Australia remain confident that Chris Rogers will play in the third Test against England at Edgbaston next week despite the dizziness that forced him to retire hurt at Lord’s, the cause of which so far has been the subject of theory rather than definitive explanation.
David Warner, who partners Rogers at the top of the Australia batting order, revealed ahead of the tourists’ three-day match against Derbyshire, which starts on Thursday in Derby, how worried he was when Rogers told him he felt that the “grandstand is moving” on Sunday before dropping to his haunches on the pitch as medical staff rushed to his aid.
Warner told Australia’s Daily Telegraph he did not appreciate at first that his colleague was in any distress. “I did not know what was going on,” Warner said. “He actually said to me: ‘The grandstand is moving,’ and I said: ‘No, it’s not.’
“I was worried... and so was he. I had no idea what was going on. He said: ‘I don’t know what’s happening here.’ So I said: ‘Just sit down.’”
Only nine months ago, Warner witnessed the fatal injury suffered by his friend and international colleague Phillip Hughes during a Sheffield Shield match in Sydney, when Hughes was struck on the head by a bouncer.
Rogers was hit by a Jimmy Anderson bouncer during the first innings at Lord’s, although it was not until two days later that he became ill. He will not play at Derby but Australia’s team doctor, Peter Brukner, believes the dizziness was a delayed reaction, probably caused by an inner-ear disturbance rather than anything more sinister.
Speaking in Derby, Warner backtracked on remarks made to the Australian press about England’s struggling batsmen Ian Bell and Gary Ballance, whom he had described as “easy wickets” in their current form.
England have dropped Ballance for Edgbaston, giving his place to Jonny Bairstow, but when asked if Bell might have been left out as well following a run of just 116 runs in eight innings, Warner harked back instead to his contribution to England’s Ashes series win in 2013, when the Warwickshire batsman made three centuries.
“Bell has the weight of runs behind him and the experience,” Warner said. “I think he’s a world-class player. He is out of touch at the moment but we know what he’s capable of. He killed us last time we were over here.
“With his experience, batting at three puts him in a great position. You are under pressure when a few wickets fall before you. I think No 3 is probably the right move for them.”
Warner was in no mood to land himself in any more controversy. He denied he had snubbed Joe Root – the player with whom he had an infamous altercation in a Birmingham bar two summers ago during the ICC Champions Trophy – following the Yorkshireman’s century at Cardiff.
A photograph showed Warner with arms folded while Root celebrated but the Australian insisted he had applauded along with all his team-mates. “If the camera had stayed on me, they’d have seen me clap alongside the other guys,” he said. “We always do clap and we will continue acknowledging people’s knocks, so it was disappointing it came out that I didn’t clap when I did.”
He also said that being turned into a pantomime villain by the English press and the crowds was to be expected. “When we read the papers at home [during the last Ashes series], the Courier-Mail gave it to Stuart Broad,” he said. “We sit back and laugh at it, but when we go over to England we know we are going to be the ones they are going to have a go at.”