The last week has not been pleasant for Australia.
They lost Bengaluru Test by 75 runs after a fighting win at Pune, Steven Smith escaped a punishment for trying to look up to dressing room for DRS review and have faced lot of ire from all cricketing circles.
If this was not enough, Mitch Starc has been ruled out from remainder of the series with a stress fracture, a huge setback for Smith and Darren Lehmann and their bid to regain the Border-Gavaskar trophy.
Starc had a good series with bat and ball where he took five wickets and scored 118 runs. Even though his wickets column didn’t do justice to the way he bowled on the spinning and dying tracks of Pune and Bengaluru.
His impact of coming round the wicket and aiming block-hole was highly effective and his consecutive wickets of Rahane and Nair were breath-taking. His spell had brought Australia right back in the game.
Since he’ll not be featured in the remaining two Tests, the pressure to post good first innings totals after winning toss has become pivotal for Smith and other batsmen. Here, David Warner needs to step up and score big to assure that his bowling mates have enough to defend.
Warner has had a quiet series so far with scores of 38, 10, 33 and 17. Although he looked in good touch while scoring 38 and 33, as he was moving his feet well against the spinners, he didn’t go on with it.
Warner has to take a different approach while playing on Indian pitches, where the ball stops and dies at you from day one, which is very opposite to what he is comfortable facing.
He is a treat to watch when there is pace and bounce on the wicket that helps him to play his shots and score quickly. He has shown that he can take the game way from opposition in a matter of one session.
Let’s look at his performance in the last three Test series played against South Africa, Pakistan and Sri-Lanka. At home against Proteas, he didn’t have a memorable series after scoring 97 runs in first innings of first Test.
Against Pakistan though, he scored two centuries. But this performance was on home ground, where he is the most comfortable to play and attack from the word go.
Against Sri lanka, he had a forgettable series in which he managed to score only one half century in six innings and didn’t look settled against the Sri Lankan spinners.
His struggles on spinning tracks have continued on current tour so far, in which Ashwin got him out three out of four times.
Viral Kohli has been clever too when he brings Ashwin to face Warner, since Ashwin is more effective against left-handers.
Warner has a point to prove that he can not just score on pacy pitches, but also can apply himself on tough tracks like in India, and score centuries.
He’ll need to curb his attacking shots especially the sweep against Ashwin and Jadeja and try to play straight and for the spin and wait for bad balls.
Warner’s best chance is to score big in the first innings, since he has looked very vulnerable in second innings on deteriorating pitch.
Seeing Warner scoring and hitting a form will give huge sigh of relief to Smith, Lehmann and his fans and it’ll help them to erase the bad memories of second Test.
All eyes on Warner.