New Warner low puts place in side in jeopardy
The wait for David Warner to get himself out of his funk is over and it's now up to Australian selectors to decide what to do with him.
A bank of 6363 Test runs before the Ashes began was the core rebuttal to any debate about whether his horror returns through the opening three Tests should have wider ramifications.
But his twin ducks at Manchester, his survival for just eight balls, on the back of a second ball duck in the second innings at Headingley, has lifted discussions about his place in the side to the top of Australia's priority list before the fifth and final Test.
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Steve Smith, who has been in another batting world while watching Warner's repeat failures, said his former vice-captain has been asking for help to find answers to his Stuart Broad problem, after getting out to the veteran seamer six times in eight innings.
As bunnies go, Warner is as fluffy and floppy-eared as you could possibly get.
"He's admitted himself that Broad's had the wood on him throughout this series and he's been talking to myself and Justin (Langer) and Hicky (batting coach Graham Hick) about ways he can play," Smith said.
"He's tried a couple different ways and they haven't quite worked.
"But Davey's a quality player and he hasn't had a great deal of luck this series either, hopefully he can turn it around and get a big one for us at the Oval"
WARNER'S HORROR ASHES: 79 runs @ 9.87
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On all available evidence that's hardly likely, with Warner at the top of a list of opening batsmen who have failed to get out of first gear.
Of the six different openers to face the new ball through four Tests, only Englishman Rory Burns has made any runs.
But five of those batsmen are basically newcomers to Test cricket, with Burns the most experienced, behind Warner, having played just 11 Tests.
Warner has played 77, he's supposed to be better than all of them. He has 21 Test hundreds in the bank as proof positive that he should be above any excuses about how hard it has been this series
Instead he has been the first man out in seven of Australia's eight innings. He's made just 79 runs, and 61 came in one innings.
Warner was supposed to be the rock for first Cameron Bancroft and then Marcus Harris to rely upon.
They were the pair who had cause to be nervous and anxious, their first Ashes, Harris' first Test series away from home. They were the pair for whom failure was probably expected. Instead Warner has failed, and offered them no support.
He's been made to look helpless, particularly by Broad, who made clear his plans from the first ball of the first Test, yet the Australian has found no way around it.
It's a fairly simple plan too; bowl around the wicket, aim at the stumps, and maybe get the odd one to move away, either in the air, or off the seam.
If Smith is the greatest problem solver in world cricket then Warner is, by all available evidence this series, the opposite.
He has in fact got progressively worse, as his three ducks in a row - the first for an Australian opener since 1980 - and his pair at Old Trafford - the first of his career - have shown.
Win, draw, or, heaven help us, even lose at Manchester, the spotlight should remain on Warner, who will probably get another start given the lack of quality opening options at Australia's disposal.
But it won't be a selection anyone outside the team bubble could truly thrown their support around, and less so if the Ashes are still on the line.