England v Australia - 1st Specsavers Ashes Test: Day Three
England v Australia - 1st Specsavers Ashes Test: Day Three

Can the real David Warner please stand up?

AUSTRALIA NEED THE OLD WARNER BACK ASAP

Only India's Rohit Sharma scored more runs than David Warner in the World Cup. And it was just the one.

Back in international cricket after his 12 month ban he took to the attacks of Pakistan (107), Bangladesh (166) and South Africa (122). He even scored 50s against both England and India. The commentary around him was that he looked different, was batting differently, was more circumspect.

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He called it "batting patient" and even said he was happy to bat "scrappy" to get runs.

That was never his way, not in one-day cricket, and certainly not Test cricket. Attack was his preferred form of defence, and he put bowling attacks on the back foot from the outset with his positivity and fearless stroke play.

His career strike rate is 74 in Test cricket. Caution is a welcome character-trait for opening batsmen in Test cricket, when pitches are different and the ball moves more, particularly in England. But it should be natural caution, career-wide caution.

Restrained David Warner doesn't work, and two Test innings back in to his career he has 10 runs, total. He looked sheepish in both digs at Edgbaston, in the face of a voracious crowd booing and singing at him.

He has 6363 Test runs, and hasn't faced a quality Test attack in a long time. But it's a nervous start, unlike Steve Smith.

They are different batters, and different men. But Australia is hoping for the same result in their Ashes return.

"The good thing with Davey is he's just the same person whether he's going well or not," Aussie seamer James Pattinson said after play.

"He's always bubbly around the team, he's always helping out, that's the great thing about him. He's all for the team, whether he gets runs or he doesn't he's always up and about in the dressing room."

 

BANCROFT WILL BE BATTING AGAIN NEXT WEEK

When the Test squad heads to Worcester for a tour game scheduled to start on Wednesday several members will be missing, mainly bowlers, given leave passes after their efforts at Edgbaston to recharge the batteries.

Cameron Bancroft however could be batting to save his spot in the team.

 

Cameron Bancroft failed in both innings at Edgbaston and will need to prove himself in next week’s tour match if he is to retain his place in the side.
Cameron Bancroft failed in both innings at Edgbaston and will need to prove himself in next week’s tour match if he is to retain his place in the side.

 

He "banged the door down" for selection, having been out of the side since being banned for ball-tampering, with runs for second division county side Durham, and then 93 not out in the all-Aussie trial match before the Test.

He displaced incumbent Marcus Harris, one of the finds of the home summer, as much for his mental toughness as his runs. But in two bats at Birmingham he looked anything but a man who could hang around for 100 balls.

It might have been nerves, given the introspective character was in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. But his return of 15 runs, and almost as many false shots, wasn't anything to get excited about. He could have to out-bat Harris at Worcester if he wants to play the next match at Lords.

 

 

 

 

DID AUSTRALIA GET THEIR TACTICS WRONG?

In the 20th over of Australia's second batting innings, when England were on top, protecting just a small lead, they had one slip in, with the boundary protected at a minimum two spots. That was to the fast bowlers too.

Australia, by contrast, rarely had less than two slips in, at any stage, even putting a couple in when Nathan Lyon was on the tear.

Captain Tim Paine didn't put a third man in until England had passed 300, despite the fact centurion Rory Burns got a third of his runs via that part of the ground, off outside edges through the only vacant spot in the cordon, fourth slip.

 

Tim Paine’s filed placings at times left spectators scratching their heads.
Tim Paine’s filed placings at times left spectators scratching their heads.

 

Admittedly, England's batsmen played and missed, a lot, but when they did get edges, they either dropped short, or went through gaps.

Paine protected the point boundary when Lyon was bowling, and then the fine leg area as the English runs continued to mount. Paine also persisted with Lyon to the tail when he was having little impact, and in the 25-over partnership between Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad, barely troubled them with a consistent bowling plan from his quicks.

The wicket was doing nothing, the ball went soft, but that required more thinking, not less. England got a 90-run lead on the back of a 65-run 10th wicket stand, and Australia's ultra-aggressive fields.

 

YOU JUST BOWL SHORT TO BROAD

Social media was reaching meltdown point as English tailender Stuart Broad worked his way in to the 20s as part of a rearguard action which eroded the potential of Australia chasing only a small deficit.

It wasn't because of him making runs, but the lack of a plan to get him out from the bowlers, who should have known exactly what to do.

Broad has been a relative bunny to short-pitched bowling since he copped a nasty one to the face in 2015. Anything aimed at him can only be deflected away, and he is invariably caught. He was out caught in every Ashes innings in Australia in 2017-18.

Yet at Edgbaston, the Aussies forgot the plan. He survived for 25 overs, until Pat Cummins dug one in, and he hooked it to James Pattinson at fine leg.

Given England's number 11, Jimmy Anderson, lasted just 19 balls, an earlier dismissal of Broad would have left the Aussies facing less of a mountain to climb.

Broad's 67 balls innings was his longest since 2013.

 

WOAKES IS A PRETTY HANDY CRICKETER

As a local Birmingham boy, Chris Woakes knows where to get the best coffee. It was the same local roaster where the Aussies get theirs, so it must be good stuff.

But it wasn't just home-ground advantage that helped him produce the sort of performance through the opening three days which should ensure the Aussies get to know him well this series too.

 

Chris Woakes knows where to get good coffee and where his off stump is, too, it seems.
Chris Woakes knows where to get good coffee and where his off stump is, too, it seems.

 

Woakes has only played 27 Tests, and never been a certain starter. But he hit Edgbaston fresh off taking 6-17 at Lords to dismiss Ireland for 38 in a second innings rout last week, and followed that with 3-58 in the first innings against the Aussies, nipping and swinging the ball as much as his more credentialed colleagues.

Woakes had to carry a bigger load when Jimmy Anderson limped off too.

He opened the bowling in the second innings, and had Cameron Bancroft in trouble. That was after he pushed England to a 90-run lead from the brink of a much smaller gap, scoring 37 not out in a 65-run stand with Stuart Broad that was chanceless.

It was some effort for a number nine batsman, but one who has a Test century, and an average of 30. Put it all together and he's a significant package for England, a package Australia can't really match.

Woakes was surprised to be asked for a few photos with fans when he picked up his flat white before day two. He shouldn't be surprised any more.