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Boland stars but doubts grow about Warner’s Test future

In what has become a familiar sight, David Warner heads for the pavilion after selling his wicket cheaply. <i>Photo: AAP</i>

In what has become a familiar sight, David Warner heads for the pavilion after selling his wicket cheaply. Photo: AAP

David Warner’s hopes of playing Tests until the end of next year’s Ashes have been dealt another blow after making a golden duck at the Gabba.

Already under immense pressure coming into three Tests against South Africa, the veteran opener’s series could not have started any worse as Proteas star Kagiso Rabada struck with the first ball of Australia’s innings.

Rabada delivered a high-bouncing delivery that Warner could not dodge, popping the ball up as Khaya Zondo took a brilliant one-handed catch at short-leg.

It was just the second golden duck of Warner’s glittering 99-Test career.

Rabada’s dominance of Warner continued after dismissing him four times in three matches during the last Australia-South Africa Test series almost five years ago.

Warner has not made a Test century since January 2020 and failed to pass 50 against the battling West Indies during big wins in Perth and Adelaide.

His teammates and Australia coach Andrew McDonald strongly defended Warner heading into the first red-ball clash with the Proteas since the infamous ball-tampering tour in 2018.

The 36-year-old wants to play until at least the end of next year’s Ashes, with a trip to India in February looming before that.

McDonald backed Warner in when asked about him this week but was cautious not to declare him completely safe.

“At this stage, we’ve got him in our plans for India,” McDonald said.

Boland stars

Earlier, as admiring former Australian paceman Michael Kasprowicz noted, living up to expectations is the hardest thing for a fast bowler, adding that Scott Boland passed that test with flying colours early on the first day of the openingt Test against South Africa.

Proteas captain Dean Elgar joked in his pre-game presser that the Gabba pitch appeared as green as the artificial grass that he was standing on at the time.

It was green on day one too. South Africa were 4-27 at one stage before being dismissed for 152, but Kasprowicz said early on the pitch behaved like “the typical Gabba”.

Kasprowicz, who spent his career bowling on the Gabba with success for Queensland, told AAP that Boland (2-28 off 11 overs) found the early line and length that was required to be successful.

Boland kept the ball on a good length and it did just a bit off the seam. That got rid of opener Sarel Erwee (10) when he drove to gully, and Khaya Zondo for a duck when he was trapped on the crease by a peach that was hitting the top of off-stump.

“Scott Boland has worked it out ideally,” Kasprowicz said.

“The length is all he looks at. He relies on hitting the seam and natural variation. He has been on song straight away.”

-AAP

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