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

Hayden helps struggling batsmen


Few Australian batsmen are more qualified to give advice on scoring runs in India than Matthew Hayden and Michael Clarke, and the two men were locked in intense discussions out on the field after the end of the Hyderabad Test. Following the Chennai defeat, Clarke enlisted the help of Shane Warne to speak to the spin-bowling group and a similar scenario played out with Hayden in Hyderabad, as the Australians practised at a time when the second session should have been under way.

A makeshift net was set up around the Test-match pitch and the batsmen rotated through a centre-wicket batting session against the spinners and the two left-arm fast bowlers, Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc. While the coach Mickey Arthur and his assistant Steve Rixon watched from behind the batsman, Hayden, the batting coach Michael di Venuto and a padded-up Clarke stood to the side. They spoke between themselves and to whichever batsmen weren't in at the time, Hayden demonstrating stances and footwork during his hour-long stay.

Hayden is the only Australian who has scored more Test runs in India than Clarke's 954; his 1027 runs came at an average of 51.35 across three tours from 2001 to 2008. He entered the first tour desperately in need of some big scores to secure his place as a Test opener and he responded with 119, 28 not out, 97, 67, 203 and 35. Much of his success against spin came because he employed the sweep shot to great effect.

England's batsmen also swept well during their series victory in India late last year, but when David Warner and Phillip Hughes tried the shot against R Ashwin coming over the wicket on the third day in Hyderabad, both were bowled around their legs. Hayden, who is in India commentating on the series, said on Star Sports before the fourth day's play that Warner had fallen into the trap of sweeping a ball that was too full, meaning his stumps were vulnerable.

"The line was good to sweep. The length, though, was questionable," Hayden said. "We saw with Davey Warner that was a very full length and even though I loved to sweep the very first instinct I had in my mind was actually about whether the ball was full or not. In fact I'm sure bat-pad thought I was crazy, because as soon as I saw any width I'd yell out the word 'full' and that would get my feet moving into that position.

"The ball that we saw Hughes get out on was actually the perfect length to sweep. But what is the perfect length? Because if you're short or tall, your perfect lengths vary. That's a very personal thing. And for me the whole bat-pad routine, you're not really worried about a bat-pad if you're looking to play aggressively. They only come into play when you're feeling a little tentative or your footwork is slow and the ball is turning. You need the aggressive options.

"That's exactly why you want to either get the ball on the full to cover the spin, and also sweep on line and when the offspinner is coming around the wicket, you can't be out lbw. It's always got to be outside the line of leg stump."

The Australians batted for more than an hour and a half on the Hyderabad pitch after their innings defeat, trying out different strategies and shots. Hughes advanced to a few deliveries, which he had been reluctant to against Ashwin during the two Tests, but there remained plenty of work for all of the batsmen ahead of the third Test, which starts in Mohali on Thursday next week.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Bob on March 6, 2013, 12:16 GMT

    How long have Australia known they were touring India ? How much notice did they take of England's recent success ? Here they are after two defeats suddenly talking about playing spin.. I thought everyone knew, you take decent spinners and decent players of spin to India.. They call it preparation.. Australia have without a shadow of a doubt proved the truth of the old saying: Fail to prepare - prepare to fail

  • RAJARAMAN on March 6, 2013, 12:05 GMT

    Fleming_Mitch ... it is to the same team that you lost in your own den that India lost in its ... may be England is the superior team ... current aus team is the worst to tour India ...

  • Satish on March 6, 2013, 11:18 GMT

    Now hopefully something good can come out of this, Hayden and Clarke will improve this batting hope for 2-2 now.OzOzOZOIOiOi

  • Harmon on March 6, 2013, 8:52 GMT

    @chin-music: Oh Really? To me it clearly means that Clarke has no idea what to do. On the other hand MSD's statements clearly showed he knew WHAT was wrong WHERE. It would be a foolish man who would not say it was the wicket that had rendered his fast bowlers toothless. It would be a foolish man who would not say that it was the pressure of scoring runs vs the spinners that was causing his batsmen to fail. Some ppl think think that enumerating the various causes of the loss equate to offering excuses. No where did MSD ever say anything that can be seen as an excuse. An excuse is when a batsman says that he was unlucky to get out when in fact he had clearly nicked the ball. An excuse would be if MSD says that the conditions were not good for swing when in fact it was cloudy the whole day. Clarke at the moment has ZERO idea how to move forward, may be he doesn't even know what is wrong with the team else he'd not have dropped Lyon.

    High time some ppl became less Over-Neutral.

  • Terry on March 6, 2013, 8:43 GMT

    This current situation of coaches and advisors and dvd analysis seems to have bred a bunch of cricketers who need to be told what to do and how to perform. Firstly this advice from a left hander who had success in India should have been organised a month ago and secondly players like Hughes, Warner etc should have been seeking it themselves. Khawaja should have been in the team for the last year and a proper promising (right hand) batsmen like Doolan should have been brought on this tour instead of one of the bits and pieces cricketers like Smith.

  • Dummy4 on March 6, 2013, 8:37 GMT

    Now steven smith being considered for a test match. Aussies are just gunning for fitness and attitude and not skills. Got selection all wrong.

  • Sumit on March 6, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    @in-dipper : As an Indian, I've got to agree with you. While Aussie results on this tour are a mirror image of India's during their 4-0 horror show - the Indian team can learn something from the attitude that the Aus team is showing even in its darkest moment. I have not heard Clarke bleating about pitch/umpire/injury/bad luck etc , just simply accepting that he was outplayed - & most importantly , then getting straight into the nets or trying whatever is needed to claw back ( unlike India with their "if we holiday & close our eyes, this horror seies will magically turnaround by the time we open them" attitude.

  • Ross on March 6, 2013, 2:58 GMT

    These losses for us wouldn't be so incredibly soul destroying if we were losing to a great team. But we are being crushed by a good Indian team that lost to England, and that just makes our meek capitulation so sad. I fear that the Ashes series, both home and away, are shaping up to be a massacre. We might jag a test or two in the home series, but does anyone seriously think the current team is even close to the standard that the soap-dodgers thumped here a few seasons back? Some important changes must include bringing in Khawaja at 3, move Watson back to opening, get either of Holland or Haurtiz back as spinners and get Cummins fit again. Pattinson, Cummins, and Starc are our future bowling attakc. Reading many perceptive and unfortunately accurately predictive blog comments over recent years, while simultaneously watching CA's ham-fisted, money-grabbing approach to scheduling, reminds me of a certan fiddle-playing Roman emperor.

  • Brenton on March 6, 2013, 1:59 GMT

    Why is a man who never even played test cricket Australia's batting coach? What does he know about facing test bowling at all let alone in India? Is that a problem I wonder?

  • Ben on March 6, 2013, 0:06 GMT

    Although Australia are not in the same league playing India in India, I am impressed with their work rate. At no stage during either tests have they push the fielders delaying the declaration and training straight after the game is another sign of their strive to win. You can't fault their attitude, its just that they don't have the quality of players for the conditions to put on the park. I remember another team after they were badly beaten in Australia going on holidays the day after the test.

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