David Warner is reportedly on his way to rejoin Australia's Ashes squad ahead of the third Test that starts in Old Trafford on Thursday (August 1), but even though he's coming off some good form for Australia A, he won't be assured of a place in the batting line-up.
Warner was sent to join the Australia A team on their Africa tour before the first Test to gain batting practice, and hit 193 and 33 against South Africa A in a four-day game in Pretoria, but Darren Lehmann, the Australia coach, said that wouldn't guarantee a place in the playing XI.
"He's not a certainty, no," Lehmann was quoted as saying by Fox Sports. "He got 193 and played well, did exactly what we wanted him to do. We want blokes to make hundreds and he's ticked that box."
Australia are 0-2 down in the series and need to win all three remaining Tests to regain the Ashes. They lost a closely fought first Test at Trent Bridge by 14 runs and were completely outplayed in the second at Lord's, losing by 347 runs with a number of batting failures.
The batting redeemed itself somewhat in a drawn three-day encounter with Sussex, with the Australians scoring 366 for 5 declared and 152 for 2 declared. However, Lehmann said he wasn't happy with batsmen failing to convert fifties into big scores, hinting that Phil Hughes and Ed Cowan might pay the price for their failure to convert good starts.
Hughes made 84 and 38 in the match while Cowan, who was dropped for the Lord's Test, made 66 and 77 not out.
"I would have liked them both to make big hundreds," said Lehmann. "When you get in that scenario you should be making big hundreds but they know that, we spoke about that. But they played well and got through some tough times."
Hughes started the Ashes with an unbeaten 81, sharing in a record last-wicket stand with Ashton Agar, but followed that with three single digit scores, before finding form against Sussex at Hove. He is at present Australia's leading run-scorer on tour - including two warm-up matches against Somerset and Worcestershire - with 436 runs at an average of 62.29.
Lehmann hinted that Agar, who starred in the last-wicket partnership with Hughes on the way to breaking several records, might get another chance after average bowling returns in the first two Tests, after Nathan Lyon picked up only one wicket against Sussex.
"I thought Ash (Agar) bowled okay but he could have bowled better, Nathan could have bowled better at stages as well," said Lehmann. "That is the case on a good wicket that doesn't turn much, that can happen to spinners. For a 19-year-old he (Agar) has been outstanding. He is a good young man. We'd love him to get more wickets. That might be next week."