Sport Cricket Warner under the microscope as struggles against Broad continue
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Warner under the microscope as struggles against Broad continue

David Warner has been harassed by Stuart Broad all series. Photo: Getty
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David Warner’s place in the Australian Test team has come under question as his miserable Ashes campaign spluttered along at Old Trafford with the Australian opener dismissed for a second-ball duck.

He attempted to leave the fourth delivery of the first over but nicked it to Jonny Bairstow behind the stumps.

Once again, his chief tormenter was Stuart Broad. The lanky fast-medium paceman has dismissed Warner five time in this series for just 32 runs.

Warner has laboured for just 79 runs in seven innings – 60 of those came in the first innings of the third Test at Headingley.

“Not sure what to leave, what to play at, David Warner, once again,” Shane Warne said in commentary. “(Broad’s) all over him like a cheap suit.”

The Englishman has now claimed Warner’s wicket 10 times in Tests. He’s only had more success against former Australian captain Michael Clarke, who he dismissed 11 times.

Warner is averaging just over 11 for the series – his worst run of form since making his Test debut in 2011.

Warner is also only the fourth opener in Ashes history to register at least six single figure dismissals in a series joining Australia’s Colin McDonald (1956), Jon Dyson (1981) and Mike Atherton (1997).

Warner’s struggles are a marked contrast in the head-to-head record between the two players. Prior to the series, Broad had taken Warner’s wicket only five times in total, over the course of 29 innings (from 527 balls) – at a cost of 64.80 runs. In this series, Warner’s wicket is coming at a rate of 6.40 runs each time.

“He’s really tentative, thinking way too much – and probably not about the right stuff,” Australia legend Ian Healy told Wide World of Sports. “It can be detrimental even if it’s the right stuff you’re thinking.”

Healy added: “He’s waiting for rock bottom, I reckon. When he hits rock bottom and says, ‘What the hell, I’m just gonna go out and hit the ball today’, that’s when he’ll come good.”

It was left to former captain Steve Smith to salvage Australia’s innings, following the dismissal of Marcus Harris for 13.

Smith walked to the crease with Australia in trouble at 2-29.

Rain interruptions notwithstanding, he established a rhythm with the in-form Marnus Labuschagne (67), partnering for a vital 116-run partnership that allowed Australia to reach stumps on 3-170.

Australia captain Tim Paine, who won the toss, surprised some by electing to bat first, particularly given the weather that had been forecast.

But the early indications suggest this is a good batting deck, while Nathan Lyon will have been enthused by the turn on offer for the spinners.