India v Australia, 3rd Test, Mohali, 3rd day

Dhawan the villain in another Australian horror show

Not for the first time in recent Tests, Australia received a hammering from a ruthless, risk-free innings

Brydon Coverdale

March 16, 2013

Comments: 70 | Text size: A | A

Michael Clarke's reaction of disapproval as India's openers scored freely, India v Australia, 3rd Test, Mohali, 3rd day, March 16, 2013
It was another horror day in the field for Michael Clarke's team © BCCI
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As he walked off the field at the end of his first day of batting in Test cricket, Shikhar Dhawan gave his impressive moustache a twirl. It's the kind of facial hair you expect to see on a movie villain and in the minds of Australia's bowlers, that's exactly what Dhawan was today. Every spectator at the Punjab Cricket Association Ground, Indian or not, was enthralled by Dhawan's scene-stealing performance. But for Australia's players, it was a horror film from which they could not escape.

Dhawan's innings was exquisite. It wasn't just the record of being the fastest century ever by a player on Test debut. It was the way he scored his runs. His placement was impeccable. If there was a gap, he found it. Thirty-three boundaries attest to his precision. There were wonderful back-foot drives of which Ricky Ponting would have been proud, drives through cover, cuts, glances, all class. He reached a hundred from 85 balls but did it without hitting in the air.

He was breathtaking, but Australia have been here before, and a little too recently for comfort. Hashim Amla destroyed them at the WACA in December with a similarly sublime innings, ruthless yet risk-free. Amla's hundred came from 87 balls and he destroyed them through the leg side, even if they bowled outside off. Here, Dhawan's strength was the off side and while it is possible that in form like this he was simply untouchable, the Australians could have asked more questions of his leg-side play.

After India finished the day at 283 for 0 and Dhawan went to stumps on 185 from 168 balls, Mitchell Starc was asked what the Australians could have done differently. He noted that Dhawan was so strong through the off side that even an off-stump line was probably granting him too much width. But then where do you bowl? It's a very fine line finding the right line to a batsman like Dhawan, but testing him more on middle and leg might have been wise.

Consider this: of the 185 runs that Dhawan scored, only 27 of them came through leg against the seamers or Nathan Lyon - that is, excluding when the ball was spinning in to him. When Xavier Doherty and Steven Smith were on, Dhawan was happy to pull or work the ball to leg, but much less so against anyone else. A consistent leg-stump line might have been defensive, but in the form Dhawan was in it was worth a try with a few catching men on that side.

 
 
So far in this series, the Australian attack has been less successful than any Australian bowling unit ever to visit India.
 

It may not have worked. But good attacks find ways to create chances even if the conditions don't suit or a batsman threatens to have a day out. The only chance Australia created on the third day of this match was a Mankad from the first ball of the innings, and it was accidental. Amla in Perth, MS Dhoni in Chennai, Dhawan in Mohali - the list of batsmen who have created horror days in the field for Michael Clarke's Australians in the past few months is growing a little too quickly for comfort.

It hasn't helped that Australia's spinners have been ineffective. And when it has come to choosing the slow bowlers, there have been more flip-fops at the Australian selection table than there are in a Havaianas factory. In Chennai, Australia chose only Nathan Lyon and he was mauled by Dhoni. In Hyderabad they used Xavier Doherty and Glenn Maxwell, who went wicketless on the only day that mattered. Here, they have employed Lyon and Doherty and it was all the same story.

Australia's spinners don't have the guile and variation required to succeed in India, or at least they haven't been allowed to display it. An enormous part of the problem is of course that India's batsmen are so adept at playing spin. It's as if their first steps as toddlers must have been down the wicket. Dhawan and M Vijay were no different in this innings, confidently advancing to Lyon and Doherty and dispatching them with breathtaking ease.

Lyon went at 4.6 an over, Doherty cost 5.7 an over and three tripe-filled overs from Steven Smith leaked eight an over. Perhaps they will improve on the fourth day, but the damage has been done. Australia had to win this Test to have any chance of retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and a first-innings of 408 at least gave them something to bowl at. So far, the bowlers haven't been up to it.

Of course, the selectors didn't help themselves by banning James Pattinson, their best bowler of the series, over the so-called homework task. It was a decision made for long-term gain, but they are now experiencing the inevitable short-term pain. Pattinson and Mitchell Johnson might not regret their lapse, if it means avoiding a hiding. But this is far from the first day of the tour that has provided headaches for Clarke in the field.

So far in this series, the Australian attack has been less successful than any Australian bowling unit ever to visit India. As things stood at stumps on day three, their collective strike-rate was 102.81 for the series. That equates to a wicket every 17 overs. Keep that up and they'll be in the field for 170 overs per innings.

It might improve if they can find some traction on day four, but for now it is an atrocious record. By comparison, the struggling team led by Ricky Ponting in 2008 toiled for 87.57 balls per wicket. The victorious side under Adam Gilchrist in 2004 broke through every 50.26 deliveries. Wickets win matches. Wicketless days usually lead to defeats.

Perhaps their only blessing is that the washed-out first day has left them with a decent chance of salvaging a draw. The series is gone, but from here a draw would be a positive step. Surely things can only improve after the horror movie they witnessed on day three in Mohali. Can't they?

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

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Posted by HatsforBats on (March 17, 2013, 13:54 GMT)

@ Deepushanmukh, if you read my comments again you'll see that I have not criticised or complained about the pitches presented on this tour. I have merely stated that as a spectator I prefer watching seam & spin bowling have equal assistance over five days (a common occurrence on Australian pitches). I agree with you, the Aus selectors are completely at fault for not having selected either the best or form spinners for this tour. Doherty is not test standard, as is readily apparent by his FC record, and Maxwell & Smith are part-timers at best. I do believe Lyon is our best spinner and he has a lot of talent, unfortunately since his debut he has begun bowling consistently quicker and with less flight, presumably at the behest of the coaching staff and his own lack of intelligence.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (March 17, 2013, 10:23 GMT)

This tour is one endless horroshow for Australia, theyve spent the last year playing minnow sides liek themselves and now they finally cpme up against the top 6 teams in the world and they struggle big time.

Posted by   on (March 17, 2013, 9:28 GMT)

@big boodha: australia produced fair pitches?!?!!? did any australian pitch turned?!?!?!dont say warnie turned nu..after his retirement u ppl are searching for spinners oly if u guys produce a rack which spins u can identify a spinner otherwise u'll be left with lyon and doherts who r gud at throwing darts rather than spinning the ball

Posted by HatsforBats on (March 17, 2013, 9:10 GMT)

@ AnoopKerala, as per my previous statement, a pitch should assist pace and spin over five days. If a team consisted of four spinners & one quick the pitch is obviously not going to assist seam bowling. Sydney, Adelaide and the gabba all support spin bowling and Australia has produced the greatest leg spinners. For the record, I have no issue with the pitches produced in this series and I am not blaming them for the collective abject batting performances of the Australian team.

Posted by deepushanmukh on (March 17, 2013, 8:42 GMT)

@hatsforbats: it is not fair to complain about the pitch, everyone in the world knows Indian pitches are meant for spinners, like Australian pitches meant for seamers, so knowing the fact about spinning in India, you guys should have picked ur quality spinners, u can't ask much from ur pace bowlers, u can't expect them to blow off the stumps where there isn't much for them...well, when india tours a nation like Australia, they choose the best of their seamers. coz they know spinners can't get wickets there...ur selection committee should have been more considerative to spinners...it's like a kid bringing a hockey stick while he is playing soccer....

Posted by HatsforBats on (March 17, 2013, 7:58 GMT)

@Aditya Anchuri, why did Warne struggle in India? Apparently because curators in India believe it is fair to manipulate specific areas of the pitch to nullify any movement he might have achieved. Fair play?

Posted by VivGilchrist on (March 17, 2013, 7:28 GMT)

I hope I get published as I only have a 25% success rate. Poor selections have led to where Australia is right now. To have Doherty picked ahead of OKeefe (Australas best performed domestic spinner by a mile) smacks of bias and arrogance on behalf of the selectors. The less said of suspending Pattinson (Aus best bowler on tour) the better. Khawaja surely would have passed Hughes 2 runs also. Not choosing an experiences head to cover Hussey and taking a spare keeper in a squad of 17 also defies belief. This team is screaming out for Boof Lehmann.

Posted by Great_Chucker on (March 17, 2013, 7:04 GMT)

@popcorn Swann and Panesar Better than Warne..that's is the biggest joke of century...English got lucky cause of the Shewag & Gambhir pair not working ..... spirit of the game of cricket crap...Ian bell incident during india's tour of England, Ricky pointing ,Sysmond not walking even after knicking the ball when batting...Aussies have to win even in Indian conditions to be called a gr8 team...

@TheBigBoodha worry about your own team mate ..they can't win against minnows even after their curator preparing 600+ pitch

Posted by GRVJPR on (March 17, 2013, 6:42 GMT)

@TheBigBoodha Then ask your curators to create extra green green tops. Would only benefit our bowlers. In past India used to play only 1 fast bowlers in australia, england etc and 3 spinners. So obviously the opponents batting looked better having not to face seamers themselves. Also who forget hooror show of australia "49 all out" against likes of steyn, morkel. Atleast India returned with a respectable 1-1 draw series from south africa.

Posted by AnoopKerala on (March 17, 2013, 6:28 GMT)

I found some comic comments of Australians. HatsforBats said " Pitches that don't support fully half the bowling skill set of cricket are less interesting to me as a spectator". The thing is that you people (England & Australia) set the world cricket by using 4 seamers and 1 spinner. Why can't you use 4 spinners and 1 seamer? The answer is simple. You have pitches supporting quicks only. Shane Warne is a genius and so only he is a success. Even England cricket team now adopt to play spin pitches. They have quality spin playing batsman like KP, Bell, Trescothik etc. But Aussies, South Africans & Newzelanders are still not trying to make changes in their batting set up. Even India & Sri Lanka tried to adopt fast tracks. The problem is it is the survival of the fittest only. So play in a cricket pitch, don't complain greeny or dusty.

Posted by Collegefastbowler on (March 17, 2013, 6:17 GMT)

The Mohali pitch is relatively flat and good for batting. How else can Starc score 99 and the last few wickets added a significant number of runs to the Australian total? Yet the spinners got wickets and Ishant also showed that the pitch aided reverse swing. Dry abrasive pitches do help reverse but you need sufficient airspeed to be able to exploit it. Only Patterson in this Australian side appears to have sufficient pace to be able to do that and the rest have struggled.

Posted by   on (March 17, 2013, 6:16 GMT)

@Ken McCarron: There are many ways to skin a cat, and there's no monopoly on what a "good pitch" should look like. As long as it produces a decent result which takes 4 days to achieve, that's a good pitch in my book. If all pitches looked the same it would be a very boring game. Also, India had a pretty decent and much improved overseas record in the last decade until we started losing. We won Test matches at Headingley, Durban, Adelaide, Perth, Trinidad, Barbados, Johannesburg, and Trent Bridge. We didn't complain about the pitches.

Posted by   on (March 17, 2013, 6:01 GMT)

@HatsforBats: Look, good fast bowlers can get wickets in India. Glenn McGrath had an excellent record here. Wasim Akram, Malcolm Marshall did excellent too. As did Zaheer, Javagal Srinath. Seaming pitches don't always spin. Also, if India was so good for spinners, why on earth did Warne/Murali struggle so much here? In general, Indian pitches are pretty flat, good batting tracks, and have always been. Australia is a dry country, but the soils are very different and that plays a big role.

If all pitches around the world looked the same, Test cricket wouldn't be interesting. I think it's up to the players to adjust to different conditions and not complain. At the end of the day what matters to me as a spectator is we get a result, and the game is interesting to watch. And the cricket in this series has been pretty interesting so far.

Posted by HatsforBats on (March 17, 2013, 4:16 GMT)

@ Aditya Anchuri, there is no double standard. A seaming pitch on day one will support spin on days thee-five. A pitch that spins on day one will rarely support seam bowling, at most the quicks may get the use of variable bounce (a criterion the ICC uses to identify poor/unsafe pitches). Pitches that don't support fully half the bowling skill set of cricket are less interesting to me as a spectator. Also, Australia is the driest (inhabited) continent on earth, and over the years we have seen the soil composition of the WACA changed by the curators. I'm sure the BCCI has the power to develop more pitches to support fast bowling, which in future may help prevent further touring scorelines of 8-0.

Posted by   on (March 17, 2013, 4:15 GMT)

@popcorn, @TheBigBoodha: I don't think even Australia would prepare greentops at home, because your batsmen struggle as well when there's a bit of movement, as we say in the Ashes Tests back in 2010. As far as the 2004 Mumbai track is concerned, there is very little in the preparation in the sense of being "deliberate". Sometimes, the weather is drier, you don't water the pitches much in India anyway, and you will occasionally get a dusty track. It happens in Indian domestic cricket as well occasionally. As far as the "spirit of the game" is concerned, why is there a monopoly on how an "ideal pitch" should behave? As long as it's not cracking up like crazy and threatening batsmen with injury, any pitch is fair game. It's up to the players to adjust. Honestly, before India lost 8-0 recently, our overseas record was vastly improved under Ganguly and Dravid. We didn't complain too much about greentops, and got on with the job. We ended up winning Test matches at Headingley and Durban.

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (March 17, 2013, 3:11 GMT)

The problem, @Aditya Anchuri, is that these tracks have been deliberately changed to favour the Indian team. This track used to be good for quicks, but now balls are bouncing waist high. Imagine if Australia put out total green tops for India when they toured? Australian groundsmen know the weaknesses of Indian batsmen, and deliberately create easier tracks for them, so that the game doesn't end in 3 days. They have always done this. But your Indian groundsmen, pressured by the admin, do everything in their power to manipulate conditions to their favour. This includes doctoring specific parts of the pitch, as the groundsmen in the first test clearly admitted. This is totally against the spirit of the game.

Posted by popcorn on (March 17, 2013, 3:10 GMT)

@Aditya Anchuri,you forget that the so -called great cricketer Polly Umrigar,curator, created a dust bowl for the Mumbai Test in 2004. The match finished in two and a half days. Part time soinner Michael Clarke got 6 for 9. ICC should have banned the pitch or declared the match null and void.Please check fior tyourself - IS THAT THE USUAL CHARACTYTER OF THE WANKHEDE STADIUM PITCH? You can - sitting thousands of miles away, predict the pace and bounce at the Gabba,Adelaide Oval, WACA,MCG, SCG, Hobart. The TEXTURE NEVER changes. A GOOD pitch assists batsmen,pace bowlers and spin bowlers. A well -prepared pitch deteriorates SLOWLY over 5 days. Not on Day One like in India.And Mohali is supposed to assist pacers, right? Even your Dhoni said it looks different. Sure it was.assists Sic.Oh, and by the way, you have the Aussies to thank for Dhawan's century.He was out first ball without scoring. Clarke and the fielders should have appealed. But didn't. Upholding the Spirit of the game.

Posted by KKForever on (March 17, 2013, 3:10 GMT)

@Popcorn: what does playing fair mean? Preparing pitches which do not assist spin? May be Spin bowling in The subcontinent should be banned to make things fair and square - if that's what playing fair means

Posted by maddy20 on (March 17, 2013, 2:59 GMT)

@popcorn So by playing fair you mean preparing fast bouncy wickets and generously let the Aussies keep the BG trophy? Would Aus return the favor? Last I checked when India toured what we saw was 4 pacers wrecking havoc on our batting lineup. Besides, this pitch has something in it for the faster bowlers. Ishant proved it with consistent reverse. How he setup starc in the morning was brilliant to watch, so was the spell at the end of day two when he got Haddin and Cowan. He stuck to his plan of bowling a good line, length and reaped the benefits of it. Starc and Siddle were just too wayward. And the so called "Aussie Spinners" were bowling darts at our batsmen at 90 KPH that too mostly short, down the legside or juicy full tosses/over pitched stuff. You come to India with such a team and expect to win? Seriously?

Posted by thelapal on (March 17, 2013, 2:52 GMT)

Mistakes australia made siddle was given chance to bat up the order than starc especially when there middle order smith,haddin and henriques all these batsmen are right handers sending starc will have left and right combination at the crease which can cause problems to bowlers which exactly happened when smith and strac were batting. Also if you go with records siddle highest score is only 43 with avg of 14.65 and starc has 68 against SA with 24.12 avg.even records say starc is better batsmen. We can see the damage caused for the australia bowling attack for axing their strike bowler pattinson.when you dont have a strike bowler why they axe strike bowlers .Australia is having problem of all round phobia henriques,maxwell,watson,smith now strac will join the list with his 99, henriques innings in chennai test and cemented his place now smith and strac did the same so where is the place for a quality bowler like pattinson in team axe another spinner for delhi test lyon or dhoherthy?

Posted by InnocentGuy on (March 17, 2013, 2:48 GMT)

It's good to see India dominating again at home at least, albeit against a pretty weak Australian outfit. I still expect them to get hammered by South Africa in the upcoming tour. But if Dhawan, Vijay, Pujara, Jadeja, and probably even Rahane, all get a chance to bat there, I'd be happy even if we get whitewashed. It's so much better than getting whitewashed with the same old non-performing team. This has been a good easing-in for these players into Test cricket. The next logical step is to expose them to foreign conditions, and against a superior side. It will be a tremendous learning experience at the least. And I actually expect this top order to put up a good fight.

Posted by csr11 on (March 17, 2013, 2:47 GMT)

The side the australians got to India has been wanting for skills, especially in the spin department and in the batting. One could argue that they went a bit over the top with homeworkgate, but they can't be faulted for sitting there and letting things drift. They figured out soon enough that Lyon wouldn't cut it, and yesterday just showed they were right. Unlike the indian selectors - what new did we try out in those horror tours of England and Australia?

Posted by moase on (March 17, 2013, 2:46 GMT)

This is a pointless, overly negative article that adds absolutely nothing. Yes Australia does not have great spinners, but there's nothing anyone can really do about that - best to just focus on how well India have played them wouldn't you think? Dhawan played sublimely well, particularly for a man on debut. Australia do not have the talent to take 20 wickets in these conditions facing these batsmen, particularly in a rain-affected match, but at least they're toiling away and giving it a crack. Your only suggestion - bowl at middle and leg?? On that pitch?? Please. Also, you can't make statements like "Consider this: of the 185 runs that Dhawan scored, only 27 of them came through leg against the seamers or Nathan Lyon - that is, excluding when the ball was spinning in to him." That is NOT a statistic. You either take out all the runs made against Doherty and Smith from the 185, or you include all runs made on the leg side.

Posted by   on (March 17, 2013, 2:46 GMT)

India played well and they had a great day. but the team is still inexperienced and needs another 10 tests to settle down.. there would be bad days and the team must be supported.. fans give the team some time.. dont jump for the kill when your spinner takes 12 wickets in a series after taking 50 in the previous 2 .. simillarly let the opening pair bat for 10 tests...

Posted by MrMojoRisin on (March 17, 2013, 2:43 GMT)

Disagree about unfair or doctored pitches. The pitch is the same for both teams. There is also the small matter of winning the toss, which along with the weather/cloud presence can change the equation as well. We have won in India before, when we had McGrath and GIllespie (who I rate higher than McGrath). The South Africans have done MUCH better than us,and we all know they've never had a test class spinner, leave alone a Warnie or a Murali. Simple put, we just do not have good enough bowlers. I know we can point to the Aussie bowling units performances against the Indians in Australia. I think that was purely a combination of bad batting by the ageing India stalwarts, some good bowling (thanks to McDermott) and helpful wickets.

Posted by OneEyedAussie on (March 17, 2013, 2:36 GMT)

Mitchell Starc is reliant on swing to get wickets and Siddle's bowling method isn't well suited to Indian conditions. Throw on top of that the mediocrity of Doherty and Lyon's lack of experience and you have a recipe for disaster (from an Aussie perspective in any case!).

Posted by   on (March 17, 2013, 1:59 GMT)

michel johnson could be a good change in the aussie side but no....we will not give him a chance!!! first they faced sehwag storm..........now they face dhawan storm

Posted by   on (March 17, 2013, 1:28 GMT)

Yes @Aditya Anchuri, it is unfair for pitches to spin from Day 1. A good wicket has a little bit in it for the quicks on Day 1, flattens out into a good batting strip from the middle of Day 1 to the middle of Day 4 and then turns a bit over the last day or so. That is the normal wicket you get in Australia, England, generally in South Africa (although Newlands has been a bit dodgy of late) and even in Pakistan. The Indians wickets are terrible and prevent the Indian side from being able to adapt to different wickets across the globe!

Posted by V-Man_ on (March 17, 2013, 1:04 GMT)

@popcorn: So next time india visit australia, they can expect the pitches to provide turn and bounce from day one!!!!! I guess not. i assume you are a case of the sour grape.

Posted by cricketforpeace on (March 17, 2013, 0:51 GMT)

@popcorn.To say that the Indians "do not play fair" is an unfair comment.By no stretch of imagination could the pitches at Chennai,Hyderabad or Mohali be called "dust bowls".This in itself is a biased and a totally erroneous perspective.The true fact is that this Aussie team is simply not good enough.Great teams do well in any country on any sort of pitches.This Indian team or the past Indian teams were never truly great.The great West Indies teams of the seventies-eighties were simply unstoppable in India.They were unstoppable in all parts of the world. Similarly,B Simpson or Waugh's team played with distinction on these same Indian wickets.They did not cave in like this present Aussie team. Popcorn, please give credit where it is due.The Indians were too good in the past three Test matches.The Aussies do not have simply the technique to play in India.Worsening matters, the Aussie team also shot themselves in the foot by banning their best players. How can it get any better from here?

Posted by pat_one_back on (March 17, 2013, 0:21 GMT)

No question the Aussie attack is toothless at the moment but let's not forget that Aust humble No 9 fell just 1 short of a hundred, Cowan/Warner/Smith should have pressed on themselves, credit to India they couldn't but no surprise the locals have picked up where Starc left off. Patto is better off with the rest, the only question now is whether Aust can play poorly enough to lose what should be a draw.

Posted by Yuji9 on (March 16, 2013, 23:28 GMT)

Lyon needs to bowl in his sweater and cap and channel the great Greg Matthews and dig in for the fight!!! Australia have forgotten that Off-spin and Left-arm orthodox have rarely been attacking weapons in Tests. Only Leg-spin has ever been a strike weapon form of spin for Australia and even Warne the greatest of them all struggled in India - Pace bowling should also be horses for courses with bowlers who don't always strike in Aus conditions becoming more effective in India - i.e Harris/Hilfenhaus/Johnson/Hastings/ Copeland may have been better suited - bowling fast is waste of energy in India they need stamina and bowling craft more than pace - Would have enjoyed seeing what Jackson Bird could have done in this series but I think he has a torn CA rotation muscle - can't believe Dan Christian isn't better than Henriques/Smith/Maxwell for India??? O'Keefe's ability to bat should have put him far ahead of Doherty - have Clarke/Arthur sacrificed this Test in the name of winning? Insanity!

Posted by cricraz on (March 16, 2013, 23:24 GMT)

To Popcorn's comments, that Indians dont play fair by preparing dustbowl is the most ridiculous and ignorant comment and wreaks of "sour grapes" mentality. Why is it fair to prepare green tops and why is the weather so friendly for the ball to swing in England? Good teams win in all conditions, the West Indians in the 80's and the Australians in the 90's and early 2000's were able to win in all conditions. The South Africans are the only ones to have come close to that in recent times. It also goes to show that Aussies and the English still think that the rules of cricket are still controlled by what they think is "fair" Now everyone wants to reverse swing but it was branded as "cheating" when the pakistanis started using it.

Posted by Fine_Legs on (March 16, 2013, 23:04 GMT)

What the Australian team has to do is somehow ignore the freak opening partnership. If they can do that, they will look back on their own batting first innings with great pride - Starc and in particular Smith made a massive difference to how they feel about themselves, as did Warner and Cowan. They would feel given that first innings and given the ease with which Dhawan and Vijay have scored, there is no way they will be bowled out in the second innings, especially given Clarke will be more circumspect this time. It appears the worst is over for the Australians, in spite of the Dhawan mauling. Start planning a real bounceback in Delhi - its possible, even going by evidence of the hiding that Mr Coverdale finds so unpalatable.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (March 16, 2013, 22:36 GMT)

Popcorn - Cricket as a spectactle will be ruined from your plan, yes we will lose in India particularly with squads touring for the first time but our domestic cricket and international cricket is too important to risk turning our game into a farce where good pace bowlers are simply not rewarded. AhmedESat - I cant remember ever seeing a green top in Australia (perhaps the Hobart test against NZ) but nothing we served up to India resembled a green top. Sonicattack the problem with sending an A squad to india is timing. There season runs pretty well parallel with ours and we would further weaken our domestic comp. The perfect time for us to have test tours of India and A tours of India is April straight after our season but this is never going to happen as the IPL has taken this slot away. If tests were played in April we could finish our home season and then do what England did and acclimitased to Indian conditions and besides many of the English players had toured India before.

Posted by heathrf1974 on (March 16, 2013, 22:24 GMT)

Australia needs to get Cummins fit and Pattinson back in the side ASAP. The quest for a spin bowler-O'Keefe should go on the Ashes tour with Lyon. For our batting we need Shaun Marsh. He's quality and we need to persist with him. Australia need six batsmen in the lineup. To have a wicket-keeper at number six is unacceptable.

Posted by cricmatters on (March 16, 2013, 22:23 GMT)

The biggest problem for Australia is the mindset. They must forget about Ashes altogether, learn to live in the present and focus on beating the top 4 teams if they want to reach no. 1 ranking as Micky Arthur kept on insisting in the media interviews after the Homeworkgate. Also the defeatist attitude that it is impossible to win in India will not help in improving their batting skills against quality spin. Kumble's Team won a test match in Perth and would have won the series if the umpiring wasn't so poor in Sydney. Good players find a way to counter different conditions and Australia must find a way to perform consistently at different venues. Are you going to blame the duke ball or the English weather after losing to England? Excuses be gone.

Posted by jango_moh on (March 16, 2013, 22:22 GMT)

aus bowlers r def inexperienced... but i think this new look indian team is pretty good, and would have done pretty well even against the english i feel.... i hope the openers get sent to play in some seaming/swinging conditions before the SA tour so they know what they're up against!!!!

Posted by ygkd on (March 16, 2013, 22:17 GMT)

With regards the selection of Dhawan, the most pertinent number is not 185 but 27. Dhawan is 27 years old. That's a good age to pick a batsman, or at least it used to be considered so.

Posted by Trebla on (March 16, 2013, 22:15 GMT)

How can the bowling be strong in Australia and then a few months later weak in in India? Mitchell Starc was hailed as the most dangerous bowler in the world a short time ago. Tall, fast, swinging the ball at 145+, at times he looked unplayable. Siddlel gets praise from all quarters for his heart and accuracy. And Lyon looked like he was developing into a good spinner, better than Monty Panesar when he first made the England team. Now they are all rubbish? Unfortunately I can only read about the game as the Aussie Media can publish no pictures and there is no radio coverage. My guess is that the Indians are finally batting to their potential. Good for them, its nice to see some new talent(or read about it).

Posted by ygkd on (March 16, 2013, 22:12 GMT)

The problem with selection goes back a long way. The "homework" issue was just a hiccup, in that regard. Discipline needs to be enforced and it probably should have been given greater emphasis a long time ago. In that sense, Clarke could lead by having the discipline to leave the selecting to otehr people.

Posted by ygkd on (March 16, 2013, 21:55 GMT)

Q: How many runs must an Indian batsman complete in order to beat Australia? A: None. They can do it in boundaries. What we have seen is a case of Dhawan and the Survival of the Less Fit. Australia prides itself on its "athletes". Were the object of the Test a relay marathon race, one would expect Australia to show India a clean set of heels. However, there is one slight hiccup to this would-be domination - this is not a running race, but a cricket match in India and, in that respect, there is some point in having cricketers rather than athletes; that is, cricketers who can bowl a spinning ball and cricketers who have some idea how to bat when it spins. Australia's problem is partly a case of long-standing and ever-increasing Un-natural Selections.

Posted by   on (March 16, 2013, 21:55 GMT)

What if we offer you two green tops and two dust bowls turning square.You would ve the guts to do the same there in Australia wen we tour you.stop complaining.then we flunked big time now you do that.having quality spinners matter here.how silly is it to complain that the english side won in india with quality spinners like swan n panesar and we couldnt make it even with a great like warne.so excusing yourself from a possible ashes defeat even before the coin has been spun for thr first toss..??

Posted by Alexk400 on (March 16, 2013, 21:31 GMT)

Everyone on their day will be great. People are over praising dawan. I am indian , if dawan played great innning then its first time. I always known him a grafter who gets out often after 30s and 40s. It showed pitch was flat and aussie bowling toothless in this condition. I blame aussie selectors , micky arthur. They were not ready for india. They only wants to play seaming pitches. Oh well. If you want to be number one , you have to play all pitches. Aussie bowling is ok still in seaming pitches not sure on their batting actually. Dawan will flop against other bowlers. Dawan showed basically aussie bowlers are impotent in indian conditions.

Posted by sonicattack on (March 16, 2013, 21:19 GMT)

@popcorn - alternatively you could send an Australia ' A' team to India and allow them to learn 'on the job' (so to speak), surely that would be a far more worthwhile exercise....and @ozziespirit, your comment about Clarke 'not being the right captain for this group of players' - interesting observation, hadn't thought of that, you may well be right, Clarke obviously grew up in a team with the greats, but this lesser group of players needs someone who can get the best out of them - can Clarke do that? Perhaps the team needs a Bobby Simpson type as in the late 1970's.

Posted by AhmedEsat on (March 16, 2013, 21:18 GMT)

As an Aussie I think Popcorn's comments are heavily biased. Great teams do well on any type of pitches. Similarly, when touring teams come to Australia, we prepare green tops which suit our bowlers...that's the prerogative of the home team. Hats off to England who beat India on these so called "doctored pitches." Remember that the pitch is the same for both teams and we have had the luxury of winning the toss on every occasion. Well played India! Lets give credit where it's due.

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (March 16, 2013, 21:09 GMT)

The only good news is Ryan Harris is back bowling very well.

Posted by   on (March 16, 2013, 21:02 GMT)

@popcorn: How is having a pitch that turns from day one "not fair"? This is what I don't understand about English and Aussie fans and pundits. If a pitch seams on day 1, they say it's a good pitch. But if it's turns, it's a bad pitch? What's the reason behind this double standard? The beauty of cricket is the variety in conditions and how players adapt to different conditions. Also, nobody goes out of their way to prepare dustbowls in India. India is mostly a hot and dry country, and that's how the pitches are. If you water the pitch too much in India, it turns into a flatbed and bore draws happen. That's the last thing we want in order to save Test cricket. Fair enough if you want some Australian wickets to resemble Indian pitches, but it's not going to happen because the climate and the soil are completely different. Shows you know very little about pitch preparation or watching cricket.

Posted by popcorn on (March 16, 2013, 20:37 GMT)

The BIG Positive for us is that - despite Michael Clarke,the MAIN Run -Getter out for nought,the others in the Team fronted up and we got to 408.So Mickey Arthur's dose of medicine was effective.As to succceeding in India-,forget it.The Indians do not play fair.They create dust bowls that turn from Day One - except the Nagpur Test in 2004 which we won on a green top,and we won that series. NO VISITING TEAM SUCCEEDS in India,unless the Team has Quality Spinners like Swann and Panesar.Even Shane Warne struggled in India. So it is not a great heartbreak to lose in India.The COE in Brisbane had better start NOW - create Drop -In pitches which resemble Indian pitches and train our spinners there. Make some strips at the 6 Main Test Grounds and others like Bankstown,Allan Border Field,Olympic Park resembling Indian pitches,and have Big Bash League,Ryobi Cup,and Shield Cricket played on them.And lecturers like Ashley Mallett,Shane Warne,Stuart Macgill coach on the field,not in newspapers.

Posted by baskar_guha on (March 16, 2013, 20:06 GMT)

Dhawan has been unstoppable. Murali has been a rock. The Australian bowling is average at best and that is bad news on Indian tracks. Australians need to stop the boundaries and wait for Dhawan to try something silly.

Posted by dishNub on (March 16, 2013, 19:37 GMT)

Indian batting order is slowly but surely is settling down. Just down to last dead weight (Mr. SRT) being replaced with Rahane, and it will be good side for a long time to come. Bowling is still a huge problem though.

Posted by Suryawanshi_ on (March 16, 2013, 19:33 GMT)

India seem to have addressed one of their lingering problems in openers and this was only possible after dropping some of the out of form players. There will always be seniors who are out of form and some would be in form, it always would make sense to pick players who have done well in the domestic seasons instead of sticking with the experienced but out of form or unfit players. I cant imagine how this series would have turned out with the non-performers like Gambhir, Sehwag, Yuvraj and Zaheer in the test team. Good that Bhajji is also out. The series against England did good to Indian cricket as it finally brought about the axeing of these players. If the same team from England series had played, the results may not have been this good.

Posted by ozziespirit on (March 16, 2013, 18:47 GMT)

Another horrorshow for Australia it was, disappointing cause we've got some talent in the side like Starc. we've gone to India with the best on offer, but the top 6 just need replacing with new talent, they've not been good enough all tour. Clarke is not the right captain for this group of players. This is probably just the starting point for this team.

Posted by AjaySridharan on (March 16, 2013, 18:47 GMT)

Aussie bowlers to M Arthur - "But we thought Dhawan was out of syllabus"

Posted by   on (March 16, 2013, 18:33 GMT)

Dhawan's freshness has shown that when attacked the Australian thinktank's cupboard is bare. Bowler's cant employ successful strategies nor can they tie the batting down !! An international side going for over 5 runs an over for 2 sessions is not a joke !! At the international level you should have atleast one or two bowlers who can produce a magic ball....amazing that Australia have allowed the game to get dragged so far away that India can now seriously consider a win. Heads should roll if Australia let this one go India's way, the school masters first.

Posted by Fahim_Dar on (March 16, 2013, 18:25 GMT)

I have never seen such a pathetic display of Cricket from an Australian team ever, this is meek surrender, the manner in which Aussies have played has made Pakistan's 3-0 Whitewash at SA look much more more competitive then Ind-Aus series. pathetic, Spineless batting/A spin attack which can easily be rated below Bangladesh, I bet if they play Bangladesh now in such condition they would loose..poor stuff. We don't expect Australian team to be non competitive like this

Posted by anuajm on (March 16, 2013, 18:02 GMT)

Bryan, the other day you were supporting Australia's decision of sacking the 4 players and now you are calling it a "so-called" homework? Deep down you know that was harsh and you cannot justify the decision by saying it will reap long term benefits. Johnson and Pattinson might have been a tad better today, definitely better than Doherty and Siddle or Starc. Also, its easy sitting and devising strategies, i watched the whole Indian inning's, Shikhar played an exceptional and chance less innings, don't think the leg side bowling you are suggesting would have changed much today. Let's just appreciate that the batsman played really well and made to look a weak Australian attack much worse.

Posted by blink182alex on (March 16, 2013, 17:41 GMT)

Our bowlers have just not been good enough in these conditions. It is fair to say that all of them are inexperienced and are touring India for a test series for the first time, but we just go so long without looking like taking a wicket at all, even lesser sides like NZ and WI have looked more threatening in India in the last few years.

I'm surprised Siddle has struggled, but not surprised at all that Doherty has, he is a 1 day bowler and has not improved since the 10-11 ashes, where on true pitches he looked way out of his depth. At least this series should persuade the selectors that Doherty should be no where near the ashes squad, but he will probably take 2/45 in an odi in the champions trophy that will guarantee his place in the squad.

Posted by   on (March 16, 2013, 17:07 GMT)

Never seen such a lame Australian side. Can't play spin and now getting dismissed by pacers as well. Where is the reverse swing now ? England won in India because they have the best bowling attack today, great combination of pace and spin. This Australian team could be thrashed because of their poor bowling combination and spineless batsmen(except Clarke).

Posted by   on (March 16, 2013, 16:24 GMT)

You have to however acknowledge Aussies for making the changes - they felt they ad to do something to stop the slide and got Haddin, Smith and others in. Why couldn't India have done something similar - pulled in Rahane, Dhawan, Tiwary, others when we were being mauled in England and Australia. We instead just accept our fate and make changes based on tenure instead of form. So no matter what, give points to the Aussies for trying whatever they must to make a difference - whether it works or not comes later !

Posted by   on (March 16, 2013, 16:20 GMT)

Another horror awaits the aussies in this test, just wait for the Indian innings to end. We will get to witness another submission on this pitch which will definitely crumble on day 5.

Posted by   on (March 16, 2013, 16:17 GMT)

Taking the responsibility of spin coach away from Steve Rixon would be a start. It is obvious that this arrangement is not working. A specialist spin coach (ie a former spin bowler who is a qualified coach) would be a good start.

Posted by Temuzin on (March 16, 2013, 16:17 GMT)

Yeah Indian team is looks like settling. They need to get rid of Tendulkar and find one more good swing bowler to replace Ishant sharma.

Posted by   on (March 16, 2013, 16:12 GMT)

come on bryan, its tough on the youngsters in the aussie side as most of them are playing in india for the first time. they are a team in transition, give them a long rope.

Posted by   on (March 16, 2013, 16:11 GMT)

More homework to be done. Can't bat and bowl, rely on your Math and English skills. Come on Mickey ! get your cane and start wacking some behinds. Start with Captain Australia.

Posted by trinibay on (March 16, 2013, 15:53 GMT)

Looks like the Indian selectors finally found the gumption to sit out Sehwag and play Dhawan. Its time they become proactive and play the inform players in India. Well done young man, keep it up.

Posted by   on (March 16, 2013, 15:45 GMT)

The Australians havent the spinning class of any of their previous ides....even Peter Sleep and Gavin Robertson look better han this lot. Dropping Patterson will not lead to any long term gains but will cause short term humiliation and demoralisation. Solution...sack Mickey Arthur and get Rixon or Whatmore to coach the side.

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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.
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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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