The biggest question for Australia heading up to the third Test against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground remains the availability of David Warner. The dynamic left-handed opener injured his hamstring during the limited-overs leg last month and has missed the first two Tests of the series for Australia. With the series levelled at 1-1 and Australia’s batting appearing fragile, the team needs Warner now more than ever.
However, the update provided by Warner does not really bode well for Australia. Warner informed that he hasn’t had any running in the last couple of days but with the SCG Test five days away, his motive will be to fit in the scheme of things even if he isn’t a 100 percent.
“I haven’t ran the last couple of days,” Warner told reporters on Saturday morning. “Today and tomorrow will give me a better indication of where I am. Am I going to be 100 per cent? Highly doubtful. But I’m doing everything I can to get on that park and play, even if that means I’m not 100 per cent.”
The team management needs to be extra careful with their handling of Warner. Giving him a game while it isn’t fully fit may sound like a bold move but it has its fair share of repercussion. Even if Warner is to survive the Sydney Test, what are the odds he may not jeopardize his chances for the final game at Brisbane?
“At the moment there’s a few shots (that are restricted) where you’re lunging, but for me it’s about speed between wickets, it doesn’t matter what shots I can and can’t play,” he said. “It’s about the drop and run, helping the guy at the other end get off strike, they’re the things I work on and they’re the things I like to be 100 per cent fit for. In this case I’m most likely not going to be but I’m going to have to work out myself in advance how I’m going to manage that.”
Eventually it may boil down to how Warner is performing in the slips, that determined whether the 34-year-old can last the rigours of a Test match. “It’s about being smart on this occasion,” he said. I know I can manage the running between the wickets, the shot making I have. If I feel like I can do my duties, whether it’s standing in the slips cordon, taking catches to my right and left and not be a hindrance there, that’s where it’s going to determine whether I do play or not,” he said.
Travis Head has been omitted from Australia’s squad for the final two Tests, and Will Pucovski, who had suffered a concussion last month has been added. In such a scenario, what happens to the opening combination depending on Warner’s situation becomes crucial, but the batsman feels it’s not his place to comment on the structure of the team.
“It’s not my question to answer in that sense of who I want, at the end of the day it’s who the selectors feel comfortable with, if they want two changes, one change, I’m not too sure,” Warner said.
“The way Wadey applied his pressure the other day was great, he put his hand up to bat at the top of the order which was a brave move as well because he hasn’t done that before. Whether or not Will’s there or Wadey’s there, I know that whoever is up the other end, we know each other’s game enough to apply pressure (to India’s bowlers).”