India v Australia, 2nd Test, Hyderabad, 4th day March 5, 2013

'Our shot selection was horrible' - Clarke


Michael Clarke has suggested that there could be changes to Australia's line-up for the third Test in Mohali after what he called "unacceptable" performances from both the batsmen and bowlers in the first two matches. Clarke also conceded that the shot selection of the batsmen had been "horrible" so far on the tour and called on them to show more patience in the middle, as their Indian counterparts had done.

Speaking straight after the defeat by an innings and 135 runs in Hyderabad, Clarke did not foreshadow what team alterations could occur, other than to confirm that he would move up the order from his No.5 position. None of the top four batsmen have averaged more than 30 during the first two Tests, while James Pattinson is the only bowler averaging under 30.

The squad includes three men who are yet to play a Test on this trip - Mitchell Johnson, Usman Khawaja and Steven Smith - and the other two players left out of Hyderabad after the Chennai loss, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon, will also be in consideration. The team has eight days to regroup ahead of the third Test and Clarke said the batting and bowling departments would both be under the microscope.

"We have to look at both areas that's for sure," Clarke said. "Both have been unacceptable, both aren't good enough. We have to try and find ways to improve and if that means making changes that's what we have to do. We made a couple of changes for this Test match. I want to pay credit to India, the way [Cheteshwar] Pujara and Vijay played. Our bowlers in patches bowled really well but they were able to stay together and not lose their wicket and bat patiently."

While the bowlers only claimed one victim on the second day of the Test as Pujara and M Vijay put on 370 for the second wicket, it was the team's first-day batting that really started the rot. After Clarke won the toss and chose to bat Australia struggled to 237, a paltry effort compared to the 503 compiled by India.

The accurate seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar accounted for three of the top four batsmen in the first innings and spin then troubled the rest. Clarke and Matthew Wade looked comfortable during their 145-run partnership but only three other stands reached double figures. That was followed by a second innings collapse on the fourth morning and the entire innings lasted less than two sessions. But the most damning statistic was that Australia made less in the whole match than Pujara and Vijay did in one partnership.

"I think they scored 50 runs in the [first] session, but they had the discipline and the patience to bat long periods of time because they knew as the game went on, second session, third session, they would catch up," Clarke said. "It gets easier. It does. That's the fun part about batting. You do the work at the start of your innings, you get the reward at the end of your innings. At the moment our shot selection has been horrible.

"We need to be smarter with our shot selection, that's for sure. You have seen in the first few Tests too many guys getting out playing across the line of the ball and against the spin especially early in our innings. So I think we have to be more disciplined with our shot selection. But I don't want guys to curb their natural instinct, I don't want guys to try and play a way they aren't comfortable doing.

"We've had the best of conditions, won the toss and batted on both wickets. We knew before coming to India how important the first innings was going to be. There is more variable bounce, more spin, it is harder to bat in the second innings. That doesn't excuse today, that's for sure. We still should be doing than we did today and yesterday but our first innings has really let us down as a batting unit."

The result was Australia's first innings defeat since the Sydney Ashes Test in 2010-11, when Clarke found himself in charge of the Test side for the first time as the stand-in captain when Ricky Ponting was injured. When asked to offer his overall thoughts following the second-innings collapse for 131, Clarke was blunt in his assessment.

"It's probably more polite of me by not putting it into words," Clarke said. "It's obviously unacceptable. Very disappointing. I certainly don't want to take any credit away from India, I thought they played very well yesterday, they showed us once again how to bat in these conditions, they showed us once you get in how to go on and cash in and make a big score.

"Our performances in these two Test matches have been unacceptable, certainly nowhere near the standard we are trying to set as an Australian cricket team. There's plenty of people that not only watch us on TV but fly around the world to support us and watch us and we know we've let them down."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Desmond on March 7, 2013, 3:46 GMT

    If you remove 370 from India's total, it leaves only 133. But, then you can also remove 145 from Australia's total leaving them with 92 in the first innings. The two teams are nearly the same if you remove Pujara, Vijay, Clark & Wade from the first innings equation.

  • Michael on March 6, 2013, 23:32 GMT

    The senior Test players are earning $500k-$1m each per year and this does not include the IPL takings if they participate or any other T20i tournament. Even if they lose the test series 4-0, they still get paid handsomely from CA and their sponsors.

    So why should they care apart from turning up.

    Performance pay is the way to go and not just paying them a secure salary.

  • Dummy4 on March 6, 2013, 22:01 GMT

    Unbelievable. Why can't pup accept that Indians are Champions. Its okay to lose to a champion side.

  • David on March 6, 2013, 19:55 GMT

    It is not the shot selection that was terrible, it was the player selection, the team selection, that was horrible. It would be harder to select a worse shot than selecting Hughes against spin! What other result than horrible shot selection can be expected when selecting horrible players!

  • Peter on March 6, 2013, 19:36 GMT

    @Beertjie. Correction accepted. I was thinking of the following drawn series but got the year mixed up, the point is still relevent, though, the past 12 seasons, India has been untouchable at the back end of the season. A good record indeed.

  • Dummy4 on March 6, 2013, 11:34 GMT

    it just so happens as australia are so totally lost against spin, ashwin and jadeja have found excellent form and rhythm. jadeja is the star , he has been really aggressive. b kumar is a revelation also with the ball

    R Ashwin (India) 2 4 117.0 36 302 18 7/103 12/198 16.77 2.58 39.0 3 1 RA Jadeja (India) 2 4 101.0 30 209 11 3/33 6/66 19.00 2.06 55.0 0

    both ashwin and jadeja are wiping the floor with them. for a spinner averages under 20 are not common.

    looking at pattinson, its obvious where australia's strengths lie - pace bowling. We should have 2-3 additional pace bowlers of pattos quality(there are a few at home like jackson bird, johnson could be given a go, as well as ben cutting)

    and also our batsman- all are woeful.

    first of all VC watson, shouldn't be near a test squad, he's not test standard and clueless against spin

    hughes, his technique has been red flagged enough

    for batting- wheres rogers? doolan? haddin?

  • Mashuq on March 6, 2013, 9:57 GMT

    One correction @Chris_P on (March 6, 2013, 6:08 GMT) It is not true that "the only 3 series losses India have had in the past 13 years at home have all come at the front of their season where the pitches behaves a little better." In 2000 South Africa defeated India at the back end of the season.

  • RICHARD on March 6, 2013, 9:45 GMT

    Welcome to Reality Australia. Gone are the players that made you almost unbeatable in the 90's 00's, we all know you are rebuilding, and the rotational resting of players does not help your cause. The selectors are making some bad players choices , giving some players lots of chances and others no chance of even getting into the team. I personally still feel sorry for Brad Haddin he had family problems and left the team to be with his family, after that he hasn't had even a sniff of getting back in the team, i still rate him as a keeper and batsman maybe cos i do not like Wade due to his iffy keeping technique dropping more than the occasional ball.

  • Michael on March 6, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    Its easy to for Clarke to say our batsmen need patience like the Indian batsmen.But the fact is, the Indian bowlers rarely bowl a short ball or half volley unlike the Aussie spinners who were throwing up 1 2 or 3 bad balls an over.

  • Roo on March 6, 2013, 7:53 GMT

    'Our shot selection was horrible' - Clarke

    Hmm... Clarke not protecting his stumps properly - bowled twice by Jadega & a loose shot in his other dismissal... Guess pup will be telling off that "other" fellow in the mirror :P ...