Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting has picked his choice as David Warner’s replacement for the upcoming second Ashes Test at Adelaide if the explosive opener gets sidelined due to a rib injury.
Warner was not seen on the field at all on the third day of the Gabba Test, having suffered severe bruising to his ribs after being struck two horrid blows while batting on Day 2. The 35-year-old, who made an important 94 in Australia’s first innings, was hit on his ribs twice by England pacer Mark Wood and all-rounder Ben Stokes, respectively.
Warner was sent for X-rays on Thursday, and fortunately, it showed no fracture, but his appearance in the forthcoming Day-Night fixture would be under the cloud.
Ponting said that he got worried upon seeing Warner wearing the chest guard in the Aussie dressing room.
“I noticed that after he got hit, he came out after one of the breaks, and you could see that he had a little (chest), guard over that area. I got a bit worried about it then because I’ve never seen him with a chest guard on before,” said Ponting, as quoted by cricket.com.au.
The Tasmanian further picked Usman Khawaja to replace Warner and open the innings in Adelaide if the New South Wales batter fails to stay fit enough to play the second match.
“If (Warner) can’t play, I think it’s probably Khawaja that goes in and opens the batting. Although he hasn’t done it the last couple of years for Queensland, he’s done it for Australia before. He’s obviously in really good form, so I think that’s probably the way to go,” added the 46-year-old.
Ponting also observed that he finds no one other than Khawaja to open the innings for Australia in a Pink-Ball Test due to the utmost challenges Day-Night matches offer.
“As a batsman, if there’s one place you probably don’t want to be opening, it’s a pink ball game in Adelaide because you might happen to get put in at night. We saw what England did there on the last (Ashes) tour (in 2017-18) – there was one night in that Test match when England got to bowl late with a brand new ball, and it swung all over the place. I think he (Khawaja) can do it, and if it’s not him, then I’m not sure where I’d be looking at it because you don’t want to be bringing anyone young in because it’s such a big series,” Ponting added further.