Warner’s woes now on par with Tubby Taylor’s famous form slump as golden duck extends dreadful drought

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David Warner copped a brute of a delivery first up from Kagiso Rabada, gone for a golden duck off the first ball of the Australian innings.

It can happen to any Test opener, particularly on a Gabba greentop against a world-class fast bowler.

Warner was surprised by the bounce as it cannoned towards his throat, jumping in the air and lifting his bottom hand off the bat as he tried to fend it away and it ballooned above the short leg fielder.

As is often the case when you’re out of form, the fielder took a screamer with Khaya Zondo timing his leap to perfection to snare a one-handed reflex classic and send Warner on his way for just the second golden duck of his career. 

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His form slump is reviving memories of another once-prolific NSW left-handed opener who couldn’t take a trick over an 18-month horror stretch.

(Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

Remember when Mark Taylor went through the worst trough of his career? The Australian captain endured 23 innings across 13 Tests without a century, averaging just 25.54.

His struggles were an ongoing national story with even Prime Minister John Howard weighing into the selection debate at the time.

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He saved his skin in the first Test of the 1997 Ashes tour with a century and went on to play another  couple of years before retiring, racking up a famous triple century in the process.

Well, Warner’s current slump is in some ways worse. 

He has now gone 15 Tests and 26 innings since cracking triple figures with a slightly better average (an even 27) than Taylor’s during his drought. 

The national selectors, coach, captain and teammates have been vocal in their support for Warner in recent weeks but it’s surely now beyond debate that the end is nigh for the 36-year-old. 

He’s surely made it easy for the selectors, gun shy to pull the trigger on Warner’s career. There will be little to no backlash when they tap him on the shoulder.

And it has to now be a matter of when, not if, they tell him that his time is up. 

Unless he sees the writing on the wall and calls time on his career, but there has been nothing to suggest from his recent public statements that he is self-aware enough to know there should be no swansong tours to India and England.

If he was not due to play his 100th Test next week at the MCG you would think the selectors would make the call after this match in Brisbane. 

Martin McCague, England, takes a wicket against Australia (Photo by Graham Chadwick/EMPICS via Getty Images)

(Photo by Graham Chadwick/EMPICS via Getty Images)

Warner has earned the right to become the 14th Australian to wear the baggy green cap on a hundred occasions even despite his recent woes. 

He could bow out at his home ground, the SCG, in the third Test but unless he somehow emphatically rediscovers his magic in one of his next three digs, the selectors have to step in.

Ian Healy wanted to play one last Test at the Gabba in 1999 against Pakistan after he was told it was time for him to hand over the keeping duties to Adam Gilchrist.

The selectors rightly didn’t let sentiment get in the way of what was right for the team.

Gilchrist was booed by some sections of the Brisbane supporters as he walked out to bat in his first Test innings. 

And 88 deliveries later, Gilchrist was cheered off the ground by all in attendance after a blistering 81 to launch the greatest wicketkeeper career in Test history.

The sideshow about Warner appealing his leadership ban and then retracting the request has been a distraction but whatever the reason for his struggles, the simple fact of the matter is he is not producing and not only is he hurting the team’s chances of winning, he’s holding back his successor.

Whether the selectors opt for Matt Renshaw, Marcus Harris or Cameron Bancroft (of all people in the Sandpapergate rematch series), they should be at least given the Sydney match to get reacquainted with Test cricket before the all-important series against India, a likely World Test Championship final in June and the Ashes tour against the BazBall-revived English side.

Even if Warner can conjure up a drought-breaking century in the Gabba second innings like Taylor’s famous 129 in Birmingham, it should not mean he gets to extend his Test career beyond the home summer. 

All that remains to be seen now is whether he will jump before he is pushed.

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