Fans have questioned Aussie coach Justin Langer and the selectors after David Warner appeared uncomfortable in his return at the top of the Australian order before being dismissed cheaply.
Warner, having been sorely missed during the opening half of the four-Test series against India, was widely tipped to be a quick fix for Australia's misfiring batting order and sluggish run-rate.
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The veteran opener admitted last week he was unlikely to be fully fit for the third Test at the SCG, having spent almost six weeks on the sidelines because of a groin injury he suffered during a fielding mishap during the ODI campaign, but was desperate to play.
Warner, having vowed to show trademark intent against India, stroked his first delivery through the covers and dashed through for a quickly-run two.
The former vice-captain grimaced after completing a quick single soon after, then was out for five after lashing at consecutive deliveries from Mohammed Siraj in the fourth over.
Aussie great Mike Hussey questioned whether Warner looked fit enough to be out in the middle, following the pain on his face after the run.
“He was running through, he’s certainly labouring a little bit and it’s not the David Warner we are used to seeing. He certainly is not even close to 100 per cent fit,” he said on Fox Sports commentary.
“It’s not a great sign.”
Test legend Ricky Ponting was also quick to point out the discomfort across Warner’s face during his innings.
But the former Aussie captain also played down any impact it could have had on his wicket, but rather praised Siraj for his bowling.
However, fans questioned how Warner could have been included in the team when he was clearly not “100 per cent fit”.
While many thought it was unfair on Travis Head to have been dropped.
Justin Langer and selectors have been faced with tough decisions this series. But picking Joe Burns in the first 2 tests, who was clearly out of form and David Warner in this test, who looks injured borders on negligence. Surely form and injury are key parts of selection criteria https://t.co/8aKJ4BXe9e
— Tom Wilson (@TomWilsonFOX) January 7, 2021
Poor cricket by David Warner and he is out.
He won't be happy with himself.
Flashed at one and missed, flashed at another and it floated gently to slips.
— Peter Lalor (@plalor) January 6, 2021
— iamstevenguy (@iamstevenguy) January 7, 2021
Clearly David Warner was nowhere hear fit. Ludicrous decision to play him. Still glad to see him go #AUSvsIND 🏏
— Trevor Smith (@MrSmithInNotts) January 7, 2021
David Warner, back to early?
— Michael Carlon (@MPCGoBombers) January 7, 2021
Fox Sports commentator Kerry O’Keefe added the early signs of Warner’s running between wickets was a ‘red flag’.
“He bats with his hands but he always has a look. He didn’t seem to be looking that much today,” he said.
“The red flag went up when he took that single, the last 10 metres he really laboured and he’s far less than 100 per cent fit.”
Teammates reassure Warner is fine
Warner's first flat-footed stroke went unpunished but the second resulted in an edge that sailed straight to Cheteshwar Pujara at first slip.
"I hope he hasn't tweaked it again," Ricky Ponting said on the Seven Network.
"It was pretty much from that moment (the quick single) on that those loose shots started.
"Has not looked comfortable (since the quick single).
"Hopefully it (the groin injury) wasn't playing on his mind, hopefully he's OK."
Mitchell Starc, speaking on the same TV network during the lunch break, suggested Warner was fine.
"He's been doing a lot of his rehab and been very professional about it," Starc said.
"When you come back from injuries there is always that little bit of doubt about it.
"But he seems pretty fine .. no ice on."
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