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Australia 'expecting the very best' of David Warner to replace Steve Smith

David Warner is ready to come out swinging as he seeks to help fill the "unfillable shoes" of Steve Smith in Leeds, where Australia can retain the Ashes with victory in the third Test.

Smith's Test return after a year-long ban had been a run-laden dream until Jofra Archer's bouncer struck his neck, resulting in a delayed concussion that ruled him out of the Headingley Test that starts tonight.

In contrast, Warner's comeback Test tour has been a relative nightmare.

The former vice-captain finished one run short of being the overall leading run scorer at the World Cup then spoke of targeting an elusive Test hundred in England.

The opener has since managed four single-figure scores against England, having also put down a couple of costly catches in the second Test.

Tim Paine and Justin Langer both believe it will take a collective effort from Australia's top six, set to be unchanged from that which salvaged a draw in Smith's absence last Sunday, to secure a 2-0 series lead that will ensure the urn remains in Australia.

"Almost unfillable shoes, as he is almost the best player in the world," Langer said of Smith.

But the importance of Warner, Australia's most experienced and prolific batsman, can't be underplayed and Paine believes that high-pressure scenario will bring out the 32-year-old's best.

"With Steve missing this game, I think it might be the little poke and prod Davey needs. He likes that responsibility," the captain said.

"My experience with Davey is when people doubt him and his back is against the wall he comes out swinging. I'm expecting the very best David Warner.

"I've spoken a lot about the fact he averages close to 50 in Test cricket and he's done that over a long period."

Paine said Warner would likely remain in slips.

"He's allowed to have a bad day," the wicketkeeper said.

Warner looked good during the touring party's first training session at Headingley, where Australia have lost one Test since 1985.

And the left-hander's stylish batting on Tuesday left a big impression on Langer.

"He looked really sharp in the nets today. He'll be hungry. Don't write off David," Langer said.

England coach Trevor Bayliss suggested there was no secret behind Stuart Broad's domination of Warner in recent weeks.

"We haven't allowed him any easy balls to hit for four ... you get one or two nicks and sometimes batters can lose a little confidence," Bayliss said.

Warner's opening partner Cameron Bancroft will be given another Test to find form, barring a last-minute rethink.

James Pattinson, who was rested from the second Test, is likely to replace Peter Siddle in the attack but the visitors are keeping quiet about their pace plans with Mitchell Starc yet to play this series.

"Starcy has actually told me a few times that the Starcs run the North ...he knows the conditions well and he is keen," Paine said.

"We'll look at the pitch and make the best decision."

David Warner jokingly empties his pockets in front of Birmingham's Hollies stand. Source: Getty


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