Ashes 2019: Paine backs Warner to excel without Smith in third Test

By Sports Desk August 21, 2019

Tim Paine expects to see "the very best David Warner" in the third Ashes Test, believing the opener will thrive with the responsibility that comes with Steve Smith's absence.

Australia star Warner has endured a dismal series so far in England as he returns to Test cricket following a 12-month ban for his role in the team's ball-tampering scandal.

The 32-year-old has made just two, eight, three and five in his four Ashes innings as Smith, who was also suspended for a year, has done the heavy lifting to give the tourists a 1-0 series lead.

But Smith will be missing at Headingley this week due to the concussion suffered when he took a Jofra Archer bouncer to the neck in the second match at Lord's.

Warner, a senior figure, is among those under pressure to step up, and captain Paine foresees him doing exactly that.

"I'm very confident [Warner will return to form]," Paine said. "I've spoken a lot about the fact he averages close to 50 in Test cricket [46.9] and he's done that over a long period of time.

"I think with Steve missing this game, it might be the little poke and prod that Davey needs. He likes that responsibility.

"And my experience with Davey is that, when people doubt him and his back is against the wall, he comes out swinging. I'm expecting the very best David Warner this week."

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