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David Warner has described Australia's defeat at Chester-le-Street as "gutting" given their strong position at tea on the fourth day and said the batsmen needed to look to Chris Rogers for an example of how to work in challenging conditions. Warner and Rogers put on 109 for the opening partnership in Australia's chase of 299 but once that stand was broken, the wickets all tumbled for 115 runs.
Warner played a mature innings of 71, mixing patience with considered stroke-making, but when he was caught behind off Tim Bresnan to leave the score at 168 for 3, the Australians collapsed. Warner said the feeling in the dressing room was one of disbelief as Stuart Broad ran through the batting line-up and a target that had looked gettable suddenly began to appear out of reach for the Australians.
"It was gutting," Warner said. "I went to have a shower. It took me half an hour to get over my dismissal. When I came out we had lost three quick wickets. I still can't believe it happened so fast and it finished [on Monday]. I just thought if we hung in there and got through that tough period of Broad's spell we could have come back and finished it off by lunchtime [Tuesday], but we lost. It's our fault, the batters.
"We were just talking about it just before, what goes through our minds when we walk out there and how rowdy the crowd was. It does help having the home [crowd] behind you and you know you've just got to try to get through that tough spell. As an opener I feel the hardest part for me is getting myself in and then I can relax with the crowd environment.
"But I know the feeling when the guys come in. When I first came back and I got booed walking out at Manchester I felt real nervy. I felt real small. I felt that everything was against me. And I can just imagine how some of the guys felt yesterday coming in when we lost those quick wickets. But at the end of the day we did get knocked over and it was quite disappointing."
The coach Darren Lehmann spoke after the match of his disappointment at the fact that too many of the batsmen had failed to play straight in conditions that demanded such discipline. Warner said the Australian batsmen who take a more aggressive approach could take note of the way Rogers played during his first-innings hundred, when he left outside off and made the bowlers come to him, and waited for the bad balls to score from.
"Especially for the guys who like to play their shots and like to feel bat on ball, we need to know how to rein it in and then we know we're going to get those bad balls," Warner said. "Perfect example is looking at Ian Bell, anything we've bowled to him straight at the stumps he's defended back to the bowler and probably 80% of the runs he's scored in this series have been through cover and point.
"He's waiting and being patient. It's exactly what Bucky [Rogers] was doing in the first innings, he waited for that ball and he knows his game so well that anything in that zone he's blocking and any width he's playing. That's how simple they've kept it."
In the second innings, Warner and Rogers provided Australia with their first century opening stand in an Ashes Test since Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer put on 185 at The Oval in 2005 and it was an encouraging sign for the latest of several opening combinations Australia have used in the past couple of years. Warner said opening with Rogers was similar to working with Ed Cowan.
"I said it to Bucky at the drinks break, I said I enjoy batting with you because you don't say anything. When you're out there he's got such a structured game plan and he knows his game so well, he's scored 20,000 first class runs, he's just peeled off a hundred in the first innings. He's just so basic how he goes about his game. And when we're out there and we're chasing, he just kept on saying to me, keep it simple, keep it simple and back your game plan.
"He's very similar to Ed. They're both smart people, they both go about their business how they do and I find opening with both of them has probably helped my game as well because I do like to get involved in a bit of a conversation when we're out there about things that are not anything to do with cricket, just to get your mind off it. But those guys are so disciplined with what they do and it keeps my mind at ease as well."
Warner enjoyed being back at the top of the order in Chester-le-Street instead of playing at No.6, where he felt more vulnerable to Graeme Swann early in his innings. He said it was much easier handling Swann after settling down against the new ball.
"When you're opening the batting it does take you probably 10 balls to get your feet moving properly," he said. "They're not going to move straight away. And then when you're coming in at No.6 and you're facing Swann as a left-hander it is hard to get your feet moving and you're probably more inclined to sit on the crease.
"And that's generally what he wants you to do because he's trying to get you out lbw, from a left-hander's point of view. I find it actually easier to play him if I'm opening because I can settle in, I've got my rhythm and I can use my feet. Coming in at No.6 was a bit different to face him, I was caught on the crease and it turned out he got me out like that."