David Warner’s batting has fallen off a cliff.
David Warner’s batting has fallen off a cliff.

Warner sinks to abysmal 34-year low

As it has before in this Ashes series, rain spoiled much of the party on day one of the fourth Test.

Australia was 3/170 when an early stumps was called because of bad weather.

Here are the main talking points from the day.



David Warner's Ashes hell got worse as Australia's top order failed again.

Warner was caught behind second ball without scoring in the first over of the day, stuck in two minds about whether to play or leave.

He was out for a duck in the second innings at Headingley too, making it the first time in Warner's Test career he's been dismissed for ducks twice in a row.

The left-hander has now scored just 79 runs this series and has been dismissed by Stuart Broad in five of seven innings. The veteran English quick has tormented Warner by angling the ball into him from around the wicket then seaming it away, causing uncertainty about where his off stump is and whether he should defend or leave.

Broad has now got Warner out 10 times in Tests. He's only had more success against former Australian captain Michael Clarke, who he dismissed 11 times.

According to cricket statistician Andy Zaltzman, Warner is the fourth opening batsman in history to be out for less than 10 six times in the same Ashes series, while he's the first Australian top-six batter to be out six times for less than 10 in any series since Kim Hughes against the West Indies in 1984/85.

Australia's top order has been dreadful so far and the trend continued when Warner's opening partner Marcus Harris was LBW for 13. Cameron Bancroft was dropped after scoring just 44 runs in the first two Tests but his replacement Harris hasn't been able to fire, managing only 40 runs in three innings, while regular first drop Usman Khawaja was axed for the fourth Test.

Australia's opening partnerships for the series read: 2, 13, 11, 13, 12, 10 and 1. The top order is simply giving the middle order - in particular Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith - far too much work to do.

David Warner is having a shocker.
David Warner is having a shocker.



It didn't take long to get the battle cricket fans had been waiting for - Steve Smith vs Jofra Archer - but its first instalment was underwhelming after everyone expected fireworks given the pair were squaring off for the first time since the Lord's Test when Smith withdrew with concussion after copping an Archer bouncer to the neck.

Archer had just been trundling in at the start of the day, bowling well within himself as even Stuart Broad bowled quicker than him. But when Smith arrived at the crease the fast bowler sent down the quickest ball of the day, nudging the 140km/h mark.

He waited three balls to bowl a bouncer, which Smith dealt with easily, and while captain Joe Root opted for a short leg, leg slip and square leg halfway between the batsman and the boundary, signalling an intention to bowl short, the fireworks never arrived.

Smith has said previously he doesn't like wearing stem guards attached to his helmet designed to protect the neck because they make him feel claustrophobic but common sense prevailed and he sported them for the first time at Old Trafford.

Thankfully for him, they weren't called into action.

Smith’s ducking was much better at Old Trafford than it was at Lord’s.
Smith’s ducking was much better at Old Trafford than it was at Lord’s.

Archer bowled just seven relatively innocuous deliveries to Smith in what should have been one of the fiercest spells of the series before being taken out of the attack.

As Smith and Marnus Labuschagne cruised along to lunch many were expecting Root to bring Archer back for another crack at the former Aussie captain before the break, but instead the England skipper kept Craig Overton and Jack Leach on.

Mark Waugh was among those puzzled by the approach to the No. 1 ranked Test batsman in the world, as was former Australian ODI star Brad Hogg.



Marnus Labuschagne continued his golden run of form, scoring his fourth half century in as many innings.

He's been a rock for Australia since replacing Steve Smith in the Lord's Test as a concussion substitute and showed why he was retained ahead of Usman Khawaja in Manchester.

While England bowled wide of off stump to Labuschagne last Test, this time it aimed straighter and the change in strategy played right into his hands. He regularly whipped balls on his stumps through the leg side for boundaries and if the bowlers changed things up by going full and wide, Labuschagne punished them by driving crisply through the covers.

He was solid in defence and as he did in London and Leeds, left judiciously when he needed to.

Unfortunately Labuschagne couldn't convert his start and it took an excellent ball to dismiss him for 67. Craig Overton jagged a ball back and it snuck between his bat and pad to prevent the Queenslander from getting closer to three figures.



Unfortunately for cricket lovers it would be impossible to talk about the day's play without mentioning the weather.

Only 44 overs were possible as the rain hammered down and wind caused havoc.

Rubbish flew across the ground, forcing batsmen to pull away, bails were blown off and Old Trafford received a healthy soaking on a miserable Wednesday in the northwest of England.