David Warner’s continued poor form against Stuart Broad has been a big topic of discussion ahead of the fourth Ashes Test match at Old Trafford in Manchester. The Australian opener is still struggling to find an answer to the veteran English pacer. Broad has now dismissed Warner 17 times in Test cricket and thrice in this series, the latest two coming in the Headingley Test where England pulled one back against the victors after losing the first two Tests.
Warner’s struggles against Broad in particular have led to a lot of speculation regarding whether coach Andrew McDonald and captain Pat Cummins would persist with him at the top of the order. Warner has gotten out to Broad in a variety of ways, which makes matters even worse. Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting, speaking on the ICC Review, provided his view on the situation.
“I know there’s been a lot of chat the last couple of days since the end of Headingley and it’s more the fact that it’s Broad that’s getting him out, I think,” said Ponting. “I think if it was anybody else, the noise probably wouldn’t be quite as loud, but the fact that he struggled to get through the opening spells of Broad a few times in this series again, makes it a little bit more of a worry.”
Warner’s first dismissal of the series at Edgbaston was to Broad, but he has since also been dismissed once by Ollie Robinson and twice by Josh Tongue. However, Broad accounting for Warner in both innings at Headingley has caused concern among Australian fans.
Ponting spoke about the psychological aspect of Broad’s dominance over Warner, and how that could both play on Warner’s mind and be used as an advantage by the England team. “And the reason I say that is because I’ve played against teams in the past and bowlers in the past where you just know that they’ve got the wood on you and they’re on top of you and you just can’t get away from it. If I’m Ben Stokes, even if David Warner gets through the first spell of Stuart Broad, then I’ll give him a short break and I’ll bring him back again,” said Ponting.
“When someone’s got you out 17 times, it does become as much a mental or probably more of a mental battle than it does a technical battle,” he continued. However, Ponting suggested Australia should keep having faith in Warner, due to his experience and the dangers of bringing in a player unprepared for the stage.
‘Harris and Renshaw haven’t played first-class cricket in along time’: Ponting
“But just thinking about the series, I’d be inclined to stick with David Warner. If you’re going into the fourth Test match of an Ashes, with the Ashes on the line, do you bring a Marcus Harris or a Matt Renshaw in that simply haven’t played a game of cricket for…I don’t know how long since they’ve played a first-class game?” said the current Delhi Capitals coach, under whom Warner was captain in this IPL season.
“Even if you did make the change, you’d be making a pretty courageous call to bring someone in that hasn’t been in the line-up. Right now I’m probably more inclined to give David another opportunity and hope that he can get through Stuart Broad and go on and make a big score,” he argued. Warner has been part of a top 4 that has been largely tied down by England, even if Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith have a pair of centuries to their name.
Ponting continued with some advice for Warner, demanding that he bring back the fire and aggression that he was associated with in days gone by.
“You’ve just got to look at Warner’s dismissals in the last game and this sort of wry smile came on his face almost to say, you’ve done it again, you’ve got me again. I’d like to see him go the other way. I’d like to see him show that real bulldog fighting spirit that he’s got. I think like he showed in the first innings of the World Test Championship, like he showed in the first innings at Lord’s where he made runs there.”
“I’d like to see him get back to that and if he gets back to that, I think with the way that I’ve seen him start in a couple of his innings, I honestly do feel a big score is just around the corner for him,” concluded Ponting, backing the opener to come good even in the face of doubters and questions surrounding his future in the Test team.