Australia in India 2012-13 March 7, 2013

Need to take pressure off Clarke - Wade


Australia's wicketkeeper Matthew Wade has said the batsmen need to find the right balance between patience and aggression if they are to give Michael Clarke the support he needs to turn the Test tour of India around. Clarke has scored more than twice as many runs as any other member of Australia's top six during the first two Tests and will move up the order from No.5 for the third Test in Mohali in an effort to exert greater influence on Australia's batting innings.

More than a quarter of Australia's runs in the series have come off the bat of Clarke but only two batsmen have accompanied him for meaningful partnerships, Moises Henriques, in a 151-run stand in Chennai, and Wade for a 145-run partnership in Hyderabad. That ended when Wade cut a catch to backward point off Harbhajan Singh for 62, the ball after a missed stumping, and Wade said he knew he had thrown away a chance to really influence the game.

"Michael has had to score a truckload of runs for us," Wade said. "I felt very disappointed when I got out in this Test match. We'd put on nearly 150 runs and we were both really going. If I could have hung around with him, it could have been endless. Individually we'd like to stick around with him and help him out a little bit more and take the pressure off him. But I'm sure he's going to keep scoring runs no matter what."

For most of Australia's batsmen getting starts has not been the problem, but rather finding a way to stay at the crease long and push through to a much longer innings. In some cases they have fallen trying to force some runs to relieve pressure, while in other instances they have found themselves too tentative. Achieving the right balance is a fine art that the Indian batsmen have mastered in this series.

"Getting a boundary away or playing a scoring shot relieves the pressure a little bit," Wade said. "It's hard work to try to stay mentally in your game plan and not go away from that when the spinners are bowling really well. One thing that I definitely saw in the first innings [in Hyderabad] is when you do get on top, things start to happen a lot quicker. You can go from 20 to 50 quickly in these conditions.

"We might have to be a little bit more aggressive at times to get India to do something different because if they get into a rhythm and just bowl dot after dot, the game's not going anywhere for us. We're just sitting ducks. We've got to try to be a little bit more aggressive and put the pressure back on their bowlers."

However, in some cases when the Australians have tried to do just that it has cost them their wickets. Two Tests in to the series, the batsmen are starting to realise just how difficult the Indian conditions can be in Test cricket, which is a new experience for all but Clarke and Shane Watson among the batting group. Wade said the first two Tests had "definitely" been a wake-up call for the batsmen, who had a centre-wicket practice session on the Hyderabad pitch on what should have been day five of the Test.

"The West Indies [2012 tour] was similar to these kinds of conditions, big-spinning wickets, hard to score, good spinners, good quicks bowling reverse," Wade said. "Coming from Australian conditions to these conditions is a massive difference and it has taken a little bit of time to adapt. But that's no excuse. We had two trials games where our batters got good innings and our bowlers had a good bowl.

"We were a little bit flat [after the loss] but training has helped the mood, to get out there and start honing our skills again. Going to a ground day five when you were supposed to be playing, it's not a great result when you are there training, but everyone was pretty focused individually on how to get better. The bigger thing is that as a team we need to get better so as the training session went on people got a little more relaxed and came out of their shell."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Roo on March 9, 2013, 4:00 GMT

    Wade shouldn't have to make these statements - where's the vice captain & what is he doing to take the pressure off from Clarke?...

    Watto with a batting average @25.2 since being named VC is the worst of the current top 7 batsmen during this period - Wade @37.62 with 2 centuries to Watto's zero cenuries... Actually Hughes @28.09 is only slightly higher during this period & both must be under pressure to build some noticeable scores to keep their positions...

  • Vivek on March 8, 2013, 14:06 GMT

    well there is all talk about the comeback of India and Aussies dismissal... bring Brad hodge in the team and ages doen't count....he is the best player and he can tackle spinners and adjusted to this conditions...

    my team:- 1. Warner 2. Watson 3. Cowan 4. Clarke 5. Hodge 6. Wade 7. Henriques 8. Maxwell 9. Johnson 10. Pattinson 11. Beer/ Doherty

    love to see Beer in the playing XI..

  • Mashuq on March 8, 2013, 12:10 GMT

    Some good picks for the Ashes line-up @ AussieFan on (March 8, 2013, 0:05 GMT) However Bird will likely not be fit after the initial prognosis which is a big loss. Cummins ought to work toward proper match fitness (return Ashes) by going on the A team tour. I'd have Starc for Bird and possibly Fawad Ahmed (if he continues his good form in the last Shield game) might make the squad, otherwise Lyon. I'd take Ferguson and Hughes as back up. Rogers too might be worth having around and about for a year or so. Paine is fit again and his batting is improving, so Wade would be a mistake because keeping in England is tough.

  • gurinder on March 8, 2013, 12:00 GMT

    anyone thinking mohali will be a green top is deluding himself. mohali will be quite similar to hyderabad. i have seen plenty matches there. scoring will be slow and easy. will be rank turner from day 3 onwards. if india bat first on this pitch then it will be 3-0 india on day 3

  • Lewis on March 8, 2013, 11:46 GMT

    If the team was going to play 2 spinners then Doherty was always going to play which means Maxwell was selected ahead of Lyon. That just doesn't work. Lyon now must wonder when he is a part of a team where he had to hold up the tenth wicket so we can get some runs and then carry out the drinks for a pretend spinner who would struggle to get a run in Sydney Grade cricket 4 openers 3 of whom are woefully out of nick. Hughes has so far faced 30 balls from spinners in the 2 tests for 3 outs and no runs still trying to square cut balls that are too close. Watson thinks he can flog everything that comes his way and poor old Ed Cowan looks totally lost. Khawaja is not the saviour but he is among our top 6 best batsman and should be getting a fair crack. This is my team to play the third test: Warner Watson (needs to step up) Hughes or Cowan Clarke Khawaja Henriques Wade Hauritz Pattinson Starc Siddle

  • Steven on March 8, 2013, 9:02 GMT

    Why are people still going on about Hodge? He's 38, not really a long format player anymore and there's young talent worthy of the role. Forget Hodge, good player but just not for our test team.

  • S on March 8, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    i think all will be well if Mohali wicket plays the way it does. 2-1 India going into 4th test

  • Will on March 8, 2013, 8:16 GMT

    broken_chairs, problem is, with scores of 6, 0, 19 and 0, he's not going to get much experience against spin... And we still don't know if he can handle any pace attack better than Sri Lanka's.

  • Martin on March 8, 2013, 8:11 GMT

    @NixNixon You're not far off the mark with that squad. The Aus selectors will not pick Hodge for the Ashes...but if they aren't considering him at all then they aren't thinking properly.

  • Vedhamuthy on March 8, 2013, 7:48 GMT

    One thing I like about Aussies is that they are very honest in their assessment. Their attitude is so good which can be gauged by their training session during the 5th day of the test...Needless to say, our Indians would have opted for optional training session as usual...They will definitely bounce back...