Bancroft must make most of big chance
LANGER had Hayden, Taylor had Slater, Simpson had Lawry and for a brief period Warner had Rogers … then he lost him.
David Warner will go down in history as one of cricket's most prolific runscorers, but with his career reaching its back half it's appearing possible he'll leave the game without a true partner atop the Australian batting order.
Outside of a 41 innings partnership with Chris Rogers, Warner has had a never-ending job advertisement out to open alongside him at the forefront of the batting order.
Enter Cameron Bancroft.
When the pair put on an unbeaten 173-run stand against England in the opening Ashes Test of the summer, it appeared Warner may just have found the man to stand with him.
The partnership was the second highest opening stand for the fourth innings in Australian Test history.
Fast forward three Tests and Warner again faces the prospect of ushering in the 11th opening partner of his career.
Many have tried, many have failed.
Ed Cowan, Joe Burns, Matthew Renshaw, Shaun Marsh, Phillip Hughes, Usman Khawaja, Shane Watson and Glenn Maxwell have all had opportunities to tackle the new rock.
Warner's English counterpart Alistair Cook has had similar fortunes having burnt through 11 partners since the retirement of Andrew Strauss.
For many the fifth Ashes Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground is perceived as a dead rubber with the hosts leading the series 3-0.
For Bancroft, it's an opportunity to kickstart his international career by booking a place on Australia's tour of South Africa in March.
As a 25-year-old opener in his first Test series a tally of 179 runs at an average of 29.83 doesn't make for terrible reading, but it's been the unsure manner in which he has compiled them that has his position under threat.
Fortunately for Bancroft he has another dream opportunity to prove he's capable of excelling alongside the game's elite.
The MCG pitch was last week described as "poor" by the ICC, and the lifeless SCG deck is proving about as much fun for bowlers as its Victorian counterpart.
The relative struggles of Stuart Broad and James Anderson have been well documented, while Tom Curran's lack of speed isn't what the balance of the pace attack needs.
Moeen Ali couldn't spin a record and debutant Mason Crane averages 44 in first-class cricket.
It's a simple equation for Bancroft, who must make runs in batsmen friendly conditions if he's to be given a chance against the Proteas firepower pace contingent of Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel.
If he fails to deliver in the Ashes finale, David Warner may again be left searching for his soulmate at the top of the order.