Warner short of runs, but not belief

Opener says recent history gives him confidence that he can end his run drought

For an Australia outfit that knew they needed to exceed the sum of their individual parts if success was to be found in India, pretty much all has clicked into place thus far.

Five of the top six batters have posted at least one half century in the three Tests to date, and each of the four incumbent specialist bowlers have claimed a bag of four or more wickets in an innings along the same journey.

But there remains one crucial part of the jigsaw that has stubbornly refused to snap into position, and vice-captain David Warner believes his lean trot with the bat is due to be remedied in the decisive fourth and final Test that starts in Dharamsala on Saturday.

The opener’s 131 runs at 21.83 (with a series high of 38) is second only to India captain Virat Kohli’s return (46 runs at 9.20) as the greatest disparity between expected performance and eventual output.

Of broader concern is the continuation of a trend that has shown Warner to dominate rival bowling attacks in Tests played on familiar home tracks in Australia, where he averages almost 60 and has plundered 14 of his career tally of 18 Test centuries.

But has found it increasingly difficult to replicate that form away from home, where his average drops to less than 37 and he has not posted a ton abroad since his 133 against Pakistan at Dubai in October 2014.

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Which is 16 offshore Tests ago.

The 30-year-old’s rationale for that discrepancy is as honest and uncomplicated as his famously bullish approach to batting.

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"Everyone in world cricket, greats and legends of the game have had stints overseas or at home where they’ve had some form slumps, and that’s just the game of cricket," Warner said in Ranchi after Australia had staved off India’s bowling threat to draw the third Test.

"I feel fantastic, I couldn’t be hitting the ball any better but it’s just that the runs aren’t coming for me at the moment.

"That will come, it will turn around.

"I just have to keep being disciplined and making sure that my preparation is still the same.

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"Don’t change anything, and just go about my business as I do."

The belief within Warner that the touch he’s found in the practice nets since arriving in India five weeks ago will eventually manifest itself into a score of significance is built upon the similar scenario he found himself facing in Australia this summer.

When, despite his remarkable scoring feats in the limited-overs format, he found himself under scrutiny for his failure to post a Test match hundred for almost the entire year heading into the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan at the MCG.

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Where he peeled off a remarkable knock of 144 from 143 balls to set up an equally stunning victory for his team after the visitors had piled on a huge first-innings score.

And which led him to repeat the achievement in even more blazing fashion a week later at the SCG, when he posted a memorable century before lunch on the opening day of the Test.

It’s the lessons he learned from that mini 'drought' that Warner believes will see him right when Australia’s Qantas Tour of India – currently balanced at 1-1 with a Test to play – resumes at Dharamsala.

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"That’s where, in the back of your mind, you’ve got to keep telling yourself you’ve done the hard yards, you just don’t lose it overnight," Warner said in recalling the prelude to that Melbourne hundred.

"There were tough periods where I kept on thinking to myself ‘am I actually doing the work at training?’.

"You always question yourself, are you doing the right things at training and are you preparing as well as you can.

"I sort of second guessed myself.

"I had a couple of words to some boys around Christmas time and they weren’t seeing any trends or anything with my dismissals, everything I was doing at training was spot on and in the normal way I go about it.

"Nothing’s changed, it’s still the same.

Warner confident he can end scoring drought

"I’ve just got to go out and keep backing myself and when I’m out there adapt to the conditions and then keep backing myself to try and keep putting the runs on the board."

It’s those vastly changed conditions that Warner identifies as the reason why the surety he feels at training session after training session isn’t currently being translated out to the middle.

He contrasts the game that he has developed and which has brought him such bounty on Australian pitches – hitting firmly through the line of the ball, punching it back down the ground with an essentially straight bat – to what is most effective in India.

Where the home-grown batters won’t hesitate to whip a length delivery pitched on off stump away through the leg side, in the knowledge that the minimal bounce and slower pace from which the ball comes off the pitch reduces the apparent risk.

"It's quite challenging to play the way I do when the ball is up and down, or it's not really coming onto the bat," said Warner, who reached the low point of his tour to date in Ranchi last week when he bunted a full toss from India spinner Ravindra Jadeja tamely back to the bowler.

"And that's what happens over here, lbws and bowleds come into it.

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"It's a patience game here, and I've got to go out there and keep backing my skill.

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"Obviously the runs haven't worked for me, but the way I felt and especially the first Test in Pune in the first innings (where he scored his 38), I’ve never felt any better in trusting my defence.

"It just didn't come off – I got an inside edge, and got bowled.

"But that's the game.

"It'll come back.

"It'll swing."