After all the off field drama surrounding the DRS controversy coming to an end, India and Australia finally got down to the business of playing cricket. Australia won the toss and decided to bat at Ranchi and their opening duo of Matt Renshaw and David Warner got the visitors off to a decent start with a 50-run partnership. However, against the run of play Ravindra Jadeja came in and snapped up Warner. While it wasn’t R Ashwin who scalped Warner again, but noticeably it was another spinner (Ravindra Jadeja) who sent the southpaw back to the dressing room. Thus, continuing Warner’s poor run of form in the subcontinent.
Before getting dismissed Warner notched up 1000 runs against India in Tests, but interestingly most of them have come in Australia. A closer look at Warner’s performances against India (in India) in Tests reveals that out of the 7 matches (13 innings) he has managed only 312 runs with two fifties.
Since last year Warner’s form with the willow has also continued to take a downward curve. 2016 was not a good year for the left-hander as he managed to score runs at an average hovering around mid 30s. His tally of runs also remained below 700.
Another startling factor is the difference in form and skills in conditions at home and away. At home Warner averages around 59. On the other hand away from home it takes a massive drop again to the mid 30’s. This difference between his home and away performances is also visible in his tally of centuries – 14 at home and only four away.
Looking at Warner’s away record, it does show some interesting numbers. His average in India is a mere 24 (exactly half of his career average) and 27.2 in Sri Lanka. In New Zealand it drops further down to below 15. For a batsman who has a career average of 48.02, the gap between his home and away performances raises serious questions about his ability to perform out of his comfort zones.
The pitches at home and in a country like South Africa, suit his game as they offer true bounce and pace. However, in the sub-continental conditions where the bounce is low and there is lateral movement he looks an entirely different batsman.
A look at the ongoing Test series against India shows that Warner has not been able to explode with the bat and could manage scores of only 38, 10, 33 and 17. Although he looked in good touch a couple of times he just did not seem in his comfort zone.
Adding to his batting woes, is R Ashwin who has become Warner’s nemesis. Ashwin has dismissed him nine times and this is proving to be a headache for the New South Wales batsman. How he will sort his game out remains to be seen; whether he curbs his attacking instincts or alters his technique,but surely all eyes will be on him.
With just three more innings left to bat in this series Steve Smith and the Australian camp will be optimistic of Warner’s ability to stand up and deliver and hope that their top order batsman strikes form before its too late.