Justin Langer lauds David Warner

Australia vice-captain David Warner remains major doubt for his team’s opening warm-up game in Sri Lanka next week, but the destructive opener is keen to regain full fitness ahead of the first Test in Kandy later this month.

Warner had a fracture in his left index finger during the ODI tri-series in West Indies last month and returned home to nurse the injury ahead of the Sri Lanka tour.

The opener was enjoying an outstanding form before the injury, which he suffered while fielding in Australia’s win over South Africa in St Kitts, having plundered his sixth ODI century and his first away from home in the same match.

While Warner’s finger is still healing, he has been quite busy in the gym to make sure he will be fit and ready to go once he grabs the bat in Sri Lanka.

Australia have two warm-up fixtures – a two-day game in Colombo followed by a three-day match in Kandy.

While Warner is not likely to be ready for the first of those, which begins on July 14, Head Coach Darren Lehmann hopes he could make a return in time for the second, which starts on July 18.

“He probably won’t play the two-day game but should play the first-class game – the tour game before we play the first Test,” Lehmann .

“Even if he didn’t, I am not too worried about that.  He is one of these guys who picks up a bat quite quickly. He has had broken fingers and injuries before and we have just plugged him back into Test cricket and he is fine.”

But the interruption doesn’t seem to affect Warner’s confidence, who revealed last month a less is more approach to training was behind his extraordinary form. The left-hander also said moderation when it comes to training had also helped his batting.

The Australia Test squad will depart for Sri Lanka on Saturday.

While Warner should be available for the first Test at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on Kandy from July 26, Australia have included Western Australia batsman Shaun Marsh in the team as a backup option for the 29-year-old.

Marsh was left out of the ODI tri-series because of the birth of his first child with wife Rebecca, but has spent time at the Bupa National Cricket Centre in Brisbane alongside fellow Test squad members Adam Voges, Jackson Bird, Stephen O’Keefe, Joe Burns and Peter Nevill.

Australia also speeds up their preparations for next month’s Sri Lanka tour by tapping into the knowledge of a former Lankan Test player to divulge the subcontinent island nation’s inner secrets, recruiting Thilan Samaraweera as a batting consultant.

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