David Warner’s fairytale farewell in jeopardy after latest flop in fifth Ashes Test

David Warner in the fifth Ashes Test.

David Warner made another start in the fifth Ashes Test but couldn’t cash in. Image: Getty

David Warner’s hopes of bowing out of Test cricket in front of his home crowd at the SCG next January appear to be hanging by a thread after the Aussie opener failed to cash in on another promising start on Thursday. The veteran batter suffered an all-too familiar fate on the opening day of the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval, making his way to 24 before an untimely dismissal.

Warner got himself in once again and looked to be hitting his straps, before a lack of footwork betrayed him and he nicked a Chris Woakes delivery to second slip. It marked the latest example of Warner making a start but finding it difficult to go on and make a big score.

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The 36-year-old has made 9, 36, 66, 25, 4, 1, 32, 28 and 24 throughout the series at an average of 25. While many have pointed out that he’s done a fairly good job of seeing off the new ball, others believe he should have some bigger scores to show for so many starts. Thursday’s knock marked the sixth time in the series that he’s passed 20 but failed to cash in.

Warner is now the all-time leading run-scorer among touring batters to never score a century on English soil. His highest score is 85, and he’s only managed to make a half-century on eight occasions.

It means selectors might find it extremely difficult to grant Warner his wish of bowing out of Test cricket on home soil this summer. The veteran opener has expressed his desire to play on until the Aussie summer before retiring from the longest form of the game in front of his home crowd after the SCG Test.

But surely it would be in the best interests of the team to move away from Warner and start their succession plan on the batter-friendly pitches that Australia provides. Selectors may feel it beneficial to blood a new batter against Pakistan and the West Indies this summer, rather than persist with Warner and throw someone new into the fire away from home.

After Thursday’s innings, cricket fans had officially seen enough from Warner. Even his normally reliable catching is starting to let him down, with the veteran shelling an easy chance to dismiss Ben Duckett at first slip in the first hour of play.

Will David Warner retire immediately after fifth Ashes Test?

Speaking before the fifth Test, former England captain Michael Vaughan said there were ‘whispers’ that Warner and Steve Smith might announce their retirements from Test cricket immediately after the series finale. “The whisper was – and I have no idea where they’re getting this whisper – but that Warner, if he plays at The Oval, it’ll probably be his last,” Vaughan said on Tuesday. “Again I’m not too sure where they’ve got that.

“And quite a strong whisper was about Steve Smith that it could be his last time out for Australia at the Oval as well. Again, I’ve not seen that personally, but it’s just the whisper and the gossip.

“It might just be the rain in Manchester that gets people talking. But that was the talk of the press box yesterday that a couple of Australian legends, greats might call it a day at The Oval.”

Zak Crawley dismisses David Warner with a brilliant catch in the fifth Ashes Test.

Zak Crawley dismissed David Warner with a brilliant catch at second slip. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

But Warner vehemently denied the claims, saying: “I won’t take that too seriously … I don’t have an announcement. This is about us as a team. And if we win, it’s about a team celebrating and that’s what we’re here for.

“For me it’s about winning the series. I came here last time – it was a draw. Hopefully we can go away with a series win and then that’ll be a fitting Ashes campaign for us. We’re here as a group and we’re united and hopefully we can achieve that.”

Australia went to stumps 1-61 on Thursday after bowling out England for just 283. Mitchell Starc took 4-88 in a remarkable display with an injured shoulder, while Josh Hazlewood (2-54) and Todd Murphy (2-22) also helped spark an English collapse as they lost their last seven wickets for 99 runs.

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