The talking points of the moment

'Michael Clarke was the biggest disappointment' - Ian Chappell

Ian Chappell on Australia's 0-2 series defeat, what went wrong, Ponting's batting and captaincy and what the defeat means for the Ashes (06:27)

October 13, 2010

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India v Australia, 2nd Test, Bangalore, 5th day

'Michael Clarke was the biggest disappointment' - Ian Chappell

October 13, 2010

Michael Clarke trudges disconsolately back to the dressing room after being stumped, India v Australia, 2nd Test, Bangalore, 4th day, October 12, 2010
Generally a good player of spin, things didn't work out for Michael Clarke this series © Getty Images

Ian Chappell: Hi this is Ian Chappell for Cricinfo. Australia lost this series and I suppose at first glance you look at it and think it was the batting in the second innings of each Test that caused them some problems, particularly after batting so well in the first innings of each game. But the bowlers have also got to take some of the blame. They went very close to winning the first Test in Mohali, but in the second game the bowling, I think, would have disappointed Ricky Ponting. I think he would have expected to get a lot closer in the second match.

The second-innings batting for Australia basically revealed that they are vulnerable to spin bowling. Spin didn't take a lot of the wickets but it caused some problems and basically, in each of the second innings, the spinners got them started. The quicks then came along to finish things off. Australia's vulnerability, particularly some of their middle-order players when batting against spin in the early part of their innings, became more obvious in the second innings rather than the first.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment was Michael Clarke, who is generally a very good player of spin bowling. But he had real problems with the spinners in this Test series. That would have been a disappointment for Australia, and probably contributed to them having some problems with that middle order.

The pick of the Australian bowlers was Ben Hilfenhaus. His figures don't reflect how well he bowled. He troubled all of the batsmen, and he was able to do it in both innings. Mitchell Johnson bowled some wayward stuff but suddenly he'd get on line and get a couple of quick wickets. That's what you've got to live with as a captain with Johnson. You understand that he's going to bowl a bit of wayward stuff but when he gets it right, he not only gets one breakthrough but two or three, and that's why he's so important to the Australian side. Doug Bollinger was a big loss to Australians. Thet couldn't use him in that second innings in Mohali and in the second Test.

Even though he didn't make a century, it was probably the best he's played in India. His footwork was sharp and he looked really ready to go right from the start of the series. That's good news for Australia, because he is far and away still the best batsman in the side Ian Chappell on Ricky Ponting's batting

Nathan Hauritz was basically ineffective against the Indian batsmen, which is to a degree no great surprise. There have been far better spinners than Hauritz who've struggled against Indian batsmen, who play spin so well. A couple of other things got him into a bit of a struggle. The field placements, particularly the ones on the off side - he must have obviously agreed to them - made it virtually impossible for him to bowl to the Indian batsmen. The other thing is, he is more a curver of the ball rather than somebody who drops the ball on the batsman. That makes it harder for Hauritz to beat the batsman in flight and by the curving the ball away it tends to have him bowling wide of the off stump at times and the Indian batsmen really took advantage of that. I don't think there is such a problem for the Ashes series because the England batsmen, apart from Kevin Pietersen, won't use their feet much to Hauritz. He is a better bowler against batsmen who aren't really using their feet. He troubled a couple of left-handers, particularly Andrew Strauss, in the Ashes in 2009.

Ponting, as a batsman, played extremely well. Even though he didn't make a century, it was probably the best he's played in India. His footwork was sharp and he looked really ready to go right from the start of the series. That's good news for Australia, because he is far and away still the best batsman in the side.

Ponting's captaincy was hampered a bit by the fact that the Indian bowlers were able to get some swing on a lot of occasions, particularly in Bangalore, and the Australians weren't. He was also handicapped by the fact that Hauritz was ineffective. He does tend to be a bit conservative in his field placements, and for my liking he gives away too many easy singles. But that's been his mode of operation and it's been very successful. So, it's doubtful if that's going to change too much.

What does this loss mean for Australia? Well, it doesn't look so good on the rankings table but I don't think too many cricketers worry about the rankings and if they do, they shouldn't. I don't think it'll be too devastating for Australia as far as the Ashes series is concerned. Once they get back to Australia and feel comfortable under Australian conditions, they're still going to be extremely competitive against England. Before the Indian series started, I had Australia as slight favourites to win the Ashes series. Maybe it's more line-ball now. But the Australians will only need to play well in the first Test in Brisbane, and all that's gone wrong in India will be forgotten.

But India definitely outplayed Australia and the Australians will go home disappointed, having lost both Test matches. This is Ian Chappell for Cricinfo.

Posted by vedanthy2 on (October 17, 2010, 13:49 GMT)

You are right Mr. Chappell,the bowling could definitely have done better.Loss of Doug Bollinger was a set back and he could have won the match for australia at Mohali.I have been a fan of Aussie Cricket for 65 years. At Bangalore aussies had lost focus and played poorly on the 2nd innings.Clarke and Hussey must learn from Indians and wait for the ball and play without much flourish.Tell Blarke that playing back to a spinner is suicidal. As Great Lindwall said ,"Side on ,Close to the wicket and steady line is the basic to get wickets."Hope you agree there.You must get down to the team and tell them more about stance and foot work to play spinners. Why there no players like Bob Simpson and Booth with such mercurial foot work.? Mitchell Johnson is a good bowler but he tries too many things and sprays around. Whenever he bowled strict off stimp line he was a joy to watch. This good.The cycle must move and India has reached the top: Has any one on the team read Don's Art of Cricket?

Posted by   on (October 17, 2010, 1:20 GMT)

All commentators on this site , including myself , are suggesting that the Selectors need to change most of the members of the current squad , one way or another . The most glaring examples are the position of Captain , vice Captain , middle order batsmen , spin bowlers , and a couple of the quicks . The wickys are also under pressure . Doesn't leave much does it . If our position of #5 (and sliding) in World cricket is not enough to suggest that our team is not improving , then it is obvious that we will continue to slide . I have been a follower since 1948 , and have been supportive of all our Test sides even during the times of Packer . I am also a hard marker on people whom have ability , and fail to use it so casually . I've always believed people , whatever they get PAID for doing , should show that they are worth what they are paid . Cricket is a big sporting BUSINESS and involves a lot of money . This is highlighted by the amounts of the Contracts that are paid .

Posted by   on (October 15, 2010, 20:03 GMT)

Agree to most points Ian, but why don't u point out the major reason, i.e. the captaincy? You declared Ponting to be a better captain than Steve Waugh on the basis of one of the greatest partnerships of all time (VVS - Rahul at Eden 2001). But there were two greats playing together at that time. Any half decent captain would've found out a way to get Ishant out if not Laxman. Whats wrong in giving a non-biased opinion once in a while? :)

Posted by   on (October 14, 2010, 21:14 GMT)

I think it's about time for Aus to have a new captain.I would give Mike Hussey as I don't feel that Clarke is ready for the job yet.

Posted by rshn on (October 14, 2010, 15:45 GMT)

... to add to chris_howard's comment, I strongly believe there should be a change in leadership, the team is at most times the reflection of the captain. Ponting is a not using his resources well and he is half the batsman he was 3 years back.

Posted by Chris_Howard on (October 14, 2010, 14:55 GMT)

It's all well and good to say someone is batting well, but if they aren't turning 50s into 100s, that is a real concern. Ponting, Katich and Watson since Watto became an opener have a very poor record of turning 50s in 100s. Katich 2/10, Watson 2/10, Ponting 1/9. So in 15 Tests, our top 3 have scored 5 centuries and 29 50s. That's a terrible conversion rate. And 10 of those Tests came against West Indies, Pakistan and NewZealand. It's time to get our selections right. Get Watto down the order where he'll be much better value - where he can play a Gilchrist-like role. Find a proper opener to partner Katich. Say thanks and goodbye to Hussey, and probably North. Bring in the young guys. It's worked for England, South Africa and now India.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2010, 11:06 GMT)

Very soon we are expecting "Computer pushes Aussies to 5th not India"..... Ian Chappell

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