Australian Ashes hopes appear to be over, and with three Tests still to be played, they face a near impossible task.
What Australia badly need is runs, and lots of them. They need a batsman who can can stay in to build an innings, rather than collapse, a recurring theme for the top order.
Selectors must now choose whether to continue to give current openers Shane Watson and Chris Rogers a third chance (which seems like the equivalent of waving the white flag after two demoralising losses), or whether they turn to a man whose international career seemed in jeopardy nearly two months ago: David Warner.
What does Australia need?
Someone who can stay in and make a century. In fact, anyone who can stay in and make a century. So far in the series, the English bowlers have achieved crushing victories with little effort, due to the lack of quality in Australia’s top six. Much has been made about Australians playing too much ODI cricket, but these are professionals who should be able to adapt their game. It is galling that in James Taylor, England have a reserve batsman who is arguably better than almost all of the Aussie top order.
Can Warner Provide That?
Possibly. He has regularly hit centuries in Twenty20, ODI, and Test cricket, however he is impatient. Despite scoring three centuries for Australia in his career, he is not the slow stable opener his team are looking for. His explosive style famously meant he scored a century against India in a record 69 balls but when this technique goes wrong (which it could), it could spark another collapse. Warner can't afford to adopt his favoured swashbuckling approach.
Why Shouldn’t Australia Pick Him?
Warner is a liability. His playing career has been marred by on and off the field incidents, including that unprovoked attack on Joe Root, a foul-mouthed Twitter exchange with journalists and a heated sledging war with a South African wicket keeper.
Furthermore, it seems his whole family are getting in on the act, with brother Steven recently abusing Warner's competition in the side - Shane Watson. These incidents have seen David fined, but there are still concerns over his temperament. Whether he can take the strain of expectation to save a dire Australian team in a losing rut in the heat of an Ashes series remains to be seen.
Either way, his inclusion would add some much-needed colour to a series that could become a routine whitewash.