India’s splendid performance in the opening two Tests of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy has exposed Australia’s weak underbelly when it comes to competing in India. Australia lost their fifth successive Test match in India yesterday.
Cricket fans expected more from a tough and combative bunch, but their batsmen save skipper Michael Clarke, who was bowled by an outstanding delivery by Ravindra Jadeja yesterday, didn’t appear to have the tools to build an innings.
Hyderabad was a far better pitch than Chennai. Yet, the Aussies succumbed inside four days. Sure, it’s no easy task trying to match the skills of the hosts in their conditions, but the Australians would do well to admit that they fell short of the required standards.
Several experts believed that the tour selectors pressed the panic button and left out off-spinner Nathan Lyon, who had dismissed Sachin Tendulkar spectacularly in Chennai. To expect two inexperienced spinners (Xavier Doherty and Glenn Maxwell) to succeed against India was probably far-fetched in Hyderabad.
The Indians would have been barbequed by their media had they lost on the fourth day. There would also be some talk of a team rift which they normally associate sub-continental teams with far too often.
The Aussies would do well to pick the brains of their former captain Allan Border, who is here on commentary duty, on how to go about saving themselves from further embarrassment. Border’s advice would be invaluable in terms of tackling India’s spin pack on turning pitches. After all, he enjoys a Test of average 51.06 in India.
Michael Clarke made all the right noises at the presentation ceremony yesterday and stressed that his team will leave no stone unturned to come back in the series. There’s no reason to disbelieve him and it will be foolhardy to reckon without his team’s ability to fight back. But for now, India deserve every inch of credit.