be there," Cummins said on Thursday.

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"You saw [last] year at the Boxing Day Test when he puts pressure back on the opposition, he's pretty hard to bowl to. You don't get as many good balls, so he knows that. I'm sure that'd be part of his plan.

Pat Cummins, pictured here speaking with David Warner in Delhi ahead of the second Test.
Pat Cummins speaks with David Warner in Delhi ahead of the second Test. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

"He has been batting really well here. Even in the lead-up, I thought he was fantastic. I know there's a lot of talk about spin bowling through the middle but with that new ball it's sometimes the hardest time to bat as well."

Warner made 1 and 10 in the first Test in Nagpur, with his career average in India sitting at just over 22. However Head owns a similar career average in Asia, leading selectors to leave him out of the first Test in favour of Matt Renshaw and Peter Handscomb.

"Trav has been awesome," Cummins said on Thursday. "Been working really hard out the back on his game. He's been fantastic around the squad like he always is. He's absolutely part of the conversations for this Test, just like the first Test so he couldn't be doing any more."

Australia could play three spinners in second Test

Fans and commentators were eagerly awaiting Australia's team sheet for the second Test, with the tourists needing a win or draw to keep their hopes in the Border Gavaskar Trophy alive. The Aussies will play three spinners on another dry pitch in Delhi, with Matthew Khunneman coming on for his Test debut in place of Scott Boland.

Much of Australia's selections rested on the fitness of Mitchell Starc and Cameron Green, but neither were included on Friday. It was initially thought that Green would be fit to bat before he could bowl after recovering from a broken finger. However the 23-year-old was having more trouble with bat in hand during Wednesday's main training session.

"Having a right-hander helps and him providing our fifth bowling option also helps, he's a big player, it certainly helps the team function well from batting and bowling," Cummins said. "You have got to be able to perform as well, he's still coming back from that injury, and he's only had a couple of sessions where he's catching with a hard ball. He had a really good session (on Wednesday), but will see how he pulls up."

Cummins said Starc would not be an automatic inclusion if fully fit due to the spin-friendly conditions that will be on offer. Some have suggested that Starc should play ahead of Cummins if the Aussies only go with one front-line paceman. Victorian quick Boland also performed admirably in his first Test outside of Australia.

"I think there's a conversation," Cummins said about Starc. "He's one of the world's premier bowlers in these type of conditions. I thought last week with two pacers that attack functioned quite well but I think whether it's 'Starcy', another spinner, Scotty (Boland). Variety in the attack does help."

Australia XI for second Test: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Peter Handscomb, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins (c), Todd Murphy, Nathan Lyon, Matthew Kuhnemann.

India XI: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KS Bharat (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj.

with AAP

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