Ashley Mallett
Former Australia offspinner

Warner's Achilles heel

The Australia opener has been found out by spin. How he copes against slow bowling will be crucial to his future

Ashley Mallett

January 28, 2012

Comments: 44 | Text size: A | A

David Warner drives aerially down the ground, Australia v India, 4th Test, Adelaide, 1st day, January 24, 2012
While Warner uses the pace of fast bowlers to dominate them, he has no strategy yet for dealing with spinners © Getty Images

Quality offspin is David Warner's Achilles heel. I do not remember, in the modern game, watching a batsman appear so confident against all forms of fast and medium-paced bowling only to wither and flop against an offspinner, like Warner did on a batsman's paradise late on day three of the Adelaide Test match.

India's Ravi Ashwin is no world-beater, but in half an hour of quality spin he reduced Warner to floundering like a panic-stricken man feverishly treading water in shark-infested waters. In the wake of Warner's amazing batting this summer, it was extraordinary to watch his footwork collapse as he stumbled and stuttered about trying to fathom Ashwin's flighted, turning deliveries.

Warner wasn't the only Australian batsman to struggle against an Indian team that has been battered physically and psychologically by Australia in a Test series as one-sided as Rafael Nadal up against Duncan Fletcher on centre court at Wimbledon. Opener Ed Cowan appears to be a poor man's Simon Katich, and will surely disappear from the Test stage once Shane Watson returns from injury. Shaun Marsh might have been "done" lbw, but the signs were obvious: He was never going to last. If Zaheer Khan didn't get him, Ashwin would have.

Michael Clarke's decision to bat again was okay, given that the sun had beaten relentlessly down on the backs of his tireless bowlers for much of the day and they deserved a rest. But Australia's batting also exposed their top order. That they have struggled against this pop-gun Indian attack, where only Zaheer resembles anything like a genuine Test match fast bowler, must concern the Test selectors. Thank heavens for the batting form of Clarke and Ricky Ponting, whose batting heroics have tended to paper over the cracks at the top of the order. When a side is winning, one tends to forget the failures of some because of the greatness of others. While Cowan and Marsh don't appear to have found the steel to cement their Test spots, Warner is a whole different kettle of fish. After he hit that wonderful hundred against New Zealand on a track doing a bit in Hobart and then the amazing 180 against India in Perth, we all thought we were witnessing the beginning of a Bradman-like career. Warner's breathtaking shots off the fast men, which he despatched back over the bowler's head and into the crowd, made us stand and cheer.

But, and this is telling, he did not face a specialist spin bowler in either Test. In Hobart, New Zealand were without the world-class Daniel Vettori, and Ashwin didn't play in Perth.

I always thought the jury was out on Warner, because he is very much a stand-and-deliver merchant. There seems little movement of his feet against pace; he either goes back and smashes the ball over midwicket or goes forward and belts it down the ground. Still, he has a fairly solid defence and he plays the horizontal bat strokes - the pull and the cut - very well. Yet all the time he is using the pace of the bowler to help boost the power of his strokeplay.

Even to the casual observer it would have been obvious that if pace didn't worry him, some other form of bowling might. One wonders why in this era of high-technical coaching and endless replays of video footage, someone in the opposition camp did not hit upon the obvious. Why, until the fourth Test of a lost rubber, didn't the Indians think of looking into how good Warner might be against top-flight spin?

It is offspin, the ball turning away from Warner, that makes him look vulnerable. Now Ashwin hasn't bowled consistently this summer, and he is no Erapalli Prasanna, not even in the same class as Harbhajan Singh, but his bowling around the wicket to Warner late on the third day in Adelaide has undoubtedly given bowlers heart. Fast bowlers the world over should be rejoicing, for they know that spinners will do the bulk of the work against Warner in Tests from now on. Graeme Swann will be licking his lips if Warner is still around for the Ashes in 2013.

Warner must realise that the best way to learn to play spin bowling is to get up the other end. That means taking singles, rotating the strike. As a spinner I always wanted to "work" on the same batsman, and I would rather be hit for a boundary than go for three singles in any one over

Admittedly, Ashwin bowled a couple of really good balls, but when Warner has to make the pace against a bowler who flights it and spins it, he is in real trouble. Against Prasanna, who spun the ball hard to make it curve and dip wickedly, Warner would be out in an over.

David Hookes was a left-hander and a rival to the great Adam Gilchrist as a striker of the ball against pace, but good spin bowling always brought Hookesy undone. In 1980 he toured Pakistan, scoring 12 runs in eight completed innings - not a great return for a specialist batsman, and he did confess that four of those runs actually were leg byes. Hookes' batting philosophy was about cracking boundaries, and he often did, against the fastest bowlers, including the hurricane West Indian pair of Michael Holding and Andy Roberts, speed merchants who made the bowlers Warner has faced this summer looked pedestrian. But he never did learn to cope against good spin bowling. He always looked to hit boundaries, and while he did so regularly against myriad fast bowlers, spinners dominated him and prevented him from having a stellar Test career.

Warner must realise, as Hookes did not, that the best way to learn to play spin bowling is to get up the other end. That means taking singles, rotating the strike. Batsmen who consistently failed to combat the spin of Shane Warne rue that they became bogged down at Warne's end - fatal, because eventually any batsman intent on defence would be defeated by a hard-spun Warne ball arriving in a dipping arc and rearing menacingly like a spitting cobra. As a spinner I always wanted to "work" on the same batsman, and I would rather be hit for a boundary than go for three singles in any one over.

There was a time when Matthew Hayden was a poor player of quality spin. Although a great a hitter of the quicks, he used to get bogged down against the spinners. He wouldn't take singles, thereby rotating the strike to upset the rhythm of the bowler.

He did eventually find a way out: the slog sweep. A big man with a reach like a sick dog, Hayden clubbed the ball in front or behind square leg. Once a batsman who struggled against Harbhajan's offspin, Hayden found the slog sweep a method to belt him unmercifully. Warner needs to find a way, and I believe he won't get away with clubbing against the spin, for the simple reason that he doesn't have a long reach, and might find himself short of the pitch of the ball and top-edging to backward square or deep square leg.

Taking singles is the way for Warner. The more the strike is rotated, the greater the pressure on the bowler. Any spinner gets frustrated by singles being scored off his bowling, and with the frustration come more loose deliveries - a greater ratio of potential "four" balls for the batsman.

Warner needs to learn this method of playing spin quickly, otherwise his star will burn out soon. The Australian selectors may have to talk Michael Clarke into batting No. 3, for Marsh is clearly out of his depth, and so too Usman Khawaja, both of whom were tried and have failed at that position. If Clarke bats - as he should now do - at three, and Watson returns to open, South Australia's Dan Christian fits nicely down the list as a batting allrounder, and the Australian team becomes better balanced.

Australia need Warner to knuckle down and learn to play the slow men. Given the manner is which he turned himself into a Test match batsman after his explosion onto the scene against South Africa in a T20 game at the MCG a couple of years back, Warner has the steel and resolve to find a way to succeed against the best spinners. Let's hope he does, for Australia needs all its men to be firing on all cylinders come the much-awaited Ashes series in England next year.

Ashley Mallett took 132 Tests wickets in 38 Tests for Australia. An author of over 25 books, he has written biographies of Clarrie Grimmett, Doug Walters, Jeff Thomson and Ian Chappell

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Posted by   on (January 30, 2012, 10:21 GMT)

I have a great regard for Malett, but feel that his reaction is a bit extreme in this case. latNow why do I say this? It is because I have watched a lot of the IPL and they have been played on the turning tracks in India and every team had a quality spinner on view. Warner made a lot of runs in India against all bowlers and that included people like Warne, Harbhajan and Vettori certainly. I agree with him in the sense that he needs to rotate the strike. He is a player in the Slater mould and possibly heading the Gilchrist way. However let us wait till he meets quality opposition before we write him off. The West Indies too has a couple of decent spinners and the tracks are slow. So if what mallett says is true, then we will get an indication of how things will unfold. Marsh is a great player of spin bowling but he is having the horrors now. He is a good prospect and there is no doubt about that. Whether he is completely sad against spin has to be seen yet. sridhar

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 19:58 GMT)

... was in test 1531, in India in 2001. Hayden scored 119. He went on to score 28*, 97,67,203,35. This is not struggling. Ponting struggled against Harbhajan in this series not Hayden. Thanks

Posted by BillyCC on (January 29, 2012, 17:31 GMT)

Warner will be like Sehwag, scoring inconsistent but match-winning runs for his side. Had his side rallied around him in Hobart, the test against NZ would have been won. And he single-handedly took away any Indian momentum in Perth scoring half the runs in an innings with an extremely quick strike rate.

Posted by playitstraight on (January 29, 2012, 17:07 GMT)

Warner may not be able to face spin, which is essential when going to the sub-continent, but the way he attacks pace is impressive. It looks effortless, although he pulls them off easily. Warner and Watson would make an explosive partnership if they opened, although Clarke would not do that. Cowan would open with Warner so there can be some stability too. Watson should come in at no.6 or no.7, and everyone can move a place up after dropping Marsh.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 11:53 GMT)

A good article, but I disagree with Ashley's comments about Khuwaja who was just beginning to deliver when the selectors dumped him. Remember, his half century went a long way to helping the Aussies square the series against Sth Africa. He was 38 and going strong against NZ at the Gabba when Ponting effectively ran him out. Maybe his best spot is not no.3 (at least not yet) but I feel he has a lot to offer the national side.

Posted by peeeeet on (January 29, 2012, 4:26 GMT)

Yes there may be an early weakness against spin, but the kid has only played 6 test matches. How can he be the finished article yet! And like someone else said here, you don't score those hundreds in Hobart and Perth unless you're very good. The Hobart hundred was fantastic given how everyone else failed, and Perth was just blistering. IMO I think he was in two minds about how to play in Adelaide. I think people were unrealistically expecting him to play the same way again and get another hundred. I remember when Gilly smashed his hundred against Eng in Perth, the next test he played a very scratchy innings and got out for a duck I think. He's a great prospect, and I think he looks like such a hard worker that he'll work out his problems over time as long as he has the support of the captain, team and public.

Posted by dsig3 on (January 29, 2012, 3:09 GMT)

Yeah, well I dont see any reason why he wont improve. If your only real weakness is against offspin then you are doing pretty good. I would be very happy if opposition teams bowl spin in the second over of every test. The ball was spinning and Ashwin is a good bowler. It will be fun to watch how he goes in the future. Dont jump the gun too early Mallet!

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 2:40 GMT)

I think Mallett is being very harsh on Ed Cowan & Usman Khawaja.

Warner will be fine if like Mallett says, he learns to rotate the strike against good spin bowling. Cowan should hold his spot and when Watson is fit, he can come into the team at no.3 in place of Marsh. Usman Khawaja will get another opportunity at the highest level, its just not going to be until Ponting has retired.

Posted by ygkd on (January 29, 2012, 1:53 GMT)

Mallett has it right about the need for singles against spin. Yesterday I watched Andrew Strauss sweep a four against Pakistan. No doubt the England captain was satisfied with the shot, but it was easy to conclude he was vulnerable because of that very satisfaction. Indeed, I said that it was then the exact time for Rehman (I think he was bowling) to pull out a cracker and knock Strauss over. It was an observation based on body language - nothing more than that. Yet it happened next ball. Instead of pushing forward and looking for a single, Strauss played back and was bamboozled. England capitulated to 72 all out. Their run rate was dismal. It wasn't boring play, plenty was happening, but England were playing into Pakistan's hands by not scoring enough singles and rotating the strike. Rabbit-in-the-spotlight against the spinning ball is not a good look for any batsman. Quite a good article from a bloke who can write, I thought.

Posted by BlueyCollar on (January 28, 2012, 21:29 GMT)

If opposition sides start opening their bowling with spin in an attempt to get Warner out he should respond with aggression, aggression and more aggression. 0 - 50 off 5 overs and a new ball bouncing off fences, roofs and concrete stands will soon change the bowling captains strategies.

Posted by oze13 on (January 28, 2012, 21:21 GMT)

Warner's got an angled bat like plenty of others in that Aussie top order. He's got a good eye, but will he score runs consistently against a moving ball. Time will tell!

Posted by Barnesy4444 on (January 28, 2012, 17:31 GMT)

He succumed to frustration at not scoring freely. He does need to score singles against spinners, it's maybe not a weakness but simply an aspect of test cricket that he wouldn't have learnt playing one dayers. He has the ability to work out this issue. Keep your eyes on Phil Hughes. He will be back scoring test centuries within 18 months. There's one who can play both fast and spin bowling.

Posted by AidanFX on (January 28, 2012, 16:27 GMT)

Nonsense - the guy just needs to tell him self to play his natural game. The tactic on the day sussed him out - but this guy hits spinners in the stands with ease in regular 20/20... whilst he cannot afford to bat stupid (the way Sehwag did through the series) he can with positive play quickly remove the captain sticking to the spinner with the new ball. Warner has a technique and good footwork to handle spin.

Posted by TheBengalTiger on (January 28, 2012, 15:46 GMT)

A very very avergae cricketer. Will go the same way as Phil Hughes

Posted by Dr.Vindaloo on (January 28, 2012, 15:33 GMT)

Nice to have some real perspective on Warner after all the ridiculous hype. He's a one-dimensional player, albeit an entertaining one.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 14:29 GMT)

Warner should get plenty of opportunity to work on facing spin in the West Indies. we have Bishoo who got quite a few wickets vs better players of spin than the Australians have in their team. Benn & Narine might even get a chance as well

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 14:15 GMT)

To open the Indian bowling with Ashwin was by itself surprising to many . But no surprises since captain Sehwag knew the weaknesses of Warner because of his association with Delhi in IPL T20 .

Posted by Percy_Fender on (January 28, 2012, 13:40 GMT)

People had been comparing Warner with Adam Gilchrist. The nearest opening batsman who could almost be talked of in the same breath as Adam was Slater. They were good against any kind of bowling when they were on song. David Warner is good against wayword fast bowling when it is more a case of hit and miss.He is fearless of course.But I would have liked him to play against Magrath,Ambrose and Marshall as he did against Ishant and Yadav.Even Zaheer is not what he was in 2007.Ashwin started as an opening batsman and decided to become a spin bowler only because he failed to score in his first ten matches. He has actually come a long way from where he started.I agree with Ashley Mallett that he is no world beater as yet. But considering that he has evolved as much as he has done, he should be a useful bowler even if he does'nt ever get into Erapalli Prasanna's shoes who was of course the greatest off spinnerr I have seen in my 60 years of watching cricket .No doosras or teesras for him.

Posted by enigma77543 on (January 28, 2012, 13:21 GMT)

@zenboomrang, "He spends every year in India playing IPL against top spinners" Playing spinners in IPL is VERY different from playing them in Tests or FC matches, in T20s bowlers are reluctant to flight the ball, they push it thru & usually there no catchers around the bat, in T20s you can take more chances since the bowlers are under pressure to contain & the "price" of throwing your wicket is smaller than in Tests, it's a completely different atmosphere & mental-setup. On a different note, Warner's flashy batting in general as an opener, it may work for a while but consistency could be an issue. Look at Sehwag, even he got 100s in SA, Eng, NZ & Aus earlier but sooner or later you get found out, he's only lasted for so long because he plays a hige % of his matches in conditions that don't offer much help to pacers (Home pitches + other sub-con teams) but Warner won't have that luxury so it remains to be seen how he goes.

Posted by hhillbumper on (January 28, 2012, 13:17 GMT)

To be fair if he is that poor against spin bowling does he have a South African relative so that England can play him the third test?

Posted by SkillNotResult on (January 28, 2012, 13:00 GMT)

Not sure it is appropriate to dissect a Warner innings with science. The guy's footwork is unorthodox, if present at all. His cover-drive has his front foot un-moved, and he leads with his back leg. It's this- and other technical flaws- that will ensure that Warner will be inconsistent at test level.

Posted by TropicPleasure on (January 28, 2012, 12:15 GMT)

Warner is a T20 batsman who got on the side to bat like a T20 batsman. His test career will most definitely be short-lived as he will fail against good bowling, spin or not

Posted by HatsforBats on (January 28, 2012, 10:45 GMT)

Not entirely convinced of that theory; Warner doesn't look completely natural when he's not scoring easily but I'm not sure it's a particular weakness against spin. Perth was spectacular, and Hobart was special in that he played judiciously, but he still could have been out multiple times from aggressive strokes. The nature of the beast suggests Warner will follow feast with famine, the selectors know the risk and reward he offers. He's still only 25, he's got plenty of time to work on any weaknesses; personally I'd like to see him learn how to, not just defend but, play with a defensive mindset when rapid scoring isn't paramount.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 10:35 GMT)

@sweetspot, Ashwin might be an "exciting new bowler" and a world-beater in the making but he wasn't a world-beater in this series. If he'd steamrolled other Australian batsmen who were better players of spin, then Ashley Mallett wouldn't have nearly as much reason to criticise Warner for getting out to him.

However, Warner did look very vulnerable to him and I agree that Warner still needs to prove himself against quality spin in Test conditions. He might never be a Boycott-style opener, but such a glaring weakness is unacceptable in a Test opener.

Posted by smudgeon on (January 28, 2012, 10:32 GMT)

Geez Ashley, a bit harsh. Cown is a poor man's Katich? No worse than some of the regular commentors here who howl for blood if a debutant doesn't score a ton or take a five-for! To me, Ed looks like the goods. Solid, likes to blunt the new ball, able to attack when conditions are good, and knows his game well. 2 fifties in 6 innings hardly constitues failure - if he fails every innings in the West Indies, that'll be a bit more telling. Apart from a few other unneccesarily harsh comments (regarding Usman's "failure", in particular), I think Ashley's about right about Warner & offspin. Still, he's got some time to work on this before and during the Windies tour (Samuels isn't in the same league as Ashwin, even), and given his efforts and determination over the past 2 years to become a test quality player, I wouldn't be surprised at all if he's a lot more confident against offies come next summer. And let's face it - CA don't want to see him fail, he's their biggest star with the kids!

Posted by Governor on (January 28, 2012, 8:52 GMT)

Ashley Mallet does have a valid point about David Warner's ability to improve his ability to play against spin bowling. If you recall, Ricky Ponting and David Boon struggled against good quality spin bowling during the early stages of their careers. With the Australian side touring the sub continent on a regular basis, David Warner has ample opportuities to improve his approach against good quality spin bowling. In Hookesy's memoirs, he mentioned the point that he wished he had the chance to tour India and Pakistan more often. He wanted to learn how to play against good spin bowling. You don't get the chance to improve your skills against spin bowling unless you become exposed to them.

Posted by boehj on (January 28, 2012, 7:41 GMT)

'If he's there in 2013'?! Mate, come off it. He's the biggest raw batting talent we've had since Hayden came along. Of course he'll be there in 2013 and of course he has to work out his ideas against spin. But you don't bat like he did in Hobart or Perth unless you are seriously good.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 7:38 GMT)

I think Hussey would be a beetr player than Clarke at no. 3 or we can move punter up the order and let Khawaja in at 4

Posted by PROTEAFAN on (January 28, 2012, 7:34 GMT)

Before the Ashes, Australia have the small matter of a South African touring party to contend with. I am keen to see how Dave Warner fares against one Mr. Dale Steyn in the test matches. Then we will find out if he really is that good against quality fast bowling - because India certainly didn't provide much of that.

Posted by popcorn on (January 28, 2012, 6:40 GMT)

Now that the Sheffield Shield 4 day games will begin in full flow, the 5 of them should battle for the Top Three places to get onto the plane to the West Indies .Namely - Warner, Cowan, Khawaja, Watson, Shaun Marsh.

Posted by landl47 on (January 28, 2012, 6:37 GMT)

Don't forget, Warner failed in 5 out of his 6 innings in this series and most of the time he wasn't in long enough to face spin. His problem is that in short format games he doesn't have many close catchers to deal with so his edges fly way harmlessly. In tests they're caught. If he gets going, as he has twice in his 10 test innings, he looks great. The question is whether Australia will think his great innings (and his centuries have been great) are enough to compensate for his failures- or alternatively, whether he can tighten his technique enough to be more consistent. It's just the beginning of his career, so we'll have to wait and see.

Posted by Sushrut-Cricketcrazy on (January 28, 2012, 6:28 GMT)

Ashley Mallett has been going from one extreme to another. In one article he hailed Nathan Lyon as the next best thing to happen to world cricket and in the next article he was wondering where Lyon would get his next wicket from. Typical comments from a cricketer from yesteryears who has lost touch with the modern day game. When Warner scores in the next match he will ba hailed as a "world beater", whatever the definition of "world beater"is for Mallett.

Posted by popcorn on (January 28, 2012, 6:23 GMT)

The Top Three is worrisome.It CANOT be FEAST or FAMINE. Warner scored two centuries - one against New Zealand,one against India.To expect he will play defensive for long, is dreaming. He has moulded himself along Sehwag and T20 lines.But spinners have found him out, his impatience is glaring. A good opening partnership foundation is VITAL to the Team morale and a huge score.We experimented with Phil Hughes. Failed. Dave Warner and Ed Cowan will need an extended run in the West Indies. If they combine well there, stick to them.If not,get Shane Watson back as one of the openers.Or let Usman Khawaja open. He has Solid technique.Oh for a Hayden - Langer,Taylor - Slater,Simpson - Lawry opening pair!And for a Ponting who made the Number 3 position his own.Now that Ponting has scored well a Number 4, we need a good solid bat at Number 3. I would say put Shane Watson at Number 3.How long do you wait till till you tell non-performers like Shaun Marsh to go back to Shield games?

Posted by Looch on (January 28, 2012, 5:59 GMT)

Have to agree with "Rowdy". David Warner given us a couple of spectacular innings this summer but I can't shake the feeling that he does not have the technique to be consistantly successful in test matches. In places like England (particularly at the moment with their fine selection of swing and seam bowlers) and New Zealand where the ball will swing and seam more, he will have trouble putting scores together. Of course, I would love to proven wrong!

Posted by zenboomerang on (January 28, 2012, 5:41 GMT)

@Ashley Mallett... What a pile of rubbish - 1 innings & he is hopeless against spin... He spends every year in India playing IPL against top spinners... Then you want Watson to open while being the worst player of spin in the team - illogical... Watson 2 centuries in 58 innings doesn't make him an opener - that & an average below 40 hardy makes him a no.6 & more likely no.7 if Wade or Neville were the keeper... As long as we keep Hussey, he may have to move to no.3/4 as he was a SS opener during his long career - don't think Clarke will suit at no.3, failed at no.4 but flourishes at no.5...

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 5:27 GMT)

I have to disagree with Mallett, I think this is a very simplistic look at Warner. The idea isn't even a new one to people who've been watching his career closely - Johan Botha brought himself on to open on the T20 in the forgotten match AFTER his famous 87 and got him out in a wicket maiden. After that, the Windies tried the same thing in a later series, opening with Deonarine and Benn if memory serves. One or two quiet overs were bowled, and then the two were mercilessly caned and no Windies bowlers could recover the innings. I think Taylor may even have brought Vettori on fairly early in the innings preceding Hobart. I think the issue is mental. He has little difficulty dispatching spin in T20 but is concerned of being out caught in a test match, so tends not to attack - this makes him more reckless against other bowling. He is too conscious of the strike and scoring quickly. If he can find a better defensive mindset he may be one of the great openers.

Posted by achurc on (January 28, 2012, 5:18 GMT)

without clarke,ponting,hussey all the 4 matches would have been low scoring games(even they would have won)

Posted by sweetspot on (January 28, 2012, 5:01 GMT)

Seriously, has the author had enough time to judge the "class" of Ashwin? We certainly see more promise in him than Harbhajan Singh at the moment. How many world beaters are obviously world beaters before playing even ten Tests? No need to be so harsh on an exciting new bowler.

Posted by Simoc on (January 28, 2012, 4:26 GMT)

Good article again from Ashley. I to hope Clarke goes to 3 but I suspect Watson will slot in there. Warner should be smart enough to learn to play good spin. Two of the best at it are Clarke and Ponting so copy them, use your feet to get to the pitch or hit a few out of the park. That will soon change the tactic.

Posted by Chris_Howard on (January 28, 2012, 4:21 GMT)

Interesting, Ashley. It's surprising that Warner hasn't already worked out how to play spin, as he is from T20 and spin is now a very common opening tactic. It would be interesting to analyse his T20 records and see how he has performed against spin there.

Posted by Erebus26 on (January 28, 2012, 4:13 GMT)

A good article but a little harsh too. Warner has been fast tracked into the test side after playing a lot of limited overs cricket so in a sense he's still finding his way in the longer game. I'm sure he will adapt better to finger spin bowling as he gains more experience, especially outside Australia. Another thing, although good against pace bowling generally I've always thought Warner has a weakness against a good short pitched bowling. As for the other top order batsman - Cowan looks to have the temperament but doesn't seem to have the technique whilst Marsh's demise has been the biggest surprise. A string of low scores in this series will mean that he will have to go back to domestic cricket and work on his game.

Posted by   on (January 28, 2012, 4:04 GMT)

I think the key reason for the failure of the top 3 has been that they are all left-handers facing Zaheer and Ashwin. Offies would love bowling to lefties and Zaheer gets the ball to move both ways against them. As we saw, Zaheer's SR against right-handers was much lesser. If we had a couple of average right-handers in the side like Watson or Ferguson, I'm sure the Aussie batting would have looked much better. Give Warner & Cowan another series so we see how they do w/o Zaheer bowling and fire Marsh.

Posted by yuio3456 on (January 28, 2012, 3:54 GMT)

wel written article. warner certainly has problems against spin, and only he can work on it in the nets. if he can practise batting to lyon often i believe he can overcome this problem

Posted by KirtanJ on (January 28, 2012, 3:42 GMT)

I have to completely agree, Ashley. Warner seemed to really struggle with the ball moving away from him, whether that be through spin or Zaheer's away swingers.

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