David Warner remains doubtful for third Test against India


The opener is batting without problems but it his overall mobility that remains an issue after the groin injury

David Warner is still struggling to regain his former dynamism after a groin injury, meaning he is a doubtful starter for the third Test of the series against India even as Australia feel his absence ever more keenly at the top of the batting order.

Australia’s coach Justin Langer revealed on Sunday that Warner was now batting comfortably in the nets as part of the hosts’ preparation for the next match, but remained affected in terms of running mobility by the after effects of the groin tear suffered during the second ODI against India at the SCG back in November.

Urgency has been added to the need for Warner’s recovery by Australia’s failure to gain a first innings foothold in either of the first two Tests, meaning they are leaning heavily on their vaunted bowling attack to keep the home side ahead of India.

“There’s no-one more professional and he’s doing everything possible,” Langer told Ricky Ponting during a lunchtime interview on Seven. “We saw him bat the day before the game, he’s batting again this afternoon at the MCG, so in terms of his batting he’s flying, it’s just trying to … he’s still having some trouble with his groin and we know how dynamic he is.

“His running between the wickets, his movements all the time, so he’s getting closer and we’re hopeful he will come good, he’s certainly hopeful he’ll come good, but time will tell. We’ve still got a few more days to the next Test match.”

It was Warner’s union with Joe Burns last season that gave the Australians several key platforms against Pakistan and New Zealand, and in his absence they are yet to register a century stand against India, coming closest in an 86-run union between Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head on Boxing Day.

But even that stand was a source of frustration for Langer, underlining how when two batsmen are set in challenging conditions, it is critical for them to go on to partnerships worth 150 or more.

“A bit like the first Test, just our partnerships,” Langer said when asked what he had been disappointed by. “We’re not going to set up games as well as we could – if you look at our partnerships in the first Test match in the first innings and then yesterday, we have to get a lot better at that.

“We had one 50-partnership in the first Test and we had an 86-run partnership yesterday, and you’ve also, when you have an 86-run partnership, you’ve got to turn that into 150, because you’re set and to set up the game. So we weren’t able to do that and to me, partnerships as much as anything.”

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

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