Pacer Stuart Broad has got opener David Warner’s number at the Ashes but the embattled opening batsman can turn it around if he ramps up the aggression against the England paceman, former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has said.
Compared to his stellar World Cup, Warner has had a nightmare of a series, averaging 11.28 with the bat and falling five times in seven innings to Broad.
His second-ball duck on day one at Old Trafford was the second time in the series he has fallen attempting to leave the ball and is evidence, according to Ponting, of a player who has deserted his natural game.
“Davey is obviously struggling with Stuart Broad,” Ponting told Cricket Australia’s website (cricket.com.au) after Australia went to stumps at 170 for three on Wednesday. “He has got his number, that round-the-wicket angle is really worrying him. It’s worrying all the left-handers to be honest. Davey, again, was lured into playing trying to leave. That’s the second time in the series it’s happened and I think it’s a real mindset thing for him. If he’s looking to hit the ball and not leave the ball like he is I think he’d be fine.”
Barring his first innings 61 at Headingley, Warner has looked a shell of his normal self, failing to surpass eight runs in his other six innings in the series.
His second consecutive duck was viewed dimly by Australian cricket media on Thursday, who branded him ‘Broad’s bunny’ and questioned whether selectors had dumped the wrong man in number three Usman Khawaja.
Warner has had precious little support from his opening partners, with opener Marcus Harris scoring 13 following his eight and 19 at Headingley.
Harris replaced opener Cameron Bancroft after the second test, with the Western Australian dumped for a similarly meagre output. The opening failures have repeatedly thwarted Australia’s hopes of stealing a march on England and put pressure on Steve Smith, who will resume on 60 not out on day two, to continue to rescue the touring side.
Ponting said he had spoken to Warner about ways to combat Broad, who has been honing in on the opener’s stumps rather than seeking to find an edge.
“I’ve said a few things to him about how I thought he could line up and try and play but it’s a different thing to work on that at training and have the courage to go out and try and do that in a test match,” Ponting said. “When you see Davey at his best he’s not really even thinking about leaving those (deliveries), he’s trying to stand up on top of the bounce and hit that through the covers.”