Australia have plenty to think about ahead of the Boxing Day Test against India. They lost to New Zealand at home after 25 years Monday, prompting captain Michael Clarke to call for consistency in their performance ahead of the highly anticipated India series.
Australia collapsed to 233 all out from 159 for two while chasing a 241-run target in the second Test in Hobart, letting New Zealand level the two-match series.
Australia lost heavily to South Africa in the first Test of their away tour last month, though they managed to salvage pride by winning the second and levelling the series.
Clarke said they have to show consistency against top teams.
He said it was "painful" to see his team coming up with "very poor performances" after patches of "individual brilliance".
"You have seen some really good patches of individual excellence, and as a team we have been playing really well in patches," Clarke told reporters at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart.
"But then you are seeing the other side as well, where we are letting ourselves down by very poor performances. We can't seem to find that middle road. We are inconsistent at the moment, which is a real pain," said Clarke referring to his team being bowled out for 136 after wrapping New Zealand for 150 on the opening day. In the second innings, Australia fell short seven runs of the target while opener David Warner was left stranded on 123 not out, his maiden Test century.
Michael Clarke conceded that out of form Phillip Hughes needed to go back to domestic cricket to regain his touch. Hughes has scored 9, 9, 88, 11, 10, 7, 4 and 20 in his past eight Test innings.
"He is obviously really disappointed like all the batters are, the way we played today," Clarke said. "But Hughesy is probably the most disappointed. He has been getting out the same way. I know he has been working hard in the nets trying to improve that deficiency in his technique and he will continue to work on that. But he needs to find some runs, it is as simple as that. If he is not making them for Australia he is going to have to go back and score some for New South Wales."
Australia play four Tests against India, beginning Dec 26 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and finishing in Adelaide Jan 28.