India vs Australia: Will David Warner play the Sydney Test? Aussies' assistant coach offers an update
Australia’s assistant coach Andrew McDonald on Thursday revealed that the hosts will back David Warner to feature in the New Year’s Test against India even if the opening batsman is slightly below 100 percent fit.
Australia's assistant coach Andrew McDonald on Thursday revealed that the hosts will back David Warner to feature in the New Year's Test against India even if the opening batsman is slightly below 100 per cent fit.
Warner suffered a groin injury during the limited-overs leg last month that saw him miss the Twenty20 International (T20I) series and the opening two Tests of the ongoing Border Gavaskar Trophy.
In the absence of Warner, Joe Burns and Matthew Wade opened for Australia in Adelaide and Melbourne. Ahead of the third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), starting Jan. 7, Australia dropped struggling Burns and added Warner and Will Pucovski to the squad. However, the team management is yet to decide if one or both will feature in the third Test.
"That's a real clear option that he may not be 100 percent fit. Who is coming off an injury? You never know until you get out there. If he's 90, 95% fit, and that conversation is that he's fit enough to be able to perform his duties for the team then I'm sure that will be the conversation the coach has with the player. Most times Justin's pretty open with the players, giving them accountability around that.
He's very optimistic he should be ready to go which is great news. We're really excited to have him back. There's nothing worse than being injured when you're at the top of your game as David has been for a period of time," assistant coach McDonald said during a virtual press conference on Thursday.
During the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), which the Aussies lost by eight wickets, head coach Justin Langer had mentioned that Warner was looking good batting in the nets, but was having some struggles while running at full speed. Considering Australia have been eluded of good starts in the Test series so far, the home side will do everything to bring their opener back for the third Test.
Meanwhile, Steven Smith and Marnus Labuschagne have also not played as per their potential in the Test series. While Smith has managed only 10 runs from four innings, Labuschagne has scored 129 runs from as many innings. Backing the duo, McDonald said that the two will overcome their lean phase and get back to the business of scoring runs.
"I wouldn't be too quick to judge Steve Smith in the middle. Yeah, he hasn't got going yet in this series. In the first four balls he faced in the first innings of the Boxing Day Test, he looked pretty solid, has looked good at the nets too. and Marnus too.
The question for me at the moment is the tactical way India have prepared and have been able to control those two players especially with a sort of leg-side theory so to speak. So, I suppose those two players will have to come out with a better method.
I don't think it has to do anything technically. They are technically in a good space but it is the method to score runs and how they are going to combat these tactics from India bowlers and captains, that has been discussed in our conversation," added McDonald.
The Australians will train in Melbourne on Saturday and Sunday before flying to Sydney on Monday for the third Test.