Ponting: How Warner can overcome Broad demons
Ricky Ponting believes the struggling Australia opener needs to return to his natural game in order to end a run of dismissals to England veteran Stuart Broad
Sam Ferris at Old Trafford
5 September 2019, 08:45 AM AEST
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting says Stuart Broad's dominance over David Warner is all in the Australian's mind after another unusual dismissal on Wednesday.
Warner was out for a second-ball duck on the opening morning of the fourth Test at Old Trafford, caught behind by England gloveman Jonny Bairstow edging a ball he attempted to leave from the England opener.
Warner threw his head back in disbelief as the catch was taken and had to walk off to the boos of the crowd and with an average of 11.28 for the series.
It was the fifth time in seven innings Warner has been dismissed by Broad, with each wicket delivered from round the wicket by the veteran.
Prior to this Ashes series, Broad had bowled 525 balls to Warner and taken his wicket five times.
In the ongoing Ashes series, Broad has needed just 87 balls to double his wicket tally against Warner. If the numbers were not emphatic enough, 74 of those deliveries were dot balls.
Ponting says Broad's new approach of targeting Warner's stumps and taking the ball away from round the wicket has the left-hander in two minds.
"Davey is obviously struggling with Stuart Broad," Ponting told cricket.com.au. "(Broad) has got his number, that round-the-wicket angle is really worrying (Warner). It's worrying all the left-handers to be honest.
"Broad, with his new-found skills of being able to swing the ball away from round the wicket, it's troubled everybody.
"Davey, again, was lured into playing trying to leave. That's the second time in the series it's happened and I think it's a real mindset thing for him.
"If he's looking to hit the ball and not leave the ball like he is I think he'd be fine.
"It's tough as a batter when you know the bowler has the better of you."
Ponting has spoken to Warner about how he can combat Broad, but the Test great says it comes down to the opener's intent.
As Ponting points out, when Warner is at his destructive best, which has seen him score 21 Test hundreds, the 32-year-old is looking to go after the bowling.
But Broad's mental hold on Warner has him playing against his natural instincts.
"I've said a few things to him about how I thought he could line up and try and play but it's a different thing to work on that at training and have the courage to go out and try and do that in a Test match," Ponting said.
"He changed things up at Headingley, he changed his guard a couple of times, moved over on off-stump, moved outside his crease a couple of times to try and get into Broad's line and length a little bit more.
"It was a decent ball today. It was one of those ones that we've been expecting – the ball angling in and pitching and leaving him.
"When you see Davey at his best he's not really even thinking about leaving those, he's trying to stand up on top of the bounce and hit that through the covers."
While Warner is struggling, Australia's new No.3 Marnus Labuschagne is flying.
Labuschagne posted his fourth half-century in as many Ashes innings on Wednesday, out for 67 to a clever piece of bowling by seamer Craig Overton, who clipped the top of the Australian's off-stump with a perfectly-pitched inswinger.
Steve Smith's concussion in the second Test at Lord's was unfortunate, but it did give Labuschagne a chance as Smith's historic concussion replacement and the Queenslander has made the most of his unforeseen opportunity.
The right-hander has peeled off scores of 59, 74, 80 and 67 this series, with his latest effort coming at first-drop in place of his state captain, Usman Khawaja.
Khawaja was dropped after averaging 20.33 this series but Ponting is not ruling out the left-hander returning to No.3 in the Test side despite Labuschagne's impressive results.
"I'm not going to write Usman off because I've always rated Usman really highly, but if (Labuschagne) gets his chance here and plays like that, that's all he can do," Ponting said.
“He just looks organised, technically good, his game just looks like it's going to stand up at Test level.
"All he can do is keep scoring runs. It's been a terrific start for him in Ashes cricket."
Labuschagne was made to work for his runs early on a bitterly cold day against a red-hot Broad, who removed Australia openers Warner and Marcus Harris inside seven overs.
But England's seasoned campaigner was not backed up by his new-ball partner Jofra Archer, who finished with 0-28 from 10 overs but was down on pace and barely bowled the venomous short ball he possesses.
Archer lit up the Ashes on the fourth afternoon at Lord's with a hostile spell of fast bowling that reached speeds of 155kph and felled Smith with a nasty bouncer, which ultimately led to his concussion.
But that extreme pace was missing on day one in Manchester and follows a trend of declining speeds from that Lord's burst.
While Archer said he does not need to bowl rapidly to take wickets, which was evident when he claimed 6-45 bowling within himself on day one in Leeds, Ponting said he should steam in and bowl as fast as possible as part of a four-pronged pace attack.
The Old Trafford Test is just Archer's third Test since debuting at Lord's, and Ponting fears the harsh toll of fast bowling in Test cricket could be catching up to the 24-year-old.
"To be honest, I've had a bit of an inkling about him the whole time," Ponting said when asked about Archer's performance on day one.
"Test cricket is not an easy thing for a fast bowler. There's a lot of hype around him and how fast he bowls and that's fine, but to be a truly great fast bowler or a good fast bowler in Test cricket you have to do it day in, day out every spell.
"It's not about one spell here and there. As we say, one good innings or one good spell doesn't make a summer.
"It just to me it looks like he's finding it hard trying to back up all the time.
"If England are talking about trying to carry momentum over from last week (in Leeds) then they had to make a statement early in the game and the way they were going to make a statement was from Broad doing what he does and Archer doing what he does at his best, which is run in and bowl fast and he didn’t do that in his first spell.
"I think he only got seven balls at Smith in his first spell before he was taken off.
"It looked like he must have pleaded with the captain for a change of ends which didn't suit Broad, that didn't work out for him either.
"He's just going to face challenges right though his career."
2019 Qantas Ashes Tour of England
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
England squad: Joe Root (c), Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Craig Overton, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (vc), Chris Woakes.
First Test: Australia won by 251 runs at Edgbaston
Second Test: Match drawn at Lord's
Third Test: England won by one wicket at Headingley
Fourth Test: September 4-8, Old Trafford
Fifth Test: September 12-16, The Oval