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Ashes 2019: The downfall of Australian openers

Waleed Afzal
CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
262   //    14 Sep 2019, 13:38 IST

England v Australia - 2nd Specsavers Ashes Test: Day Two
England v Australia - 2nd Specsavers Ashes Test: Day Two

Australia’s opening pair has had a poor run so far in the Ashes 2019, as the openers fell cheaply in all four Test matches. Their highest opening partnership in the series so far is 13 runs. Stuart Broad’s accuracy and Jofra Archer’s fiery pace have made David Warner, Cameron Bancroft and Marcus Harris struggle for runs and provide a good start for Australia.

Usman Khawaja, showed some resilience playing at number three in a few innings, but he did not score consistently, which ultimately got him out of the playing XI.

Let’s have a look at the stats of Australia’s top-order batsmen in the Ashes 2019 so far.


Cameron Bancroft

England v Australia - 2nd Specsavers Ashes Test: Day Three
England v Australia - 2nd Specsavers Ashes Test: Day Three

Cameron Bancroft featured in first two Ashes Tests and scored just 44 runs in four innings.

Bancroft’s gutsy knock of an unbeaten 93 in the warm-up game impressed the captain and selectors and earned him a place in the Ashes squad.

Despite his exploits in the the warm-up game, he did not live up to the expectations which ultimately led to him getting replaced by Marcus Harris in the third Test.

Bancroft's downfall can be traced back to his technique. Australia’s former fast bowler Geoff Lawson stated on Fox News: “Bancroft is not just failing, he’s technically a mess. There’s a reason he’s failing. Bancroft looks terrible. He’s playing across the line and had a stiff front leg.”

Former Australian batsman Ian Healy also had the same observation, “Bancroft is turning square up when the ball is going away, and then he is getting jammed when the ball is going into his pads."

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David Warner

England v Australia - 4th Specsavers Ashes Test: Day One
England v Australia - 4th Specsavers Ashes Test: Day One

Australia’s most reliable opener in all three formats, David Warner is yet to showcase his class in Ashes 2019. He was the second highest run-scorer in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 with 647 runs in 10 games with an outstanding average of 71.88.

It has been a significant downturn for him after the World Cup as he has scored a paltry total of 79 runs in 8 innings which includes his only double-figure score of 61 runs in the third Test match.

Stuart Broad has gotten the better of Warner throughout the series dismissing the southpaw six times out of eight innings. Broad has tormented his defence by bowling from around the wicket and angling it in, then seaming it away. He created hesitation in Warner’s mind about where his off-stump was and whether to play or leave the ball.

Marcus Harris

England v Australia - 4th Specsavers Ashes Test: Day One
England v Australia - 4th Specsavers Ashes Test: Day One

The 27-year-old Marcus Harris made his debut for Australia in December 2018 against India and has played just 7 Test matches scoring 354 runs at an average of 29.50.

He came in as a replacement for Cameron Bancroft in the third Ashes Test match, but couldn’t add much to the total. In the ongoing series he has scored just 46 runs in four innings.

His job was to provide Australia with some stability at the top, but he did not do so. The additional swing of the new Dukes ball has caused him trouble throughout the series.

Technically, he is a good player and has looked more comfortable than Bancroft. He has the talent to score big and had a decent start to his Test career, let's hope he finds form and scores some runs for Australia.

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