Australia in India 2012-13 March 11, 2013

Clarke promotion would add stability to line-up - Warner

David Warner believes if Michael Clarke moves up from No. 5, it will add much-needed stability to Australia's top order but he said it would be disappointing if such a change was required because it meant the rest of the batsmen had not been performing adequately. Clarke's batting position for the Mohali Test has not yet been confirmed but after the loss in Hyderabad, where he was out for 91 in the first innings trying to score quickly with the tail, he indicated he would need to promote himself.

Clarke, who has scored more than twice as many runs as any other members of the top six on this tour, could bat at either first drop or second drop given how early India have been using their spinners. So far in the series, Clarke has come in at 126 for 3, 65 for 3, 57 for 3 and 75 for 3, and although the conditions have played a part in those low scores, three-down for very few has become an all-too-familiar sight on Australia's scorecard in recent years.

"I just think it will stabilise us a lot, instead of losing three wickets we might only lose one wicket and rotate the strike more," Warner said. "I don't think it is necessarily about having Michael at three; it is about us, the top four, to knuckling down and scoring runs, that's the main issue. If we can do our job right there is no reason to reshuffle the order."

Warner started the series with a scratchy half-century in the first innings in Chennai and since then has had little impact, despite making a couple of starts and reaching the 20s. In the second innings in Hyderabad he was bowled around his legs trying to sweep the first ball he faced from R Ashwin over the wicket and it was a shot that frustrated the coach Mickey Arthur, who had that morning instilled in the team the need to avoid cross-bat shots.

Warner could have spent some time adjusting to Ashwin's new line and perhaps even kicked the ball away given that it was pitching outside leg stump and he could not be lbw. Another option would have been to flick the ball through midwicket but that would have carried the risk of a leading edge. Warner said in hindsight his best play would have been to come down the pitch and reach the ball on the full.

"If you're pushing a ball through midwicket against the turn you could get a leading edge and get caught at slip," Warner said. "I think that ball, when I look back at it, if I took the stride down the wicket, I could have got to it on the full. If I had a second line of defence I wouldn't have got bowled. They're the things that you look at and the decisions that you make at the time.

"I saw the ball drift late. What happens if you [try to pad it away and] miss it? It drifted at the last minute. If you go to pad those away you're still leaving a gap between your legs, unless you're guarding the stumps like a castle."

Australia enter the Mohali Test, which starts on Thursday, needing a victory to keep the series and their chances of retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy alive after going down 2-0 in Chennai and Hyderabad. The innings loss inside three and a half days in the second Test led the former Indian captain Dilip Vengsarkar to ponder in a newspaper column whether this was the worst Australian team ever to tour India, but Warner said it was important to remember that historically teams have struggled in the conditions.

"We've won one tour [in the last 40 years]," Warner said. "Four out of the 16 blokes who are here have played Test-match cricket here [before]. We're doing pretty well to put up a fight at least. We've had the best of conditions in both the first innings, that's no excuse. But in the second innings with the ball turning, it has been tough for us because we aren't used to the conditions.

"In the first innings there's no excuse, we're supposed to be scoring well into high-300s, early-400s. We've got the capabilities of doing that. Hopefully in the next two Test matches we can not only prove everyone wrong but prove to ourselves that we're good enough. We've got the right team and the right balance to do that."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Scott on March 13, 2013, 12:57 GMT

    @F-F-L, please explain how batting at 5 is regarded as shirking your responsibilities when your batting position is number 5 and at number 5 you've scored more runs in the last year than just about anybody in world cricket? Moving him up to 4 will change things how exactly? Or are you suggesting mere presence at the crease has a calming effect on those around him? How would a front line spinner who was captain lead from the front? Would you suggest he opens the bowling every innings? Or Dhoni, should he keep at the stumps to his quicks... Want to discuss hiding - asking me opening could be argued as hiding as much as batting in the middle order could. When the chips are down you'd most likely already be in the dressing room and unable to lead your team totally shirking your responsibilities onto the middle order. At least at 5, when Aus are at 3 for nothing Clarke can lead his team to a respectable total. If Cook goes cheap, then he leaves it all up to everyone else

  • Michael on March 12, 2013, 2:31 GMT

    "but he said it would be disappointing if such a change was required because it meant the rest of the batsmen had not been performing adequately."

    Newsflash - the rest of the batsmen HAVE NOT been performing adequately. It is disappointing that this change is required, but there you go. Just be glad, 'Davey' Warner, that you submitted your homework (hope you got an A+...) and will be playing in the match. I expect that as the batsmen have identified the 3 areas they can improve, Clarke will get some support in the remaining two Tests.

  • j on March 11, 2013, 14:28 GMT

    @Mitty2, Not only is Cook effective as opener, he takes responsibility for the batting and doesn't shirk his leadership over the top 6.

  • arun on March 11, 2013, 11:22 GMT

    @SatishChander, having too many right handers in top 7 may back fire Oz also. it might help MSD to take a bold move of dropping Bhajji and get back the best bowler of last series P.Ojha.

  • Khawaja on March 11, 2013, 9:18 GMT

    u can try warner,hughes,clarke,cowan, henriques, haddin,maxwell,siddle,starc, lyon, doherty...that way u can play three spinners and three pacemen and seven batsmen

  • Hamish on March 11, 2013, 7:53 GMT

    It's why cook is so effective for England. He bats at the top, doesn't get out, and the effect rubs off on the other batsmen. Just look at the indian England series, he set the precedent in every innings on how to bat and England had the occasional century from the other batters, with KP's being the only game defining century. Clarke has scored many more runs than cook from 2012 onwards from fewer games, but he is usually trying to resurrect an innings, and this is why, IMO, he is the best batter in the world, he consistently scores under pressure

    But the pressure wouldnt be needed if he batted three or four, the other batters could work around him. It would help if we didn't have a spin bunny batting at three though in Hughes. Khawaja would be perfect at three and Warner could prosper at five/six. I still rate Hughes above Watson, and would have hughes opening so he can get into an innings/have security before the ashes

    1 cowan 2 Hughes 3 khawaja 4 Clarke 5 Warner 6 henriques 7 wade