Weeks of preparing for synthetic wickets could be England’s panacea for their problems in Australia with their batters on track to reach a low of 131 years.
That, at least, is the advice from David Warner for England’s next trip to Australia in 2025-2026, where tourists now go more than 4,000 days without a test win in the country.
England returned to the net on Wednesday for a lengthy session at MCG, on what was to be day four of the Boxing Day Test.
There was at least some good news for the tourists, where all players again received negative PCR tests after their second nose assessment in just as many days. The six current cases are non-playing members of their camp.
Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad were among those who bowled on Wednesday after being left out of the Boxing Day Test.
And while much of the focus in the build-up to the third Vodafone test was on England’s length with the ball, what can not be overlooked in what appears to be a brutal review is their horror record with the bat.
Their average of 18.75 per wicket is their worst of any series in any nation since 1890 Ashes in England.
“From a batting point of view, the bounce is a big one,” said Warner, who has an average of 63.03 in Australia.
“Growing up here in Australia and playing on these wickets is different for how we would approach it in relation to England.
“I would probably suggest going on synthos (synthetic wickets) and practicing against that (extra) bounce, do it in England.
“You always have to find ways to prepare, and the only way you can prepare is at synthos in England.”
Australia had a lengthy planning of their efforts to keep the urn in England in 2019, including introducing Dukes balls to part of the Sheffield Shield.
Warner himself used polished concrete and synthetic wickets to train in Dubai last month, preferring them when he claimed status as the player-of-tournament in Australia’s T20 World Cup victory.
The Australian opener also indicated that bowlers could benefit from the preparation, after also hitting the wrong length and allowing Australia to easily leave Brisbane and Adelaide.
“In England, that back of a length still hits the stumps … if you throw that length at Gabba or Adelaide, you don’t really hit the stumps,” Warner said.
“You have to be brave enough to hit the ball up here.
“We feel like a batting unit, when England hit the ball up, we drive them down to the ground … but you have to do it to create the chances, to create the bat-pad gap to create these nicks. “
Vodafone men’s ashes
Australia: Pat Cummins (c), Steve Smith (vc), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson , David Warner
England: Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, David Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Ben Stokes , Chris Woakes, Mark Wood
First test: Australia won by nine wickets
Second test: Australia won by 275 races
Third test: Australia won by one innings and 14 runs
Fourth test: 5.-9. January, SCG
Fifth test: January 14-18, Blundstone Arena