Warner backed to ditch Asian blues

11 August 2017

Warner's average as an opener in Asia (30.38) is half what it is at home (60.11) // Getty

Darren Lehmann tipping Australia opener to improve on subcontinent record in Bangladesh

Coach Darren Lehmann has backed opener David Warner to turn around his indifferent form on Asian pitches and play a pivotal role in the two-Test Qantas Tour of Bangladesh that begins later this month.

Warner, the national vice-captain and reigning Allan Border Medallist, has been a dominant Test match performer on home soil where he averages 60.11 per innings against the new ball, the highest by any player to have worn the Baggy Green Cap as a regular Test opener in Australia.

However, his average is reduced to 37.40 when opening the innings outside Australia and is barely half his at-home return (30.68) from his 25 innings as a Test opener in Asia, where he has posted one century and five scores of 50 or more.

During Australia's most recent Asian sojourn – the four-Test tour to India earlier this year which the home team won 2-1 – Warner's top score was 56 in the first innings of the series-deciding final Test at Dharamsala.

Smith, Warner fifties lead Australia's day one push

"I think he's realised what he can and can't do," Lehmann told cricket.com.au from Darwin where Australia's 14-man squad for the Bangladesh series has gathered for a week-long training camp.

"I'm pretty confident that he's going to turn his form around on the subcontinent.

"He looks good from what I've seen of him so far, and he got starts in India (earlier this year) without going on.

"If he goes on, then we'll have a really good series in Bangladesh.

"So for him, and for the team, we need him to make big runs as he normally does (in Australia)."


Home and Away: David Warner

In Australia
Inns: 58 | Runs: 3246 | HS: 253 | Ave: 60.11 

Overseas
Inns: 60 | Runs: 2169 | HS: 145 | Ave: 37.40

In Asia
Inns: 25 | Runs: 767 | HS 133 | Ave 30.38 


Prior to the landmark India series this year, Lehmann and Test captain Steve Smith stressed that posting hefty first innings' totals represented the key to Australia redressing their repeated failures in Asia where they had won a solitary Test during the preceding decade.

As it transpired, Smith's team reached the oft-touted first innings benchmark of 450 just once (in the drawn third Test at Ranchi) but their bowlers were able to keep India below that same threshold on all-but one occasion – also on the placid pitch at Ranchi.

However, the recent history of Test matches in Bangladesh, where pitches are traditionally even lower and slower than those produced in India of late, underscores Lehmann's ongoing view that Australia's batters must "bat big" if they are to overcome the game's ninth-ranked Test outfit.

Quick Single: Injury scare rocks Bangladesh camp

The last visiting team to win a Test series in Bangladesh was Pakistan in 2015, a victory built largely on their huge first innings totals of 628 and 8(dec)-557 in the two Tests they played.

When India toured for a one-off (drawn) Test later that year they scored 6(dec)-462 in their first innings at Fatullah where the Australians will play a two-day pre-Test practice match on August 22-23.

However, when England toured Bangladesh last year they failed to reach 300 in any of their four completed innings and posted a narrow 22-run win in the opening game at Chittagong (site of Australia's second Test) before falling to an historic 108-run defeat in Dhaka where Smith's team will play the opening Test starting August 27.

Masterful Mehedi storms into record books

"We saw that in India, so the key is instead of making 350 you have to make 450-plus and bat a long time.

Quick Single: Gilly recalls greatest century

"First innings runs are going to be paramount as per normal, and it's going to be the batters job to get us there."

Lehmann also identified a change in tempo by the batting group as the most influential change in Australia's improved showing in India, following their disastrous 0-3 defeat at the hands of an inexperienced Sri Lanka Test team a year ago.

That was especially evident in Smith's approach, with the captain peeling off three centuries in four Tests against India.

Epic Smith notches third century of series

All of those batters, who are part of Australia's squad for Bangladesh, displayed a cautious and conservative approach to scoring at stages of their respective innings.

Crucially, they rarely attempted to force the pace of the game, a measure that had proved so detrimental in Sri Lanka and on other previously unproductive tours to Asia in years past.

Maxwell celebrates emotional Test century

"They played at the speed the game needed to be played at, whether it was slow or fast, or taking the game on at the right times and playing a different sort of game to what we would normally play on the subcontinent.

"From my point of view, the way they adapted and changed to conditions – and each wicket during that India series was different – that was a really great.

"But while that was a competitive series and a great series to watch and be part of, at the end of the day we fell short and we've got to get better in a few little key areas when we get to Bangladesh."

Australia in Bangladesh 2017

Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Ashton Agar, Jackson Bird, Hilton Cartwright, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Renshaw, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade.

Bangladesh squad (preliminary): Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Sabbir Rahman, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Mahmudullah Riyad, Liton Kumar Das, Mominul Haque, Mehedi Hasan, Taijul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed, Subhashish Roy, Kamrul Islam Rabbi, Rubel Hossain, Nurul Hasan, Sanjamul Islam, Mosaddek Hossain Saikat, Mohammad Saifuddin, Anamul Haque, Abul Hasan Raju, Al Amin Hossain, Nasir Hossain, Muktar Ali, Tanbir Haider, Saqlain Sajib, Shafiul Islam.


11-17 August Australia pre-tour training camp, Darwin


18 August Australia arrive


22-23 August Tour match, TBC


27-31 August First Test, Dhaka


4-8 September Second Test, Chittagong




About the Writer

 @ARamseyCricket
@ARamseyCricket

Andrew Ramsey is the senior writer for cricket.com.au. He previously wrote for the Guardian, The Australian, The Times, The Telegraph, The Hindu and Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack and the author of The Wrong Line.