India v Australia, 1st Test, Chennai, 5th day

Clarke wants batsmen to back their abilities

Brydon Coverdale

February 26, 2013

Comments: 75 | Text size: A | A

Moises Henriques ensured Australia staved off an innings defeat, India v Australia, 1st Test, Chennai, 4th day, February 25, 2013
Australia have found a steady batting hand in Moises Henriques, but much of their display in this match will be the cause of serious introspection © BCCI
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Players/Officials: Michael Clarke
Series/Tournaments: Australia tour of India
Teams: Australia | India

After India wrapped up their eight-wicket victory on the fifth morning in Chennai, Australia had a makeshift net set up around the dusty, crumbling pitch. Craters had developed behind the creases at both ends, where the batsmen's spikes had worn away at the dry surface. The unaffected midsection of the pitch had shrunk every day. To the Australia batsmen it might as well have been the surface of Mars as of the MA Chidambaram Stadium. At least the Martians aren't renowned for their spin bowling.

But Australia's batsmen know that over the next four weeks, the only way they will be able to fight back in the series, and hold on to the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, is if they find a way to thrive in the challenging conditions. The next Test starts on Saturday in Hyderabad and during the Chennai Test the former batsman-turned commentator VVS Laxman, a Hyderabad local, described the pitch for the second Test as hard and firm, but likely to crumble. Sound familiar?

So it was an encouraging sign for Australia that David Warner took the chance for some extra practice after the loss. He had faced 154 deliveries in the Test but did not appear at ease, and further work on the Test pitch cannot have hurt his preparation for Hyderabad. For the best part of an hour he faced spinners including Glenn Maxwell, Steven Smith and even his opponent Harbhajan Singh in the hastily-arranged net session in the middle of the ground.

As was seen during the match, the odd ball spat and others stayed low. But enough other deliveries were there to be hit, which some of the Australia batsmen struggled to do, especially during the second innings. The conditions were challenging but far from impossible to handle, as MS Dhoni showed during his double-century. If Australia are to bounce back, batsmen like Warner cannot get bogged down.

"I've always made very clear to the players I want them to back their own ability and play how they see fit," Australia captain Michael Clarke said after the eight-wicket loss. "It might have been quite tough for them to play the way they would have liked to play so credit has to go to the Indian bowlers. But the players know they have the freedom to play their way, play with intent and back your own ability. 

"The wicket played better than it looked. Both first innings the wicket was pretty good for batting, in the second innings as we thought the wicket did deteriorate and spun and bounced a lot more, and the bounce was inconsistent. I like to see a result in Test cricket. The fact that the game went five days says to me it's a pretty good Test match wicket."

As does the fact that three players, Clarke included, scored centuries over the course of the match. Even on the final morning, the debutant Moises Henriques had triple figures in his sights when he lost his last partner. But too many of the top-order batsmen fell into the trap, which Clarke spoke of before the match, of getting starts and failing to turn them into big scores.

Ed Cowan made 29 in the first innings and 32 in the second, Shane Watson scored 28 and 17, Warner managed 59 and 23, Matthew Wade made 12 and 8 and Phillip Hughes was the only one who failed to reach double figures in either innings. With the exception of Watson, all were playing Test cricket in India for the first time, and Clarke said he was confident they would have taken plenty from the experience.

"It's about learning in the conditions. You've got to play your way," Clarke said. "You've got to have your own plan. I'm sure they'll work that out. Ed played pretty well. He didn't make a big score but he played pretty well in both innings and he's looking like he's improving a lot against spin bowling. Hughesy couldn't have done much in the second innings. That ball bounced and spun so there's not much he could have done there."

Hughes did fall to a tricky ball that bounced sharply in the second innings and it was unfortunate because more than any other player in the side, he needs time in the middle. In the warm-up game against India A, Hughes scored 1 and 19, and in the Test he didn't survive more than 15 balls in either innings. The team travels to Hyderabad on Wednesday afternoon and will have two days to train in the lead-up to the second Test.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Harmony111 on (March 1, 2013, 8:44 GMT)

@Meety: Do you have a problem with the wicket being firm all 5 days or helping the spinners? The wicket def did not crumble and it was easy to bat on it even on day 4 and 5 as your no 10 showed. So what exactly are you crying for? You can't make up your mind cos you really have nothing to start with. You are merely trying to stretch and harp on something that is just one of the various technique in making wickets.

Posted by viji69 on (February 28, 2013, 7:02 GMT)

in modern cricket, nobody walks, but the umpire is to be blamed, when you have a support system, you should utilise.

Posted by sidh78 on (February 28, 2013, 6:16 GMT)

Why aus fans crying about that indian pithches not give assitanat to fast bowler and make pitches that help the fast bowler on day one in india.then why not aus to prepare some pitches in aus so that it give help to spiner on 4th day.so prea

Posted by Meety on (February 28, 2013, 6:01 GMT)

@spiritwithin on (February 27, 2013, 10:41 GMT) - you say "... so how aus team decided that 'pitch center' will support pacers even though from the very look of it the pitch with all its firmness at the 'center' looked flat for fast bowlers..." what you FAIL to realise is this "...We started by making the entire pitch firm. After that we watered it selectively. The areas on either side of the stumps were kept dry, and so turned out to be loose. The line of the stumps was watered and rolled, so it stayed firm through the Test." - direct quote from curator. The pitch looked the SAME all over BEFORE the match. It is only later that it falls apart. Why allow it to fall apart anywhere? There would be ZERO evidence to suggest the pitch would behave like it did. Oz chose 4 pacers on the premise that there was no turn, so they may as well attack with their strength & use a wicket to wicket strategy. Given the curator has already admitted to manipulating in the past - why not now????

Posted by Meety on (February 28, 2013, 5:55 GMT)

@gsingh7 on (February 27, 2013, 8:35 GMT) - not walking does not = poor spirit of cricket. Every member of the Indian cricket team is just as guilty as Clarke - no more no less. Anything else to add? Try & make it remotely intelligent. @spiritwithin on (February 27, 2013, 10:41 GMT) - take your defensive blinkers off, & have a look at what I actually said. Fact 1: Selective watering is pretty much unheard of, Fact 2: You judge a pitch prior to the game under the ASSUMPTION that the pitch has been treated evenly across the surface. Fact 3: Oz clearly stated they were going to bowl a stump to stump line (worked in 2004). For the record, I have said on numerous occasions that India were the better side, my gripe is that Selective watering is INVISIBLE to management when they try to work out how a pitch will play. The curator CLEARLY stated that in 98, he watered outside leg stump in a match that happenned to have Warne in it. You telling me this doesn't LOOK suspect?

Posted by Humdingers on (February 28, 2013, 2:10 GMT)

Hang on, we had: - a bloke score 150 - a spinner taking a 5-fer - a quick taking a 5-fer - another bloke scoring 200 - a result on day 5 (which could have been a lot closer had the team batting second scored another 50-100 runs).

Isn't this what Test Match cricket is all about?

Posted by   on (February 27, 2013, 22:16 GMT)

This is why I like David Warner, he has the talent but even more so, the work ethic that will carry him through. Its the same with Ed Cowan and it is why Australia need to persist with both batsmen, because both are diamonds in the rough.

Posted by Harmony111 on (February 27, 2013, 20:58 GMT)

Some ridiculous points being made by some ppls here. I can't believe the complete absence of ability to even talk some ppl are showing here. They are telling us that the diff between India and Aus wasn't that great here. They are telling us that If Lyon's figuree are removed then India did about as good as Aus in the 1st innings. They tell us that if MSD's knock is removed or only his avg score is taken in then India's innings becomes a moderate one. Well, is that how cricket is played? By deducting the best performance and/or not counting the worst performance? I don't think any Ind fan is saying that MSD will score 3 200s in the next 3 tests. But in the 1st test he did get one, didn't he? That remains a fact and it played a huge role in the big lead India got. This logic of saying that if we removes MSD's knock then not much remains is like saying that if we remove Einstein's brain then he is pretty much an average man. Obnoxiously Ridiculous.

Posted by Super-Dog on (February 27, 2013, 13:17 GMT)

True the Aussie batters are out of their comfort zone, but most got starts with exception of Hughes. I agree with Paul, it is mental issue why they did not score more. Loss of concentration even minor lapses is deadly on these type of pitches. Lack of belief may be an issue. Captain Michael needs to be investing in ways to improve our teams mental strength and apptitude. This is where the biggest improvements can be made. On Khawaja, there is definitely a case for him to be included as our number 6, but this leaves us with 4 bowlers and at the moment this is not enough for us to get 20 wickets consistently. Pity Bird is not a better batsmen, as he is real talent. Henriques is the best choice at present as he is a genuine wicket taker, if not over used, and has genuine ability with bat as we have all just witnessed.If he can contribute on average 2 wickets per match, average around 30 with bat we can win matches. This is on the proviso Wade improves as keeper and averages 40 with bat.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2013, 11:17 GMT)

Great too see Warner, willing to practice on this pitch after the game was over, even more important, was the Aussie back-up spinners, did to. But what was the greatest moment, was `Bhaji`, Harbhajan Singh, was practicing with the Aussies, trying too improve his own bowling. Now this is the spirit of Cricket, when 2 opposing teams can come together and train. Just goes too show, how well Indian and Australian Cricketer`s respect each other, and how well both teams get along. This is a fantastic moment for Cricket, and should not be under-estimated, when players from 2 Professional teams, can train together, and work on they`re batting and bowling.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 27, 2013, 10:54 GMT)

gsingh7 - Noone walks so why should Clarke. If your having a crack at not walking then you should take a good look at the Indians appealing when they know it is not out. Seriously your allowed to appeal so your allowed to stay your ground and let the umpires do there job.

Posted by spiritwithin on (February 27, 2013, 10:41 GMT)

@Meety..too many ifs & buts in your statement,the selective watering of the pitch nevertheless the Pitch was same for both the teams,to say that one team knew how the pitch will behave and other didn't means your team management need an expert to judge the pitch,its nobody's fault if your team management failed to read the pitch,also it was obvious from the very start that pitch will support spinners and u picked just one spinner and blaming y 'selective watering' did'nt supported your bowlers and against the spirit of cricket??Amazing to say the least,the pitch at the center r never used by spinners for turn,its the patches outside the pitch which interests the spinners so how aus team decided that 'pitch center' will support pacers even though from the very look of it the pitch with all its firmness at the 'center' looked flat for fast bowlers???,so your assessment holds no ground

Posted by baghels.a on (February 27, 2013, 8:55 GMT)

As an Indian fan elated with the win but worried about Sehwag and Vijay's batting, Australia need to drop Ed Cowan, just pontificating about the primacy of test format and mainting erudite diaries won't do, he has got to produce the goods on the pitch, Hughes place also demands scrutiny, Steven Smith looks a good player of spin and Maxwell looked good in UAE against Ajmal even though it was a T-20, 2nd spinner is needed big time , although there bowling stats are not the best but rememberthose were achieved in Australian conditions, even our spinning hero Ashwin coudn't do much when we last toured there....

Posted by gsingh7 on (February 27, 2013, 8:35 GMT)

@ meety-- ur team lost all claim to spirit of game when clarke did not walked on clear catch.wat say now? if acb thought pitch wud not turn from day 1 then i dont blame them for losing with such big margin.that was bound to happen for their ignorance . keep up mate, more losses are coming ur way. this was just the 'START"

Posted by ygkd on (February 27, 2013, 8:14 GMT)

Many modern Australian batsmen do little other than back themselves. It's the way they play. They've been doing it all through their apprenticeship and it is a habit that continues. Instead, they could have put in the hard yards to work on a game plan for these sorts of pitches which anyone serious about the game are well aware of. However, backing themselves gets them noticed. I'm not too sure anyone would have noticed them working on their Indian-turner game-plan at 18 or 19. So they didn't do it. For some, it's too late to rectify properly. Yes, there'll be the good innings or two but they won't master the conditions. And a lot of the time it will master them. One certain number 6 comes to mind. He scored a few runs in his first eleven balls (2nd dig), which is fine to start slowly. But he hadn't started slowly. He'd looked like a walking wicket for about six of those 11 balls. And two or three others weren't too flash either. Thank God for Moises. At least he knew what to do at 7.

Posted by warneneverchuck on (February 27, 2013, 7:31 GMT)

Instead of criticizing pitch, accept the fact that u can't play spin and have very ordinary team

Posted by Meety on (February 27, 2013, 6:55 GMT)

The curator has admitted to "selective" watering of the pitch. It is evident by the look of the pitch that it was odd. I am by no mean an expert on pitch curating, but I have NEVER heard of this practise! Speaking in terms of the bigger picture &NOT about Oz losing this match, this is a BAD PRACTISE! This is not how Test pitches are normally prepared. The major problem occurs when a visiting team tries to judge what the pitch will do. The NSP probably saw the firmness up the centre & thought there wouldn't be turn (as before play there would be nothing to suggest that other parts of the pitch would deteriorate). Just playing Devil's Advocate here, what IF Indian players new of this practise & Clarke & his team didn't? It is fairly well known that Oz was going to bowl stump to stump, they see a pitch that looks like it is well maintained BEFORE the match, only to find AFTER the match strips were DESIGNED to fail. IMO - this is sneaky, & I would like to know if this is SPIRIT of cricket!

Posted by Meety on (February 27, 2013, 6:50 GMT)

@dwblurb on (February 27, 2013, 1:50 GMT) - I agree regarding "over confident" - there is ZERO to suggest that. That said, ultimately Cric Oz have sold the players up the creek by scheduling the POINTLESS WI series. It made a shambles of International cricket where we had two International sides playing the same day on different continents. We got what we deserved thanks to Cric Oz!

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (February 27, 2013, 6:07 GMT)

From my perspective it looks like the Australian batsmen have a mental block, or fear whenever the ball moves. Their weakness when facing swing bowling and then the apparent inability to handle the moving ball in India makes me wonder if they are showing the results of growing up on "chairman's" pitches that are designed to be batsmen's paradises.They haven't done their "apprenticeship" in First Class Cricket battling Test and fringe bowlers on sub-standard and difficult wickets. So they have never learned their craft.I suspect the next Test will resemble the first. If there is any hope it is with guys such as Khawaja who is a geniune test batsman but who hasn't had the opportunities yet to show his stuff. Also someone like a Maddinson or Burns can develop into a real future player for us.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2013, 5:52 GMT)

@crh8971 I agree completely Haddin became a shocking keeper over the last few years of his australian career (not saying he was the greatest to begin with), can't see why there is so much hate towards Wade, he's a decent keeper, not the greatest but he can improve and a very talented batsmen, the only other decent keepers in the country are Paine and Hartley who both seem to have missed their chance so Wade is definitely the future.

Posted by Rahul_78 on (February 27, 2013, 5:51 GMT)

You cant help but admire Clarke. He has ticked almost all the boxes as a skipper. No whining about heat, dust and turning tracks. He has lead from the front with the bat knowing fully well that he is the best batsmen in the side and needs to show the way for others. He is not leading a Oz side consisting of Warne, Mcgrath, Gilly and co. His resources are limited for these conditions. Hiis best bowlers and he himself is prone to injuries. Still he has kept his chin up, encouraged his under performing spinner and batsmen and tried to remain calm. Oz squad need not look at anyone else but to their skipper for inspiration.

Posted by Majorraki on (February 27, 2013, 5:41 GMT)

@davidPk Can understand your frustration in not digesting an Indian win giving all probabilities on what could have gone right for Ausrtalia and how India made perfect useof home advantage ,but thats how life is we all know what happened to the so called pakistani bowling prowess in SA,even someone like Ajmal could do well only in capetown on a spinning track,he was below average in other pitches.none of the pakistani pacemen were impressive taking at best 2-3 wickets each in a match which even bowleres like Ishan and sreesanth managed to do in their last visit to SA.What did your team really achieve in UAE against Australia or South Africa ?Nothing just promises on how well your bowling is going to improve in near future.Stop giving excuses,a win is a win and agreed Indians are abysmally weak outside the subcontinent but neither the Srilankans nor the pakistanis are faring any better if not worse

Posted by Edwards_Anderson on (February 27, 2013, 5:05 GMT)

@SD4367 our batsmen lost the match, but in any test some batsmen aren't going to contribute much.Australia aggregated 641 runs which is an average score of 310. Once you aggregate around 650 runs plus (average 325) you're getting to a point where you shouldn't be beaten. Australia were right in the game until Dhoni ran amuck. It happens.I don't subscribe to wholesale changes but just 2 simple ones. Get Khawaja in for Cowan with Watson opening and Doherty for Siddle. Right now, both Aussie batsmen & bowlers need to understand the playing conditions of India.We can make half a dozen changes, but if the players don't adjust to the conditions, those changes won't matter.

Posted by Mary_786 on (February 27, 2013, 4:50 GMT)

Ignoring the potential pitch conditions for a minute I think it's far more a matter of technique and temperament. Chennai looked appalling and they got 500 plus to our 380 - so it wasn't really the track. It might have been that our batsmen were not good enough, compounded by the problem that neither are our bowlers - in those conditions. Discussing the value of Wade over there seems almost pointless but I will digress to him briefly - He needs to improve full stop. Clarke the exception, patience seems to be a problem for Wade.But enough of him. The changes to be made are simple, get Khawaja in at 5, move Cowan out as he is terrible against spin and will do worse in the ashes, Hughes is our best opener with Warner, with Watto at 3 and Clarke at 4. For the bowlers Doherty must come in as we have no other spinners in the squad. Pats will be the best bowler in the world in a year

Posted by pradip12 on (February 27, 2013, 3:22 GMT)

Aussies should make two changes to win... 1. bring in doherty and leave starc/siddle.... for me doherty is a better option than lyon since india have lot of right handers... also doherty was threatening sri lanka down under... also remember what happened when panesar was brought in... doherty can certainly pose questions eventhough may not as threatning as panesar was... 2. Clarke should bat at 3 or 4, next should be henriques and then ... watson or hughes... Warner, Cowan, Hughes, Clarke,Henriques, Watson, Wade, Pattinson, Starc/Siddle, doherty, lyon.

India should make some changes too... No point in playing sehwag or vijay unless pitch looks a batting paradise...they dont have temperament or technique to survive in these pitches.... bring in Gambhir and Rahane for solid starts. Also drop bhuvi if it is not a pitch suitable for swing. Bring in ojha... Bhajji must feel the pressure to perform to keep his place...

Bottomline- Aus should show patience and test indias patience to win

Posted by pitch_curator on (February 27, 2013, 3:22 GMT)

@ Barnesy4444 -- Loved your ranting. If you want to pass on your valuable knowledge on pitch creation why dont you do it to the guy in Perth where the spinners are renedered useless even on 5th day?

Posted by chicko1983 on (February 27, 2013, 3:18 GMT)

@ Front-Foot-Lunge - "empty talent pool"?? Haha, havent you been watching the recent Australia A v England Lions one-day series? Its currently 4-0 to Australia with Aus winning by 7 wickets, 113 runs, 122 runs and 43 runs. How's the English talent pool going? Oh, nevermind, youll just get some South Africans and Australians to play for your senior side.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2013, 2:50 GMT)

this should be the team!!!!!! Warner, Watson(last chance) Kawaja, Voges, Clarke, moses, Paine, Okeefe, Pattinson, Johnston, Agar.. I challenge anyone that this team wouldn't beat any team team they select. Look at the balance, look at the batting depth, this is a balanced side!!!! Right arm fast, left arm fast, a keeper who can catch the ball and bat with patience, two different spinners, one who in stats leaves all others for dead..

Posted by crh8971 on (February 27, 2013, 2:02 GMT)

I am not sure why there is so much anti Wade sentiment out there. Haddin was dropping regulation nicks of fast bowlers and batting terribly for a long time and Wade has not made any first class runs since he returned from injury. Wade had two hundreds and an average of over 40 leading into this test and is a good keeper to the quicks. He needs to work hard on his technique against the spinners but even Healy was not a great keeper to start with. Wade is our best option. Cowan and Watson to me are now both liabilities and should be dropped and Hughes looks like he has no clue against spin. Kawahja needs to play the 2nd test and there is a fair argument that Maxwell should as well. My 11 would be: 1. Warner 2. Hughes. 3. Kawahja 4. Clarke 5. Maxwell 6. Henriques 7. Wade 8. Johnson 9. Pattinson 10. Siddle 11. Lyon I would have picked a second spinner if O'Keefe was touring but don't rate Doherty.

Posted by dwblurb on (February 27, 2013, 1:50 GMT)

@Joseph Langford "under-prepared and over-confident"

I don't think so. They got in as much preparation as the schedule allowed. The reason they went over in three batches was to allow some players MORE preparation that they would have had had the team not left until after the end of the Australian international season. As far as over-confident is concerned, there's nothing to suggest that. There were no big statements in the lead-up. I'm sure the team was more tyhan aware of the results in India in 2008 and 2010, and just how hard it would be.

Posted by Meety on (February 27, 2013, 1:20 GMT)

@Dravid_Gravitas on (February 26, 2013, 16:41 GMT) - well said. Oz have to improve on Indian pitches, it is plain & simple. I believe the Indian public get short changed by not having pitches with more life in it, even if it does suit your batsmen. It shows how great the Indian batting line up was when Dravid, SRT & Laxman anchored the middle order. IMO - it is harder for Indian batsmen to adjust overseas due to bounce, so there really is a need for Indian batsmen gaining exposure on bouncier pitches.

Posted by hycIass on (February 27, 2013, 0:41 GMT)

When you win a test match, it generally means that the bowlers won. They took 20 wickets.When you draw a test match, it generally means that the bowlers failed (unless weather affected or an absolute highway). They failed to take 20 wickets.When you lose a test match, it generally means that the batsmen failed. They got bowled out twice.Despite the look or the pitch and the occasional hand-grenade, this was a good batting strip, especially on the first three days. My Indian mate - who hails from Chennai - confirmed this. Before the match, he though 500 was a par first innings score and that the match would end in a draw. Our batting failed. Alsmost 1300 runs were scored. I'm not saying we shouldn't make bowling changes, just that we shouldn't expect miracles to come about from those changes. The batmen lost this test match. Not many changes you can make there though. Bringing Khawaja in for Cowan is a no brainer. The rest just need to improve.

Posted by Edwards_Anderson on (February 26, 2013, 23:58 GMT)

The selectors have favourites, and there is now a worrying disconnect between administration and fans, something that was happening in Australian rugby last year in 2012, but in 2013 the ARU have comeback strong in the public eye with Bill Pulver.Iver's, and Pat Howard and Cricket Australia ceo, have not been very approachable to the fans the public, the bloke in the street so to speak, and getting annoyed when criticised.David Gallop last week, hosted a fans forum he did 3 in 7 days, . 1 in sydney, 1 in west sydney, 1 in Melbourne, answering fans questions both on twitter, and at the forum live. And Gallop has engaged the football community in Australia, but Iver's, Pat Howard, James Sutherland have not. Guys to bring in include Khawaja and SOS, along with some other deserving spinners who have done well in shield but havent got recognised yet.

Posted by   on (February 26, 2013, 23:23 GMT)

We were clearly beaten by the bowlers' inability to wrap things up when India were seven down. Full marks to Dhoni but the bowling was poor and I can't see him repeating that "once in a life knock". Pujara is now their best batsman but the rest are ordinary bar the declining Sachin. A lead of under 50 on the first innings and Inia would have struggled to win. Starc had a bad game but is worth keeping around the team as he has been Australia's best bowler this summer by far. However, I believe that Johnson should come in for the second test. Doherty is not a long form bowler so I'm not sure that selection would work. It's a shame that Jackson Bird has gone home as he is better than Peter Siddle although Siddle is a Trojan worker.

Posted by landl47 on (February 26, 2013, 23:02 GMT)

The difference between these two sides isn't anywhere near as great as an 8-wicket victory makes it appear. If Dhoni doesn't make a score 76 runs better than he's ever managed before in test matches and 186 above his average, then it's a very tight game. He did, and all credit to him, but it's not something India can rely on every game.

Clarke's right, this wasn't that bad a wicket. The Aus batsmen have to learn from this and find the right approach for them. The bowlers also have to analyze what didn't work and make a few changes (except in Pattinson's case, of course!).

The selectors need to look at whether the side for the first test was the right balance for Indian conditions. It might need tweaking for the next test. However, this was only the first game of the series. Aus can, and will, come back strongly.

Posted by kringston on (February 26, 2013, 22:49 GMT)

Bottom line Clarky you were out played and under prepaired! One spinner on that track what a joke. I would suggest cricket Australia prepares a dusty crumbly track in a place like Darwin and run training camps before undertaking a subcontinate adventure. As with England later in the year start preparing tracks, get some duke balls and some net bowlers who can swing a ball. We always seem to lack the preperation.

Posted by   on (February 26, 2013, 22:17 GMT)

So tired of hearing of Clarke telling batsmen "trust your ability", "its your shot, play it!" - This is rediculous, its a test match! The idea is to "have" ability, and to restrain yourself from playing stupid shots....

Its easy to say these things when your in top form, and "your shots" and good test quality shots Michael! Pathetic captaincy really, tell the lads something useful not something that is consistantly leading to their downfall.

Posted by funkybluesman on (February 26, 2013, 22:13 GMT)

@ RajivSrinivasan Ramasamy - You complain about the Aussie team having a top four averaging under 38 and then suggest names like rogers, jacques, Fergusson, cosgrove, Bailey, Lynn, Khawaja, Maxwell. Rogers is 35, Jaques has had heaps of injury and hasn't played in the current Aussie Summer at all, and the others have 1st class averages, in order: 35, 43, 39, 36, 42, 42. These guys are hardly bashing the door down with weight of runs. Purely based on Sheffield Shield cricket, which is all they have to stake their case on, Hughes is well above all of them. He gets a couple of tough balls here early in his innings and you are writing him off already in favour of a group of batsmen who've shown nothing but careers of inconsistency and lack of real quality.

Posted by Number_5 on (February 26, 2013, 22:06 GMT)

Very interesting to read Harbhajan bowled to Warner, surely that's an act of sportsman ship rarely seen and should be applauded? Like most touring teams these days, the away team turns up late, plays few warm up games and then looks for answers as to why they lose. The selectors got the team wrong and not being able to bowl out the Indian tail cost Aus any chance of winning the game. Going fwd Aus needs to bring in one if not two spinners (including an allrounder) if its to have any chance of winning a test this series. The Aus public wont put up with an under performeing selection panel for much longer...

Posted by itsjustcricket on (February 26, 2013, 21:53 GMT)

One of the key positives for India in this test match was that the numbers 3, 4, 5, and 6 batsmen all made runs. I can'tremember the last time that happened,certainly not any time in the last 2 years during which India's test match stock has plummeted. Still, India have plenty of problems to work out. The openers are still failing, and apart from Ashwin, the spinners looked fairly average. I think Australia will play better in Hyderabad.

Posted by Mary_786 on (February 26, 2013, 21:43 GMT)

Lets be honest we where lucky to get 380.Clarke was out on 50 odd but the ump wanted to make a game of it.The real total would've been closer to 250-300. Phillip Hughes has been in excellent form in recent times. He shouldn't be dropped.For me Cowan should go. He's gets these little 20s 30s then gets out. I'd got for Khawaja, Doherty for Cowan, Siddle .A left arm fast bowler is needed to create rough outside the right handers off stump.If the pitch is like the last Test in Hyderabad (2012 vs Nz) then we have our work cut out.Ashwin ran riot in that Test, 12 wickets in the match.

Posted by   on (February 26, 2013, 21:07 GMT)

This is garbage. Australia went into the test under-prepared and overconfident. They travelled to India separately, did not prepare for environmental conditions and treated the warm up games as a joke!!!

You are just whingers. After Australia scored 380 in the 1st innings and India was 2/12 there was no one complaining. Even at the end of Day 2 when Clarke had obviously under-bowled Pattinson you were all too willing to accept Clarke's obfuscation. Even when Sachin fell at 4/196 you weren't complaining!! Even at 7/372 there were few gripes!! But the last 3-Indian wickets, the wickets that were given up so easily last summer, cost 200 runs. Then the whining began

Still Henriques scored two 50's on a minefield

If the last 3-Indian wickets had cost only 100-runs it could have been interesting chase of 150-runs. Especially if Wade could keep to spin bowling. India lost 2-wickets and it could have been four. Yes ... the journo's could have been heralding Clarke or showing Wade the door.

Posted by Fleming_Mitch on (February 26, 2013, 21:03 GMT)

There is something not right with selection at present.Wade must be feeling the pressure from Paine and Haddin.Kreza and Haurtiz are surely the best options as the second spinner.Can't do anything for the good players who are not in the team now.Hughes cannot play spin.Ed Cowan is just getting out in 30s and i can't understand why we keep persisting with him.Hughes can be dropped in the 2nd test but give him one more test to show that he can handle spin. Khawaja has to come in now and Clarke should back him for the full series rather then just give him 1 game as he always gets. Clarke,Henriques are the only batsmen comfortable in playing spin,rest of them r simply struggling to play spin.As per the present available team AUS team for the 2nd test should be

1.Warner 2.Hughes 3.Watson 4.Clarke 5.Khawaja 6.Wade 7.Henriques 8.Pattinson 9.Johnson 10.Doherty 11.Lyon

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (February 26, 2013, 20:47 GMT)

With a brittle top order and an empty talent pool, Australian cricket looks at it's lowest point in it's history. After all the talk about Warner, Watson and Hughes, the critics were indeed proved right. Back to the drawing board Australia, your 'rebuilding phase' starts here.

Posted by   on (February 26, 2013, 20:30 GMT)

Come on everyone, accept the fact that Aussie Batting is the weakest with limited overs sepcialists and IPL signees.I am an indian but a die hard aussie fan. when have we seen an aussie team with top 4 averaging below 38. its not about average, the top 4 have weakness for Swing, Spin and Seam. the only pitches they thrive is on pacy and bouncy wickets. bring on rogers, jacques, Fergusson, cosgrove and Bailey or even for that matter Lynn would be a good choice.Aussies should drop Warner and play Khwaja and Drop Hughes for Maxwell and play the rest. there is so much talk about spin, but make no mistake Indians are adept in playing spin, so aussie dropping a pacemen for a spinner would prove costly.Rtaher they retain the same team with the inclusion of 2 bits and pieces cricketer like maxwell and steven smith to offer variety .this strengthens the batting . Nathan Lyon should employ adefensive approach if he is not able to get the loop and guile that ashwin got.

Posted by nyc_missile on (February 26, 2013, 20:04 GMT)

Dhoni can learn a lot from Clarke in the approach a team has to take on a foreign tour.No excuses,no whining about pitch/conditions,not blaming others for the losses.This is the reason why Dhoni has white-washes to his credit and a disgraceful record as captain lately.Accepting the conditions and your own weaknesses as a reality is the first step to fixing 'em.Shameless Dhoni never learns.

Posted by maddy20 on (February 26, 2013, 20:03 GMT)

@davidpk As you have seen there are more than enough batsmen, who seem to be regaining their touch. Sachin, Kohli, Dhoni, Pujara etc., Aus was lucky to get that lead, thanks to Dharmasena or it would have been an innings defeat! As for Aus playing two spinners, not that England did well because the spinners they had were very good. Swann picked a 5 for in the very first test. On the contrary, Lyon was hammered all over the park, aptly reflected by his 215-3. The only thing Aus can do now is bat India out of the game after winning the toss.

Posted by nyc_missile on (February 26, 2013, 19:58 GMT)

This man is a champ.Contrast this with the whining Dhoni did even after winning A'bad test against Eng about pitches bla bla.Unlike the pack of excuses i.e. Dhoni,Clarke never offered any excuse for the loss.This is one quality that will help them in the series..Way to go

Posted by warneneverchuck on (February 26, 2013, 18:22 GMT)

Clark would walk into any team today easily but unfortunately the team Wich he is leading is poor. Same goes to India they have ordinary team on bouncy wickets. Ponting was lucky enough to play with many greats throughout his carrier. We all know how his Stats fall badly Wen all greats retired. So Clark in my opinion is far better than ponting as a captain and as a player.

Posted by Nish_US on (February 26, 2013, 18:16 GMT)

Kudos to Clarke... when he made no excuses and accepted the fact that India played better in familiar territory..... wish him good luck with his career as a captain.

Posted by hris on (February 26, 2013, 17:51 GMT)

@@Barnsey444 people like you, randyoz and jonesy give us oz fans a bad name. Wake up, the pitch wasnt bad. We dont have the spinners to use the conditions. My main disappointment was though with Siddle and Starc. They were the two first pick bowlers. And failed to have any impact. I never expected much from Lyon, so him not doing well wasnt much of a surprise. I dont think doherty is magically gonna fix that. If anything he is worse than Lyon. Clarke picked the team knowing the strength of the fast bowlers and Pattinson showed that there was enough there if you bend your back. Starc and Siddle for me have to take most of the blame.

And im losing patience with Wade. His keeping skills are very poor. He better score runs, if that kind of keeping is to be tolerated. Only saving grace for him that none of the other keepers are putting pressure on him. Haddin is irresponsible with the bat in hand. So i wouldnt trust him to do better. Sadly wicketkeeping is in poor state aswell.

Posted by   on (February 26, 2013, 17:49 GMT)

Fantastic pitch, if you ask me. Had everything you could ask of a pitch to keep spectators happy. That's what they play cricket for isn't it. Australians need to learn to prepare good pitches - far too many games over there finish in 3 or 4 days!

Posted by   on (February 26, 2013, 17:24 GMT)

Well played Australia! To be honest it was Dhoni who has created such a difference otherwise it was going to be a nail biting finish. india has to really fight hard from here onward to win the remaining games. Just 1 or 2 changes in batting order like dropping hughes bringing khwaja at 3 n sending watson to open with cowan might be a better idea.. they can bring smith even

Posted by Riderstorm on (February 26, 2013, 17:21 GMT)

In all honesty, Aus did considerably well considering that the pitch was a dustbowl and most of their batsmen were playing in india for the first time. India on the otherhand have hardly anything to gloat. Indian team composition is still troubling to say the least. Harbhajan hasn't been effective so are the opening batsmen. Aus on the other hand obtained valuable match lessons without losing the test heavily. They have remaining tests to claw back into the series. If Indian team doesn't become over confident thus complacent, we have a cracker of a series on our hands with two teams in transition fighting it out.

On the pitches, Why is that when a pitch assists spinners is considered unsporting whereas a pitch assisting seamers a sporting one? BTW, the chennai pitch wasn't unplayable like many others were in india in recent decade.

Posted by thebrownie on (February 26, 2013, 17:08 GMT)

@Barnsey444: 900+ first innings runs, one double hundred, 2 hundreds and a bunch of 50s including one from a no 6 on the 4th and you still call it a bad wicket because it breaks up form the 1st day?

Posted by SushmaGNaidu on (February 26, 2013, 17:07 GMT)

Yes,I agree with Clarke that Aussie players have to apply themselves on the field.You can draw inspiration from "GUTSY" Steve Waugh character to handle any bowling on any wicket to score.All i want to witness is quality and fighting cricket and not bother who wins!!!

Posted by mzm149 on (February 26, 2013, 17:04 GMT)

The weak links in this Australian side are Lyon and Wade. Brad Haddin would have been a better choice in terms of batting. Only the next pitch will be spin friendly. Pitches in Mohali and Delhi will provide support to fast bowlers. Australia has to definitely win the next game. The last two games will definitely be in favor of Australia.

Posted by Vindaliew on (February 26, 2013, 16:58 GMT)

I love how Bhajji was helping Warner in the nets - it shows that the Symonds episode has long been consigned to history, and that he is on good terms with the Aussies again.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (February 26, 2013, 16:41 GMT)

@Barnesy4444, what a rant. Let me put it this way - The fact that Indian spinners took so many wickets prove that Aussies can't play spin. It goes both ways mate. Yes, I agree, Australia have to improve their skills against spinners on turning tracks and India should improve their skills on pacy tracks.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (February 26, 2013, 16:38 GMT)

That's a lovely gesture by Harbhajan Singh to give some practice to our guests. Take a bow Bhajji paa! Things like these bridge gaps (compare to the behaviour of Poms aka Andy Flower when he didn't allow Monty to bowl at Statchin in the nets). As Dravid said in The Bradman Oration, Aussies and Indians are indeed Comrades. Let's continue to be good to each other. @Rastus, Clarke isn't obliged to walk. He was well within the rules. No complaints from an Indian fan here. It's not a sin to follow the rules. He is a very nice bloke, a proud Australian who plays hard cricket. Yes, he and Ricky might have behaved poorly in the past. But that's past. He did nothing wrong now by not walking. It's upto the umpires to do their job and ICC to bring a better form of DRS (slo-mos with some consistent common-sense while interpreting the slo-mo) that can be implemented without any hiccups.

Posted by Barnesy4444 on (February 26, 2013, 16:26 GMT)

Indian curators can't grow grass on the pitch? Why is a test pitch breaking up within the first hour? Pretty poor if you ask me. The fact Pattinson took 5 in the first innings shows India can't play fast bowling, they're too comfortable on their dustbowls. Australia have to improve in these bad conditions.

Posted by bumsonseats on (February 26, 2013, 16:26 GMT)

rastus its not up to the captain to walk its not a must do thing, hes played long enough and been given out when he was not out to know its swings and roundabouts. the drs is there to get rid a bad decisions but as india dont want it thats what happens. you cannot expect a person especially were you see from the other side not doing similar.

Posted by ThatsJustCricket on (February 26, 2013, 15:24 GMT)

Love Clark's attitude here. The australians are the touring party here and they need to adjust to the local conditions. Clarke has the grace to accept it and get on with it. Kudos to him.

Posted by krishna_cricketfan on (February 26, 2013, 15:17 GMT)

The comments by Clarke is very nice to hear. This test match was turned around by Dhoni. That to me is the main difference in the match. If the scores were level in 1st innings, then it would have been very difficult for India. the 140 runs ninth wicket partnership took the game away from Aussies. Any match with Australians will be tough and remain a close contest. So we will expect all the tests to be close contest. I expect the pace bowlers to bowl the way they did in Australia. Attack the stumps all the time. If they do, we are in for a thrilling series. And India will keep playing harder now that they has tasted success.

Posted by Rastus on (February 26, 2013, 15:12 GMT)

If it wasn't for Clarke refusing to walk after he was caught out on day 1 the match would have been a lot more one sided.

Posted by Siaer on (February 26, 2013, 14:01 GMT)

My only issue with the pitch was that it deteriorated a little too quickly. When footmarks are showing up inside the first hour on day 1, it is a little over the top, even for a wicket designed to give every advantage to spinners which is arguably Indias strength at the moment. Ashwin is top class, though he has not really been tested outside of India (New Zealand hardly count as quality away opposition).

While I doubt I will see it, a pitch that starts to fall apart midway through day 2 would be just perfect. Gives something to the seamers in the first 4 sessions then starts to really take spin from the midway point of day 2.

Posted by bumsonseats on (February 26, 2013, 13:58 GMT)

in most cases in india, win the toss and win the match. which for most of the asian countries is the norn i read that the aus captain said it looked worse than it played so i take his word for that it certainly looked bad. when england won last year they lost the 1st 3 tosses, which by better selections policy they won the 2nd and 3rd tests. indian players then were found to be no better at playing spin than England if anything England played it better then the so called masters.

Posted by Sirio on (February 26, 2013, 13:58 GMT)

It was a perfect Test cricket match. No deceleration, fantastic innings and good test for both the batsmen and bowlers equal. It looks on superficial analysis as if the Australians are the looser but if you look closely the match was pretty even. It was a well played Test cricket. This game just proved that the test cricket is still alive and is the most superlative form of a competitive cricket.

Posted by pat_one_back on (February 26, 2013, 13:34 GMT)

@CricketMaan, how exactly does a curator expertly prepare dirt? Not being funny and appreciate some genuine insight here, a wicket held togethor by grass, a root system, not too little not too much moisture, I get the art in it but scorched earth devoid of life, rolled dirt when India produce great grass pitches for domestic, are curators artful in these strips or sidelined by the imperative of first day turn?

Posted by gsingh7 on (February 26, 2013, 13:16 GMT)

"At least the Martians aren't renowned for their spin bowling" what poor line from writer . there are no martians , its a myth. also few aussies had played on same pitch in ipl its not like another world , its india , its difficult testing conditions for playing quality spinners , aus failed this test . similar pitches await in other 3 tests.

Posted by bumsonseats on (February 26, 2013, 13:08 GMT)

i am never one to normally say well done Australia. but i feel they were unlucky to loose.

1. they won the toss which should give you a advantage but they did ok with 370 been a not bad score. a score that in most cases should keep you in the game. 2. india without the indian captains score would have been below aus score.this was the type of inning you play once in a lifetime and i would put money on him never doing similar. 3. the aus 2nd innings was above average so put with what i think they should have gained by bowling out india by under the aus 1st inning score say a lead of 280 i think the indian batting on that wicket they would have struggled to pass that score. 4.on the minus side the aussies should have had another spinner which like england they did not do in their 1st test in 2012. by only selecting 3 pase bowlers. so all in all the aus can take positives from the defeat with a 2nd spinner even if they have to send for another. there lies the dilemma

Posted by   on (February 26, 2013, 12:59 GMT)

Has anyone wondered if the stacking of the Aust top order with left handers could be helping India? The 2 best Indian bowlers in the game were both off-spinners, who will tend to take the ball away from the LHBs. Also the two best performing Australian bats were both right handers (Clarke and Henriques). On the other side of the coin, Jadeja the Indian left armer, who will tend to spin the ball into left handers, dismissed 4 right handers and only one left hander (Hughes) in the game.

Posted by Webba84 on (February 26, 2013, 12:44 GMT)

Like Clarkes attitude and agree with him about the pitch, it did afford a good test match and while they are in India its on the Aussie team to adjust to those conditions. I think they have it with them as long as they use their brains and work hard. We will know on the first day of the next test.

Posted by CricketMaan on (February 26, 2013, 12:41 GMT)

There were 2 100s, a 200 and 5 50s, 3 5 wk hauls from both spinners and fast..You can't ask for better than that not just in sub-continent but anywhere in the world. Cricket is played on green top, flat surface, spin and other conditions..this was a bloody good test pitch. Kudos to Chepauk curator. I hope Dhoni thanked him..

Posted by Ms.Cricket on (February 26, 2013, 12:31 GMT)

How can you expect players who have no ability like Phil Hughes and Matthew Wade to back it?

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
Tour Results
India v Australia at Delhi - Mar 22-24, 2013
India won by 6 wickets
India v Australia at Mohali - Mar 14-18, 2013
India won by 6 wickets
India v Australia at Hyderabad (Deccan) - Mar 2-5, 2013
India won by an innings and 135 runs
India v Australia at Chennai - Feb 22-26, 2013
India won by 8 wickets
India A v Australians at Chennai - Feb 16-18, 2013
Match drawn
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