While he has been in good touch in the nets, and shown on social media he has recovered enough to join in a family dance in his hotel room, coach-selector Justin Langer said Warner still had work to do before he would be passed fit for the third Test – to be staged in either in Melbourne or Sydney – beginning January 7.
“As we’ve said for the last few weeks, there’s no one more professional and he’s doing everything possible. We saw him bat the day before the game,” Langer said on Channel Seven.
“In terms of his batting, he’s flying. It’s just he’s still having some trouble with his groin, and we know how dynamic he is – his running between the wickets, the way he’s moving all the time. So he’s getting closer and we’re hopeful that he will come good.
“He’s certainly hopeful he’s going to come good, but time will tell. We still have a few more days ’till the next Test match. Fingers crossed he’s ready to go for that third Test match.”
Burns and Wade face what shapes as a bat-off in the second innings in Melbourne although Wade’s fitness will also have to be monitored after he hurt his ankle while diving to save a boundary on Boxing Day. He was shifted into the slips on Sunday, away from his customary position at mid-off where he had been the primary ball-shiner.
Uncapped Victorian Will Pucovski, who had been in line to join either Warner or Burns at the top of the order before he was concussed while batting for Australia A, will continue to be assessed. He remains officially a part of the squad but did not join in training ahead of this Test.
Warner, vying with Steve Smith to become only the seventh Australian to 8000 Test runs, has the ability to either spark an uprising or defend and build, something that Langer has implored his team to do better after it was rolled for 195 on Saturday. The tourists’ plans, that being bowling accurately at the stumps, thereby seeking edges or catches around the corner, have forced the home team into a rethink on how best to build a partnership.
“We’re not going to win – we’re not going to set up games as well as we could – [without improving this]. If you look at our partnerships in the first Test match, in the first innings and then [on Saturday], you know, we have to get a lot better at that,” Langer said.
“I think we had one 50 partnership in the first Test and we had an 86-run partnership [on Saturday]. 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. And we weren’t able to do that. So for me, partnerships as much as anything.”