Manchester: Australia captain Pat Cummins expects David Warner will play in the fourth Test at Old Trafford as the visitors are aiming for a victory that would secure the Ashes and prevent the series from going to a decider.
Warner has made 141 runs from six hits this Ashes series and his place at the top of Australia’s batting order has come under scrutiny after his twin failures in Headingley Test, falling victim to Ashes nemesis Stuart Broad in both innings for 4 and 1.
“I think Warner has been going really well. I thought at Lord’s, he was really impressive. Last week, like many of us, he probably didn’t contribute as much as he would have liked with the bat,” Cummins said.
“He’s been out there over the last couple of days putting in a lot of work, but I think this tour he has shown a lot of good signs and hasn’t quite kicked on to make that big score. Some of those innings he’s played under really tough circumstances has made it easy for (Steven) Smith to come in and score runs, or the like,” Cummins was quoted by ESPNCricinfo.
“We’ll chat about it (opening combinations) but I imagine it will stay the same,” he added.
While David Warner’s position appears secure, Australia’s dilemma ahead of the fourth Test may revolve around the decision to bring back all-rounder Cameron Green following Mitch Marsh’s brilliant century at Headingley, or drop spinner Todd Murphy and play both all-rounders.
Green missed the Headingley Test due to a side strain, leading to Mitchell Marsh stepping in and impressing with a remarkable run-a-ball 118 in the first innings.
If Green is set to make a comeback for the fourth Test, it could result in the tough decision of potentially benching Todd Murphy to accommodate him.
In the absence of the injured Nathan Lyon during the third Test, off-spinner Murphy was brought in but had limited opportunities, bowling only 9.3 overs and only two in the second innings when England ran down a modest target of 251 to win by three wickets and keep the series alive.
If the off-spinner is excluded from the fourth Test, Australia might opt for an all-pace attack.
“Every situation is different. We’ve played games with one quick; we’ve played some games with heaps of quicks. It’s all really conditions based. As I said last week about Toddy, I would have loved to bowl him a bit more but there wasn’t a heap of overs in the game, the ball seemed to swing and seam a little bit, so that’s certainly something to weigh up this week,” Cummins said.
Australia is one victory away from winning their first Ashes series on English soil since 2001, and Cummins’ men will be desperate to get the job done in Manchester.