Warner needs runs to save Test career, Head’s on fire, Gabba pitch more grass than class

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If David Warner still wants to get on the tours to India and England before retiring, he simply has to score runs in the next two Tests. 

Runs are at a premium for Warner and he needs to turn his form around to avoid the dreaded tap on the shoulder from selectors.

He was out for three in what was the second and final day of the Test at the Gabba and mind you, he wasn’t the only batter to be brought undone by the pitch.

He’s got to get runs or the selectors will look elsewhere. Whether he makes the call himself, I’m not sure but it’s now at a stage where he has to produce with the bat to show he is worth taking to India, where he only averages 24, and England, where he’s been only slightly better at 26 from his 13 Tests.

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It was tough going for all batters in Brisbane apart from Travis Head’s magnificent 92.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 18: David Warner of Australia is seen walking from the field after losing his wicket to Kagiso Rabada of South Africa during day two of the First Test match between Australia and South Africa at The Gabba on December 18, 2022 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Hyde – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

I likened him to Adam Gilchrist in my column yesterday and if the Aussies didn’t have his run-a-ball innings, the result could have been reversed with the Proteas’ pacemen leading them to victory in the series opener. 

He’s a unique player and his runs in the first innings were worth their weight in gold. Not only has he stamped his class on that No.5 spot, he’s enhancing his reputation with every knock.

He played smart and he’s a much-improved player the second time round in his Test career and developing into a real trump card for Australia.

Head’s gone to another level. Just like last summer in the Ashes when he peeled off a couple of match-winning hundreds, he’s getting runs when the times are tough. 

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Whatever the opposite of a flat-track bully is, that’s what he’s become. A tough-pitch maestro? A tricky-wicket magician? If you’ve got a better term than that for me, post it in the comments below.

And his form on seaming wickets is a good sign for the future, especially the Ashes tour next year where England’s pitches will seam around a bit. They generally bowl well to the left-handers and he’ll get tested but he can go into that series with a lof of confidence based on knocks like this one.

This pitch was not up to Test standard, there’s no doubt about that. 

I like to see the poor old bowlers get a helping hand from the curators every now and then but you want a surface that’s going to have Tests at least going into the fourth day. 

Travis Head of Australia bats.

Travis Head of Australia bats. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

We all knew from day one that this was never going to be a five-day Test because there was 10mm of grass on the wicket and it’s a good thing Pat Cummins won the toss and elected to bowl first. 

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Perth was grassy but it was a little bit too flat and not as hard underneath. The Gabba looked like it was quicker and bouncier so the batters couldn’t adjust their shots. 

You want a pitch where everyone has a chance to do well from the batters to the quicks to the spinners. This one was way too much in favour of the seamers. 

The MCG pitch has been juiced up a bit the past few years as well so that one could be a tough one for the batters as well. It will still have assistance for the bowlers but hopefully the G provides better options for both bat and ball than the Gabba pitch.

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