After a dismal Ashes campaign, are we set to see the best of David Warner again in Test cricket as Australia lines up against Pakistan? 

Steve Smith’s status as the world’s best batsman is virtually undisputed. But for Australia to build on their successful Ashes campaign during the upcoming home Test summer, David Warner rediscovering his best is equally vital with their top- and middle-order very much under the microscope.

Warner will open the batting with the recalled Joe Burns in this week’s series-opening Test against Pakistan. Australia go in as red-hot $1.25 favourites.

Ashes to ashes

Smith and Warner made a much-hyped return to the Australian Test team for the England-hosted Ashes in August after serving a ball-tampering ban. But while Smith averaged 110.57 in a superhuman series performance that was largely responsible for the retention of the urn, Warner was in a cavernous form rut.

The blockbusting opener averaged an inconceivably low 9.50 across 10 Ashes innings. He managed a first-innings 61 at Headingley but had nine scores of 11 or lower with three ducks. It represented a baffling slump for a player who averages in the high-40s in Tests with 21 centuries in 79 matches to his name.

Warner’s last Test ton was in the Boxing Day Ashes Test in 2017. His 18-innings century drought is the second-longest of his career.

But there are several encouraging signs for punters hoping to cash in on the $5.00 for Warner to score a century in the first innings against Pakistan at the Gabba.

In his first post-Ashes trip to the crease, Warner plundered 125 in NSW’s Sheffield Shield against Queensland – at the Gabba. He then collected three straight T20I man-of-the-match awards against Sri Lanka, including a maiden international century in the format.

Home sweet home for Warner

Warner’s Test record at home is exponentially better than overseas. He averages 59.64 on Australian soil (compared to 33.17 in away Tests) and has scored 15 of his 21 centuries in front of home crowds.

Pakistan have borne the brunt of Warner’s bombastic batting. In nine innings, he boasts three centuries and two fifties, averaging 66.11. He scored centuries at the MCG and SCG during Pakistan’s three-Test visit in the 2016-17 summer.

While he only managed 32 and 12 in the Brisbane Test of that series, Warner generally thrives at the Gabba. The aggressive left-hander scored an Ashes century there in 2013 and smashed a ton in each innings against New Zealand in 2015. He also posted 87 not out against England in 2017.

Smith, the $2.60 favourite, is the major hurdle to Warner saluting in the Australia’s Top Batsman market. But at $5.00, his value to top-score is undeniable.

The 33-year-old is a juicy $2.25 to reach fifty in Australia’s first innings. But punters willing to back another rendition of Warner’s trademark century celebration at $4.00 look a great chance of being rewarded.

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