David Warner suffers fresh blow amid brutal truth from Aussie cricket icons
The Australian Test opener has suffered another blow as questions around his future grow louder.
Aussie cricket icons Allan Border and Brendon Julian have suggested it might be time for selectors to plan for a future without David Warner at the top of the order, after the batter's struggles continued on the opening day of the second Test against India in Delhi. Warner was on Saturday ruled out of the remainder of the second Test after succumbing to concussion symptoms in the wake of a brutal first innings battle.
Australia's Border-Gavaskar trophy hopes are delicately poised after they fought their way to a modest first innings total of 263, with India getting to 0-21 at stumps on day one. Warner (15 runs) was not alone as many of the top order batters struggled for the second Test in a row, with the exception of Usman Khawaja (81) and Peter Handscomb (72 no), who helped Australia post a respectable total against the hosts. It was another scrappy knock from Warner though, with the 36-year-old copping blows to the helmet and arms, before failing to take the field for Australia late in the day.
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The veteran better was assessed by team medical staff after suffering a blow to an elbow when he was on two and then being hit again on six when a bouncer from Mohammed Siraj slammed into his helmet. He failed to field when India batted for nine overs before stumps.
Warner was put through all the necessary concussion protocols after experiencing some dizziness on the Friday in Delhi. On Saturday, it was confirmed that was ruled out for the remainder of the Test, with first Test discard Matt Renshaw to take the veteran's place.
Just like his two knocks in Nagpur, Warner appeared unsure of the best way to face India's bowling and got stuck playing too defensively on the opening day, having taken 22 balls to get off the mark. Warner battled his way to 15 while opening partner Khawaja looked far more comfortable at the other end, and it was no real surprise when the veteran was the first wicket to fall.
Aside from his lack of runs - he now averages 21.78 in India after scores of one and 10 in the Border-Gavaskar series opener - it was the manner in which he was removed by paceman Mohammed Shami that was also concerning. The India quick capitalised on Warner's susceptibility to pace around the wicket, drawing an outside edge from the left-hander that was taken by wicketkeeper, Srikar Bharat.
Warner has been similarly tormented by England quick Stuart Broad over the years, with serious questions now being asked about whether selectors should persevere with the opener for the Ashes series later in the year. Warner was already under pressure going into the four-Test series against India, despite his double century against South Africa in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.
Apart from that one incredible knock, Warner’s most recent Test displays make for ugly reading with scores of 15, 10, 1, 10, 3, 0, 28, 21, 48, 5, 24, and 5, 10* and 25. Speaking on Fox Sports' coverage of the second Test in Delhi, former Aussie fast bowler Julian suggested the opener's spot in the Aussie XI was in serious danger.
#INDvAUS | 2nd Test | LIVE UPDATES:
Breakthrough for #TeamIndia as David Warner departs, courtesy Mohammed Shami 👏
(🎥: BCCI)#INDvsAUS | #AUSvIND | #AUSvsIND | #BGT2023 pic.twitter.com/pGn20E3gD5
— Cricket Buzz (@CricSportsBuzz) February 17, 2023
“I think he’s in a little bit of trouble, David Warner,” Julian said. “I know he missed out on the first Test match and he made that great 200 at the MCG. But I don’t know. I just think second innings, is he under a little bit of pressure here?”
Border agreed, suggesting that Warner's timing looked off and that the 36-year-old was "a yard behind the ball". The former Test skipper said if Warner did not produce something significant with the bat in the second innings, then selectors would naturally consider replacing him at the top of the order, with one eye firmly on the Ashes later in the year.
“If you walk out in the second innings and get rolled and lose the Test match, all of a sudden the selectors think, ‘We might have to start planning for the future a bit more’," Border said. "And given his last Tour of England was a horror, they might be thinking, ‘This is the time’.”
Border's concerns were echoed across the cricket world, with many pointing to Warner's worrying record in England, and in particular, against Broad. The England quick removed the Aussie opener in seven out of his 10 innings the last time the Aussies toured there for an Ashes series in 2019.
Despite enjoying an incredible average when batting at home, it's overseas where Warner has really struggled. The veteran opener boasts a meagre 26.04 from 25 Test innings in England and has never scored an Ashes century overseas.
Davey Warner's last 10 innings...
7, 25, 5, 5, 21, 0, 200, 10, 1, 15
Considering the Ashes in England is up next, and the fact Warner averaged 9.5 in 10 innings of the last Ashes in England... perhaps the end is near? #INDvAUS
— Adam Hayward (@AdzSportz) February 17, 2023
One thing is for sure the selectors have failed in their duties. The tough calls on Warner and less so on Agar should’ve all been done before the Test series against the West Indies. This leaves us in a terrible position heading into an Ashes series. https://t.co/Y8aF3SSQ39
— GrousestDad™ (@GrousestDad) February 17, 2023
Dave Warner is good for a century, but only when you don't need it.
In the 2019 Ashes tour of England, which we nearly lost, his series average with the bat was 9.5 - Nathan Lyon and Pat Cummins had higher batting averages.
— Mike Stockton (@TheMikeStockton) February 17, 2023
Not looking good for ashes. Was hoping for a competitive series this time. Warner should just retire before
— Neerav (@welloffcourse) February 17, 2023
Warner dismissal; it’s wash & repeat. Can’t take him to England for Ashes, he will be a Broad bunny again; wash & repeat.
— Gary Anderson (@aptwasteoftime) February 17, 2023
@cricketaakash what is it something that troubles Warner whenever a pacer goes around the stumps to him and attack on his pads or stumps? I remember he was already exposed by Broad & Jofra Archer in that 19 ashes? Since then he's been an average, gets out in a similar passion.
— Rahul Sargam (@SargamSandy) February 17, 2023
Aussie side sticking by out-of-sorts David Warner
The Australian camp have disputed various reports claiming Travis Head is a contender to replace Warner at the top of the order. Head was recalled for the second Test in Delhi at the expense of Matt Renshaw but only managed 12 runs batting at No.5.
There have been warning signs the end is near for Warner, with the left-hander explaining he felt "exhausted" and wanted to spend more time with his wife and kids before this tour. However, Warner has made it clear in the past that he intends on travelling to England for the Ashes later in the year, and teammates have backed the veteran to be given time to turn his form around before then.
"Three innings is not enough for me - I think there's still a long way to go in this Test series," Khawaja said after stumps on day one in Delhi. "Dave has been such a terrific player for such a long time. "Every time his back is against the wall he produces something so we'll see."
India could all but bat Australia out of the four-Test Border-Gavaskar series with a commanding day in the middle on Saturday. The hosts destroyed Australia by an innings and 132 runs last week in Nagpur, giving the trophy holders a crucial 1-0 series lead.
If Australia lose in the Indian capital, any prospect of conquering the final frontier will be all over midway through the series. India openers Rohit Sharma (13 no) and KL Rahul (four no) survived a tricky nine-over spell before stumps on Friday's opening day to guide the hosts to 0-21 at Arun Jaitely Stadium.
Sharma was given out off Nathan Lyon's bowling in the final over, but the India captain successfully overturned the decision. After Aussie skipper Cummins won his eighth-straight toss, Australia built more of a platform than in Nagpur last week, despite losing Warner and Head, plus fellow top order batting stars Marnus Labuschagne (18) and Steve Smith (0) cheaply.
The tourists would have hoped for a higher total than their 263 on a pitch holding few demons, but the score was perhaps better than expected after they'd slumped to 3-91 and 6-168, with Cummins chipping in with a valuable 33 runs to make the visitors' total slightly more respectable.
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