Bittersweet India series loss as selectors mull over Warner for Ashes

Australia can be both pleased and disappointed with their tour of India, if it’s possible to feel such contrasting emotions.

Pleased that they matched India on a moment-by-moment basis for much of the series and unearthed or enhanced some exciting young talent along the way. And disappointed they lost a series they could easily have won but for a poor second innings batting performance in Delhi.

Todd Murphy had an excellent debut tour as a spinner.Credit:AP

They have unearthed a couple of spinners for the future in Todd Murphy and Matt Kuhnemann. To perform so admirably in such trying conditions on their first tour was a credit to them and a great pointer to what lies ahead.

Reading the comments about them from Indian coach Rahul David, he gave them high praise, saying in terms of spinners from overseas they were as good as he’s seen for a while. They challenged all India’s batters and kept the run rate quiet.

Cameron Green making a century puts the wait for his first Test hundred to bed, which is obviously great not just for Cameron but for the bigger picture of Australian cricket, particularly with the World Test Championship and the Ashes just around the corner. That’s a monkey off his back. He can now hopefully relax and continue to improve.

Green is one of the big winners from the tour for Australia, along with the young spinners. They were brilliantly guided by Nathan Lyon, who bowled beautifully. From a batting point of view Usman Khawaja was outstanding at the top of the order and Travis Head once again reinforced his value to the side.

Travis Head performed strongly after missing the first Test.Credit:Getty Images

Travis missed the first Test but proved to the selectors he’s worth sticking with. His style is not perfect by any means, but his approach to Test cricket is refreshing. He’s very much ‘see the ball, hit the ball’. And he can change the game.

We’ve seen it under our conditions here in Australia. But now he showed that he could do it in India as well, which a lot of people doubted. So he’s certainly, I think, nailed down a spot, probably in the middle order for the Ashes tour of England in June and July.

Most of the players pick themselves for the Ashes, but there are a few tough decisions for the selectors, including David Warner.

David has been one of Australia’s all-time great players, not only because of the runs he’s scored but the way he can take the bowlers on from the start of the innings to set matches up.

The selectors have a tough decision over whether they take David Warner to the Ashes.Credit:Getty

Usman Khawaja is obviously locked in at the top of the order and Australia will probably take two other openers to England.

Do you take David Warner, knowing what you can get from him at his very best, with either Matt Renshaw or Cameron Bancroft as the third opener? Or do you make a call now and take the two young guys?

Pick the senior guy and one of the junior guys is what you’d normally do. Back the senior guy for an Ashes series.

Or do the selectors make a change now and give an opportunity to one of those two younger guys in the very first Test? That’s the tough call for the selectors.

The other issue is: Which spinner do they take as back-up for Nathan Lyon? I can’t see them taking three spinners to England, so who misses out is a tough one.

You could say ‘why would you take Murphy when you’ve already got an off-spinner in Lyon’, but Murphy was the guy who was picked before Kuhnemann. However, Kuhnemann’s going to give you that left arm alternative. It’s a nice problem to have.

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