Ashes 2019, England vs Australia: Back after ban, David Warner has chance to set record straight in England
David Warner is chasing a ball driven by Jason Roy in the semi-final of the cricket World Cup, he is sprinting along at full throttle. However, the ball makes it to the fence, and Warner is second best in the race. As he bends down and picks the ball, a spectator jumps off his seat, races towards the boundary hoardings and yelps a volley of abuse at Warner - he reminds him that he was banned, he reminds him that he tainted the game, he reminds him that when he walks out to bat in the Ashes, everything will be the same, the crowds will be baying for his blood and blaring sledges directed at him.
Warner picked up the ball, smiled back at the bloke and trotted back into play. He did not give anything away, he scored runs with the bat and smiled his way through the World Cup. They’ve been addressed, oh my gosh, they have been addressed big time. They had a 12-month ban for one,” Justin Langer addressed the issue at the press conference.
It might all be background noise for Warner when he strides out to bat in the first Test at Edgbaston, but there will be noise. The left-hander is an important cog for this Australian side, his starts at the top of the order is crucial, especially because the pitches are expected to assist the seamers right through the series. Hence, his numbers in England need to be studied.
In eight Tests in England, the left-hander has scored 556 runs at an average of 37.06. The duke ball jags around in England, especially when the conditions are fresh and even though, the average is not overwhelming, it is steady. And the runs have come at a strike-rate of 70.64, which means that he has got off to a fast start and given the momentum to his side up front.
However, there is a worrying pattern in his style of play - he is one of the 15 batsmen with minimum of 5 half-centuries or more without any Test hundreds in England.
The left-hander has to be wary against James Anderson, who has been his nemesis in these conditions - the fast-bowler has got rid of David Warner nine times in Test cricket, a number he shares with Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. Out of the nine times, Warner has perished to Anderson 5 times in England and three dismissals came back in 2015.
Hence, the left-hander has to be watchful against Anderson and be more focused when Stuart Broad has the ball in his hand. Warner has dominated Broad, a trend he would love to continue this year. Warner averages 64.80 against Broad in Tests at the strike-rate of 61.48 and has been dismissed by Broad on four occasions. Such has been the dominance of the Australian, that Broad has not been able to dismissal Warner in last two Ashes series.
The numbers are even better when the two players face off in England. Warner has had a leash on Broad, he averages 115 in 12 innings against Broad since 2015 and has been dismissed only once by the fast-bowler.
These are numbers and after all the tactics, gamesmanship and after all the talks of earning respect, cricket still remains a game defined by numbers. Warner can be resilient and take all the boos and taunts on the chin and stutter around, but if he bats like the way he can bat and manages to beef up his average, manages to dominate Anderson, manages to keep a lid on Broad, the England crowd will soon realise there is a serious player plying his trade and there boos might be the catalyst behind the resurgence.
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