India v Australia, 3rd Test, Mohali, 5th day March 18, 2013

Australia left to find dignified departure

The Border-Gavaskar trophy may be lost but Australia have one more game to regain some pride. But that will be easier said than done
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In the United States, lame-duck presidents must remain in office for two months before their successors are sworn in. They hold the title in name only until the scheduled handover at inauguration day. The Australians must have felt a bit like that ever since MS Dhoni destroyed them with his double-century last month. Technically, the Border-Gavaskar Trophy was theirs until the final afternoon in Mohali but a change of hands was inevitable. The only question was how long it would take. The answer was 13 days of cricket.

For the first two days of the series the Australians were right in the contest but they soon lost sight of the trophy in the Chennai dust. They never really saw it again. In that first Test it was Dhoni who demoralised them, in Hyderabad it was Cheteshwar Pujara and M Vijay in a 370-run partnership and in Mohali it was Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan, who compiled 289 together. There were other factors, of course, but these were the decisive elements in India's triumph, the antidote to their 4-0 humiliation in Australia in 2011-12.

And now, a similarly embarrassing scoreline looms for Michael Clarke's Australians. Should they lose in Delhi, on what is expected to be a raging turner, it will be only the second time a team has swept all four Tests in a series against Australia. The first was in 1969-70, when the awful result in South Africa cost Bill Lawry the captaincy. There will be no such bloodshed this time; Clarke has done what he could with limited resources. But that doesn't make the outcome any less painful for the players.

At least there were some encouraging signs in Mohali. Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle found swing and toiled manfully, Phillip Hughes broke through his spin barrier on the fourth day, Ed Cowan played another long, patient innings and Steven Smith showed that Clarke is not the only classy player of spin in the squad. But again Australia were clearly outplayed by India and the late finish on the fifth afternoon must be viewed in context: the entire first day was washed out.

Australia nearly escaped with a draw but they would have been lucky to do so. Dhoni's defensive batting as the target inched closer might have added some tension for the viewers, but there was always the sense he could end it any time he wanted. Three consecutive boundaries confirmed that. Just when Australia got their hopes up, Dhoni reminded them that India were in complete control. It has been that way all through the series.

A greater second-innings effort would have improved Australia's chances of securing a draw but not for the first time their top order was shown up by the tail.

A greater second-innings effort would have improved Australia's chances but not for the first time their top order was shown up by the tail. In their second innings in Chennai, the last-wicket stand of 66 between Nathan Lyon and Moises Henriques was easily the best of the innings. Here again the lower order fought and it was unsatisfactory that the ninth- and tenth-wicket partnerships - 36 between Starc and Brad Haddin and 44 from Starc and Xavier Doherty - were the best of the innings.

Falling to outstanding bowling is one thing, but the way David Warner flashed and edged behind in the first over was reckless. Henriques also frittered away his wicket with an uppish drive off Ravindra Jadeja. It was a wonderful return catch that got Henriques but a tame shot to offer the chance. Henriques started the series brilliantly in Chennai but since then has scored 5, 0, 0 and 2, and taken 1 for 107. His Chennai credits will last only so long and he might find himself making way for Glenn Maxwell on the spinning Delhi pitch.

There are all sorts of selection questions and possible permutations to be considered over the next three days. Clarke's back injury is central to the make-up of the side, for if he is ruled out it will likely mean a straight swap for Shane Watson, who flew out of Australia on Tuesday to rejoin the squad. The success of Hughes and Smith in Mohali will probably mean Usman Khawaja remains on the sidelines. If Clarke does play, someone else will be squeezed out to accommodate Watson - likely to be Hughes or Smith.

Matthew Wade was put through some wicketkeeping drills on the field during lunch on the final day in Mohali and could take the gloves back from Haddin after missing the Test due to his sprained ankle. James Pattinson will return after his enforced one-match lay-off and will likely share the bowling duties with Starc, Siddle and either Lyon or Doherty. But whatever XI Australia assemble, they will have their work cut out to avoid a whitewash.

They showed admirable fight on the last day in Mohali and while the result was closer than the first two Tests, there is much still to work on. The trophy is gone but one match remains for the Australians - under either Clarke or Watson - to regain some pride. That will be easier said than done.

India's average first-innings score in this series is 524; Australia's is 341. India's partnerships average 48.88; Australia's average is 27.45. It is obvious to anyone who has watched the three Tests that India have comprehensively outplayed Australia with bat and ball, but the sheer disparity in those numbers is startling all the same. There is no need for a recount. The best these lame ducks can hope for now is a dignified departure.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on March 20, 2013, 4:24 GMT

    @ImpartialObserver - I like your use of irony in your user name, it's cool. Now, what on earth are you talking about? England just went to India and won the series! It sounds to me that you are an Indian fan who is resentful of that fact. If you're theory is correct (and it isn't - it's piffle) then consider the logic; England don't care about playing India, and don't even try - yet they've beaten them in 7 out of their last 8 meetings in test cricket. Wow.. imagine if they could actually be bothered to bring their A game. Hilarious - you've managed to construct an argument where even if you're right you're wrong. That takes skill. I do agree on one point - Australia are great competitors across all forms of the game and whenever they take the field they intend to compete and win. As an Englishman living in Australia I can confirm that's the Aussie way. Give 100% whatever the situation - and I agree it shows respect... so you're right there.

  • Edwards_Anderson on March 20, 2013, 3:39 GMT

    @Mary agree with you fully I would get Pattinson, Khawaja and Watson into the 4th test without any hesitation. Also the batsmen get the benefit of the doubt from the umpires and on third umpire issues like run-outs and grassed catches. This happens because the umpire has not yet made his call. When it comes to DRS or checking no-balls the benefit of the doubt goes to the umpire as you are seeking to overturn his original call. In this specific case the umpire clearly decided to let it go otherwise he would have called no-ball, therefore the third umpire was judging whether or not the on-field umpires initial call was correct. There was not conclusive evidence to overturn it so the original decision stood

  • hamathite on March 20, 2013, 1:28 GMT

    this series further exposed auz in-ability to battle spinners on similiarly freindly tracks. India, having already won this series, should send their A team to finish things off. No point in sending full strength team to clean things up (the final game being a dead rubber)

  • Andy500265 on March 19, 2013, 23:17 GMT

    @Gautam N. Shenoy: Not quite true, Chris Hartley is widely regarded as one of the best glovemen in the world, but he comitted the unforgivable sin of being born in Queensland and even worse, he plays for Queensland.

  • on March 19, 2013, 18:20 GMT

    "They showed admirable fight on the last day in Mohali and while the result was closer than the first two Tests, there is much still to work on. "

    This was a result in 4 days! The only reason why the match went deep into Day 5 was because of Day 1 being washed away. Having said that, have to appreciate Clarke and his sportsmanship for not using any delaying tactics even late into the evening on Day 5.

  • on March 19, 2013, 18:18 GMT

    @Jose Puliampatta: Good observation. The point is, Aussie selectors know that Haddin is a very average wicket keeper while being a batsman with an average technique and the temperament of a genuine tailender. So they have been continuously looking for a replacement for him. The replacements have either failed (as the Aussies cupboards in every department except fast bowling is bare) Paine-fully or just finding their feet before Wade-ing into action. Some Aussie fans here have expressed the desire to get Hadd-in as he is experienced (a euphemism for aged) and for the same reason, the selectors keep going back to him as the stop gap keeper till they can find their next Gil-Christ the redeemer (yeah, right!). If you ask me, the only meaningful contribution Haddin has ever made in a match is when he got the wicket of Neil Broom "bowling" him from behind the stumps. Even after that, Aussies lost that match. Expect more rounds of musical chairs in the meanwhile..

  • on March 19, 2013, 15:47 GMT

    Coverdale's report says; "Mathew Wade was put through some wicketkeeping drills on the field during lunch on the final day in Mohali and could take the gloves back from Haddin after missing the Test due to his sprained ankle"

    Reaction: After Gilly, all sorts of things are happening behind the wicket for OZ. Haddin,.. in ... Hadd-out... Then, for a while, thanks to Ricky's preference, we saw some Paine behind the wicket. When the Paine subsided, again Haddin ...Hadd-out. Then Mathew Waded in and Waded out with a sprained angle. Now, yet another round of Haddin... Hadd-out! Mathew might Wade back in?. I feel dizzy watching the "round-robbin"/ "musical chairs"/ "rotation policy"... or what?

  • Smack-DAT on March 19, 2013, 15:36 GMT

    Going through the comments posted by Aussie fans,well they got all the reason for frustration but thats what happen with a team in transation, its not easy to replace the kind of Ponting,Waugh, Warne, Mcgrath, Gilchrist and so on, but as far as I remember, apart from Mark Waugh and Lee and Clarke none of the Aussie great of 90s and 2000s got off to a good start,Steve,Glenn,Shane,Hayden, Gilchrist didnt become great in a span of one or two game, who knows may be Henrique, Pattionson, Stark might become world beaters in coming future. Just hope for for the best and as far as India is concern still long way to, especially in pace bowling department but the batting looks good as of now, wish them all the best for 4th test and future endevours.

  • Robert1612 on March 19, 2013, 14:05 GMT

    To all the Indian fans saying that India won inside 4 days, may want to check the match. Yes the first day was washed out, BUT as a result of this an extra half hour was added to each of the next four days, giving and exta 8-9 overs each day as most of these were bowled by spinners. Take these 30 or so overs away and India would not have even got a second innings to bat!! In saying that Australia have been totally outplayed by India in all formats of the game who most definitely deserve to be up 3-0.

  • cric_fan123 on March 19, 2013, 13:14 GMT

    @crickketlover - Normally I am not a frequent poster on CI but your post just passed the absurdity boundary. Suppose we talk in "Ifs" if God had made it rain continuous 2 days were wouldn't be staring at 3-0 result.

    Frankly I had given up on the Indian team because of the selectors continually selecting "out of form" players who could do nothing but talk aka Gambhir and Sehwag. With the middle order floundering we dint need useless openers. I am still not entirely sure about Ishant Sharma.

  • on March 20, 2013, 4:24 GMT

    @ImpartialObserver - I like your use of irony in your user name, it's cool. Now, what on earth are you talking about? England just went to India and won the series! It sounds to me that you are an Indian fan who is resentful of that fact. If you're theory is correct (and it isn't - it's piffle) then consider the logic; England don't care about playing India, and don't even try - yet they've beaten them in 7 out of their last 8 meetings in test cricket. Wow.. imagine if they could actually be bothered to bring their A game. Hilarious - you've managed to construct an argument where even if you're right you're wrong. That takes skill. I do agree on one point - Australia are great competitors across all forms of the game and whenever they take the field they intend to compete and win. As an Englishman living in Australia I can confirm that's the Aussie way. Give 100% whatever the situation - and I agree it shows respect... so you're right there.

  • Edwards_Anderson on March 20, 2013, 3:39 GMT

    @Mary agree with you fully I would get Pattinson, Khawaja and Watson into the 4th test without any hesitation. Also the batsmen get the benefit of the doubt from the umpires and on third umpire issues like run-outs and grassed catches. This happens because the umpire has not yet made his call. When it comes to DRS or checking no-balls the benefit of the doubt goes to the umpire as you are seeking to overturn his original call. In this specific case the umpire clearly decided to let it go otherwise he would have called no-ball, therefore the third umpire was judging whether or not the on-field umpires initial call was correct. There was not conclusive evidence to overturn it so the original decision stood

  • hamathite on March 20, 2013, 1:28 GMT

    this series further exposed auz in-ability to battle spinners on similiarly freindly tracks. India, having already won this series, should send their A team to finish things off. No point in sending full strength team to clean things up (the final game being a dead rubber)

  • Andy500265 on March 19, 2013, 23:17 GMT

    @Gautam N. Shenoy: Not quite true, Chris Hartley is widely regarded as one of the best glovemen in the world, but he comitted the unforgivable sin of being born in Queensland and even worse, he plays for Queensland.

  • on March 19, 2013, 18:20 GMT

    "They showed admirable fight on the last day in Mohali and while the result was closer than the first two Tests, there is much still to work on. "

    This was a result in 4 days! The only reason why the match went deep into Day 5 was because of Day 1 being washed away. Having said that, have to appreciate Clarke and his sportsmanship for not using any delaying tactics even late into the evening on Day 5.

  • on March 19, 2013, 18:18 GMT

    @Jose Puliampatta: Good observation. The point is, Aussie selectors know that Haddin is a very average wicket keeper while being a batsman with an average technique and the temperament of a genuine tailender. So they have been continuously looking for a replacement for him. The replacements have either failed (as the Aussies cupboards in every department except fast bowling is bare) Paine-fully or just finding their feet before Wade-ing into action. Some Aussie fans here have expressed the desire to get Hadd-in as he is experienced (a euphemism for aged) and for the same reason, the selectors keep going back to him as the stop gap keeper till they can find their next Gil-Christ the redeemer (yeah, right!). If you ask me, the only meaningful contribution Haddin has ever made in a match is when he got the wicket of Neil Broom "bowling" him from behind the stumps. Even after that, Aussies lost that match. Expect more rounds of musical chairs in the meanwhile..

  • on March 19, 2013, 15:47 GMT

    Coverdale's report says; "Mathew Wade was put through some wicketkeeping drills on the field during lunch on the final day in Mohali and could take the gloves back from Haddin after missing the Test due to his sprained ankle"

    Reaction: After Gilly, all sorts of things are happening behind the wicket for OZ. Haddin,.. in ... Hadd-out... Then, for a while, thanks to Ricky's preference, we saw some Paine behind the wicket. When the Paine subsided, again Haddin ...Hadd-out. Then Mathew Waded in and Waded out with a sprained angle. Now, yet another round of Haddin... Hadd-out! Mathew might Wade back in?. I feel dizzy watching the "round-robbin"/ "musical chairs"/ "rotation policy"... or what?

  • Smack-DAT on March 19, 2013, 15:36 GMT

    Going through the comments posted by Aussie fans,well they got all the reason for frustration but thats what happen with a team in transation, its not easy to replace the kind of Ponting,Waugh, Warne, Mcgrath, Gilchrist and so on, but as far as I remember, apart from Mark Waugh and Lee and Clarke none of the Aussie great of 90s and 2000s got off to a good start,Steve,Glenn,Shane,Hayden, Gilchrist didnt become great in a span of one or two game, who knows may be Henrique, Pattionson, Stark might become world beaters in coming future. Just hope for for the best and as far as India is concern still long way to, especially in pace bowling department but the batting looks good as of now, wish them all the best for 4th test and future endevours.

  • Robert1612 on March 19, 2013, 14:05 GMT

    To all the Indian fans saying that India won inside 4 days, may want to check the match. Yes the first day was washed out, BUT as a result of this an extra half hour was added to each of the next four days, giving and exta 8-9 overs each day as most of these were bowled by spinners. Take these 30 or so overs away and India would not have even got a second innings to bat!! In saying that Australia have been totally outplayed by India in all formats of the game who most definitely deserve to be up 3-0.

  • cric_fan123 on March 19, 2013, 13:14 GMT

    @crickketlover - Normally I am not a frequent poster on CI but your post just passed the absurdity boundary. Suppose we talk in "Ifs" if God had made it rain continuous 2 days were wouldn't be staring at 3-0 result.

    Frankly I had given up on the Indian team because of the selectors continually selecting "out of form" players who could do nothing but talk aka Gambhir and Sehwag. With the middle order floundering we dint need useless openers. I am still not entirely sure about Ishant Sharma.

  • vickdude007 on March 19, 2013, 12:12 GMT

    How can one say aussies fought better in this match when one whole day was lost to rain. it was india who played better than previous match when they had only 4 days to finish the match. remember if it would have been a full 5 day match it wud hav seemed the other way i.e australia wud hv lost it on 4th day nd wud hv been warming up on 5th day similar to hyderabad. india will surely whitewash them in delhi as the pitch will help indians more than the pitch in mohali. and when aussies cant survive in mohali how would they even play on low, slow and turning pitch in delhi.

  • on March 19, 2013, 12:02 GMT

    For a widest lacking experience I think Haddin keeps the gloves. He's a better keeper than Wade, although maybe Wade can bat at 6?

  • gsingh7 on March 19, 2013, 11:53 GMT

    ffl-- may i remind u swaan and anderson have high ave . against aussies who boast much better bowlers than england. on any green top aussies will destroy english side in no time. cook was similarly destroyed by quality bowling of mcgrath and gillespie. cummins bird pattison hilfenhouse, siddle, bollinger, fawad , starc, sok are better bowlers than english bunch on any fine day. ashes wud be decided by these talented bowlers.

  • Mary_786 on March 19, 2013, 11:52 GMT

    @Victorian-Roo is on the mark, must get Khawaja in if Clarke is not fit, how much longer will he warm the bench for, he has been on the bench since November and that's absurd. If any of the top group of batsmen should be considered in danger of being sacked, it certainly shouldnt be Warner.At the moment he is our second best scoring batsman with an average of 41.83. Sure he's had a lean India test series, but other than Clarke, who hasnt in our batting order.I've said it before that most batsmen facing Indian spin in India first time usually fail. Its just that other than Watson and Clarke, all the batsmen are new to this sort of environment. Usually batsmen flounder in India first time, but its not noticed so much because it gets lost in the performances of the experienced batsmen. Not that Australia finds India a happy hunting ground at the best of times. No way would I be questioning Warner's selection. We've got no one who can open better than him at this stage by a long shot.

  • hhillbumper on March 19, 2013, 10:35 GMT

    So is Phil hughes test quality or is he just a hit and giggle merchant? It does seem that his technique against spin is somewhat wanting

  • on March 19, 2013, 9:59 GMT

    why on earth would u play hughes. the guy just slashed at everything for his 60 odd. he has absolutely no idea how to play spin. he didnt make single scores against spin coz he was unlucky. he really has no idea how to play it. it is just like batting with 10 batters.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on March 19, 2013, 9:41 GMT

    This Australia team is the worst they've ever fielded. They've shown they can only beat minnow sides and can not compete with the top 5 or 6 teams in the world. The writing is on the wall for Clarke: Out-captained here, figurehead of an embarassing tour, he clearly is a divisive captain as well as a bad tactician. It's well known that Australia don't have a Swann, a Cook or an Anderson. But what they do have just isn't up to this level of the sport.

  • on March 19, 2013, 9:19 GMT

    @ImpartialObserver "they act as if it only tests that matter". This is probably because for the majority of the English cricket-loving public, it is only the tests that matter. If England were to ever acheive a long period of dominance in test matches in the same manner as the Windies of the 80s and Australia at the turn of the century then this would mean far far more to us than any ODI/T2O World Cup win.

    "life begins with Ashes and ends with Ashes"? There was a pretty good reaction here when we won in India before Xmas, and when we (albeit briefly) became number 1 when we beat India in 2010. Yes, the Ashes are the most important contest for us, but to say that they are the be all and end all is equally disrepectful.

  • c2ewego on March 19, 2013, 8:43 GMT

    Aus team is down right pathetic. Indians are servering them a good reminder that everyone is great in their home conditions and dats what happned down under!!!.

  • on March 19, 2013, 8:33 GMT

    @Suraj Arukil - you've forgotten AB De Villiers, Faf Du Plessis and the up-and-coming Dean Elgar, haven't you? Even Vernon Philander and Robin Petersen have shown their ability from time to time with the bat - just ask Pakistan and Australia! No, chum, THIS SA side is VERY far from ordinary without the top three.

  • venkatesh018 on March 19, 2013, 7:01 GMT

    Now with Mitchell Starc injured let me have another go at guessing the Aussie XI for Delhi: Warner, Cowan(Captain), Watson, Smith, One from Khwaja, Wade & Hughes, Haddin(Keeper), Maxwell, Johnson, Pattinson, Siddle, Lyon [Clarke, Starc injured, Henriques, Doherty dropped].

  • ImpartialObserver on March 19, 2013, 7:00 GMT

    However Australia lose and whatever happens, I respect Australia more than England in cricket. It does not matter that England won against India and it doesn't matter even if England win both the Ashes. And it does not matter even if Aussies are considered over-aggressive and what-not. I respect Australia. For they respect every country they play cricket in and they want to win all games across all formats. They want to win in India, WI, SL, Pak, Eng, Bang, SA, everywhere; and they want to win Tests, ODIs, T20. This is not the case with Eng. For them, life begins with Ashes and ends with Ashes; probably SA is also there right now. The rest of the countries might as well not exist. If they win, they feel, the others are anyway worthless. And if they lose, they feel the opposition isn't worth concentrating on! Horrible attitude. And they act as if it only tests that matter. ODIs and T20s are sacrilege. Consider the Strauss/Gayle incident. Very very partisan indeed.

  • on March 19, 2013, 6:50 GMT

    India won because they played well at home .. will they win outside, only time will tell.. it will be difficult for most of them as many of them have not played in SA but certainly this team can win if they try hard.. but fans must give this team at least 2 series abroad else we will only chop and change.. take Smith, Hashim Amla and Steyn out of SA and they also have a very ordinary team .... this is what happened to Aussies and Indians, replacing people with 50 + tests experience is not easy.. Also Indians must learn to give credit to their players at least when they win..

  • Victorian-Roo on March 19, 2013, 6:45 GMT

    My choice of XI for the Roos for Delhi:

    If Clarke doesn't play...

    1. Dave Warner 2. Ed Cowan 3. Phil Hughes 4. Shane Watson (C) (since he doesn't want to open) 5. Usman Khwaja 6. Steve Smith 7. Matt Wade (Wk) 8. Glenn Maxwell (Lyon poses zero threat to the Indians) 9. Peter Siddle 10. James Pattinson 11. Xavier Doherty

    If Clarke plays, replace Khawaja with him!

  • jmcilhinney on March 19, 2013, 6:34 GMT

    @Fine_Legs on (March 19, 2013, 5:15 GMT), to my mind, the term "rebuilding" is rather overused. How long is a team allowed to take to finish this rebuilding process? It's something that's been said about Australia for a long time. Frankly, it's just a convenient way for people to gloss over the fact that their team has few really good players right now. Australia were good, then they were rebuilding and then if and when they're good again the rebuilding will have conveniently finished. The simple fact is that the players they have right now are not as good as the players they had when they were winning all the time.

  • jmcilhinney on March 19, 2013, 6:29 GMT

    Even if Steve Smith was effective against spin in the first innings, I cannot object strongly enough to him being referred to as "classy". He has worked on his technique but classy is one thing that he will never be.

  • satishchandar on March 19, 2013, 6:19 GMT

    It was a equal battle to start with with India losing to England just now. Australia need to identify potentials and back it up. They probably over reacted to Dhoni onslaught in the first test and dropped Lyon. He is you prime spinner and dropping him for one god innings was not that good to the team. Especially with Doherty as your backup spinner. They can always learn. Nothing wrong in horses for courses policy. The likes of Beer, Okeefe are better long format spinners for Aussies than the X man. Batting in second innings need to be tightened. Cowan bats longer like Cook but he is not able to launch it to big 100s which Cook did. You always know you can get Cowan anytime, If not he himself will get out on scoring 60s and 70s. India scored 5 100s with 2 200+ and 2 150+.. There lies the difference between both the teams.

  • on March 19, 2013, 6:00 GMT

    @mcwc - of your three points only the first is borne out by the facts. Yes, they've had a little trouble getting through the tail mainly because of some very determined batting. But their batting is frail? Mmm... that would be why they're averaging about 200 more per innings than Australia. Their middle order hasn't been called on too often as they've already been 150 plus ahead by the time they get to the crease. They can't handle good spin bowling? I think the Aus spinner's averages prove that either that statement is wrong or they're not good spinners. A bit of both. Do you know anything about Warne's record in India? It's atrocious. Was he a good spinner? I think he may have been. Australia have not gone within country mile of batting India out of the game and the addition of a player like Khawaja isn't going to change that. Surely the fact he couldn't even fill in a questionnaire to get a spot tells you what you need to know. For some reason he doesn't think he needs to try.

  • cricmatters on March 19, 2013, 5:20 GMT

    While you feel sorry for a team which was feared and respected for its ability to bounce back from any situation, you have to say that some of the wounds are self inflicted. Australia of the old never used to lose 3 sessions in a row, let alone 3 test matches. While it still has a good supply of fast bowlers, the cupboard is empty in batting and spin bowling options. On surface, you may feel that Aussies only care about winning the ashes but in reality, they hate losing to any team. India's outplayed them in every facet of the game but most of the wins were comprehensive given that Australia won the toss and batted first in all three tests. In hindsight, knee jerk reactions like dropping lyon after first test, playing 2 all-rounders instead of a proper batsman or bowler and drastic actions like imposing one test match ban on some players hurt the team badly. It would be nice for Australia to return home with a win though highly unlikely. Even a draw would seem like a win at this stage

  • Fine_Legs on March 19, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    Australia are rebuilding, and this series will be crucial to that - India lost 4-0 to Australia not that long ago, and they have turned it around albeit at home. Australia will also bounce back soon as young players find themselves in habitat they are more familiar with. Next time they return to India, some survivors of this trip will be older and wiser and more capable of using these unfamiliar conditions. Peter Siddle, Michel Starc and Ed Cowan have shown that Aussie grit is still available in abundance - that will be the core of the rebuild, I am sure.

  • Simoc on March 19, 2013, 4:24 GMT

    I'de like to see Khawaja replace Hughes for experience. Hughes isn't up to test standard in India as he so ably demonstrates and as a future player we're going to need Khawaja to score a lot of runs everywhere and probably at 3. With the series lost it's time to give him a go. I doubt Johnston will play. If he got a heap of wickets it would really look worse than it already does for the hopeless Arthur.

  • on March 19, 2013, 3:39 GMT

    There is no place for Watson going by the current form of the batsmen...Hughes and Smith have played well in the last match, so the only way that I can see for him is if he is ready to bowl then he can replace Henriques, else he should be made to sit out...Doherty and Lyon can be replaced by Maxwell and Johnson, Starc will be swapped for Pattinson...going by their recent performances it is clear that playing these spinners is nothing but wasting the slots, so the Aussies should try for atleast some match practice before the Ashes

  • on March 19, 2013, 2:51 GMT

    Result was closer than first 2 tests? Really? The game was over in 4 playing days, and Australia lost by 6 wickets! Moreover, at least Sachin would not have lost his wicket if there were a 5th day's play left. Australia were comprehensively outplayed. The only reason it **appeared** to be a close contest was because the game was reduced to 4 days.

  • Johnny_129 on March 19, 2013, 1:37 GMT

    Australia should go for broke in the final test - play Maxwell, Lyon, Doherty, Siddle & Starc/ Pattinson - most of these guys are capable of outs oring their top order batsman, anyway so why not play them all!

  • xylo on March 19, 2013, 0:30 GMT

    I don't believe this was unexpected. These are mediocre teams that excel in home conditions. Take these teams to Australia, and the results would be opposite. I hope both teams pass through their transitional periods soon so that cricket between these two teams is interesting again.

  • Sunil_Batra on March 18, 2013, 23:44 GMT

    @DavidGratis is correct, we missed Khawaja in our lineup, its time to get him in and stop finding excuses not to pick him. To add further farce to this tour, Mitchell Starc is heading home to have surgery on an ankle spur. The same ankle spur that was identified months ago but the gurus in charge decided that he could play through it It seems we rotate players when they might get an injury but play them when they have an actual injury

  • mcwc on March 18, 2013, 23:42 GMT

    Australia was stupid to leave out the famous 4 for disciplinary reasons. So what if they were lazy or had some issues with Mickey. Fine them 3 days allowance, not make it public & get them to commit to the cause. Empower your players (like employees) & not treat them like children in the press.

    They should have played for the 3rd Test :- Warner, Cowan, Usman, Clarke, Smith, Haddin, Johnson, Siddle, Starc, Lyon, Doherty.

    For the 4th test baring injuries, they should play:- Warner, Cowan, Usman, Clarke, Smith, Wade, Haddin, Johnson, Siddle, Starc, Lyon for the 3rd Test.

    The only way they can beat India is to bat them out of the game and put pressure on their batsman.

    There are some weak spots in India's bowling & batting depts:-

    1) They cannot seem to get the tail out cheaply and fast 2) Their batting is quite frail if no strong partnerships evolve 3) Their middle order & tail seem to collapse quite easily after a strong partnership. 4) They can't handle good spin bowling

  • crickketlover on March 18, 2013, 23:34 GMT

    If you look at India performance in this series so far, other than Dhoni's double century in Chennai, India was lucky to find new talents such as Dhawan, Pujara and Vijay shine with unexpected batting display. If Aus found a way to stop one of them, it would have been a close test series. Anyway, congratulations to Dhoni and Team India - they needed this win after a debacle against England.

  • on March 18, 2013, 23:18 GMT

    If I was an Aussie selector I'd have both eyes on the Ashes now this series has gone. Yes 3-1 looks a lot better than 4-0 but frankly I don't think the Aussies can put together an XI that can win a test in India.

    They need to figure out their line-up for the Ashes and do it bloody quickly. Virtually the entire team bar three or four seems undecided. Who's the best keeper / batsman? Who's the best spinner? Who are the best openers? Where does Clarke bat? Where does Watson bat? Who is the best bowling support to Siddle and Pattinson? Will Pattinson make it through an entire Ashes series injury free?

    So many questions.

  • MinusZero on March 18, 2013, 22:45 GMT

    These are the problems for Australia as i see it. 1. The coach and captain should not be selectors, there is too much bias in selection and they dont want to drop mates. 2. Test players should be picked on first class form, not ODI, T20 etc. Doherty and Maxwell are examples of players picked based on ODI. Watson is the classic example though. Good ODI player, bad test player. 3. Pick teams based on current form (last 3 months), not past history. 4. Forget searching for an allrounder, Flintoff kicked our butts years ago...get over it. Australia need the best batsmen and bowlers, not bit part players who dont excel in either discipline (Watson).

  • blink182alex on March 18, 2013, 22:37 GMT

    @Siddharth Oza, i said that Cowan, Hughes and Smith all made a score in this test match, Cowan scored 86 in the first innings, Hughes 69 in the second, and Smith 92 in the first. These are the only batsmen who would be in danger of being dropped for the 4th test, as Watson returns someone has to go, i suspect Hughes might be left out, he has struggled against the spinners whereas Smith played the spinners better.

    The loss of Ponting and especially Hussey has exposed our fragile batting line up, only Warner and Clarke have respectable batting averages.

  • on March 18, 2013, 22:35 GMT

    Still can't believe that we are 3-0 up. Delhi should give a real good chance to make 4-0.. Bring Kumble on for that 1 match :-) Jokes apart I think we shouldn't lose perspective. When Aussies beat India 4-0 India were an ageing but highly experienced team.. Australia were still in some sort of transition. So that 4-0 was a good achievement though not great.. Currently with Ponting and Hussey gone Aussies are still in transition and India more so. Just that India's young crop are too good in Indian conditions and Australian youngsters are pathetic. Switch the locations and results would also switch identically. For India 3-0 so far is a good achivement though I think what Australia did to India last summer was slightly better.

  • Chris_Howard on March 18, 2013, 22:34 GMT

    When you've got only two batsmen with averages over 40 (Clarke and Warner) you aren't going to win a lot of Test matches. Certainly it hasn't been helped by poor selection - still a bane for Australia even since the renewal of the selection panel.

    The reality is there's no batsmen in domestic cricket demanding Test places. The best we can pick is guys who struggle to average 40. It's not Clarke or Arthur's fault. Look at the teams that have been #1 over the last 10 years and look at their batting line ups. Guys like Cook, Pietersen, Trott, Amla, Kallis, De Villiers, Ponting, Hayden, Gilchrist, Dravid, Tendulkar, Sehwag etc

    Unless CA fixes domestic cricket, we won't find 6 good batsmen.

    The Argus Reprot said Test cricket should be our number 1 priority. To achieve that, the 4 day game must be the number priority at domestic level. Which it clearly isn't, with CA bending over backwards to accommodate Big Bash.

    Prioritise the 4 day domestic game. It's not rocket science, CA.

  • on March 18, 2013, 22:27 GMT

    May as well stick with Hughes now. I'm a strong advocate for Kerry O'Keefe's idea of Warner at #6. Henriques should go, Smith stays on the back of that 92.

    1. Cowan 2. Hughes 3. Clarke 4. Watson 5. Smith 6. Warner 7. Haddin 8. Johnson 9. Siddle 10. Pattinson 11. Lyon

  • LillianThomson on March 18, 2013, 22:09 GMT

    Don't let it be said that Australia had no options in terms of their preparation.

    They chose not to prepare a turner at the SCG for the final Test against Sri Lanka at the start of January, which would have kicked off their adaptation for a tour of India.

    Similarly, last year England lost 3-0 away to Pakistan and drew 1-1 in Sri Lanka before coming from behind to win in India.

    Did Australia need to play successive ODI series v Sri Lanka and West Indies in the 6 weeks leading up to a tour of India? Couldn't Cricket Australia have seized the slot in which Pakistan wanted to host Bangladesh to play either or both of them in away Tests to get this team experienced in alien spinning conditions?

    This is a poor Australia team. But mainly it has been poorly selected (Doherty in place of O'Keefe? How?) and very, very poorly prepared.

    How can they have so many administrators and selectors who are so inept?

  • rusty96 on March 18, 2013, 22:04 GMT

    I think starc almost qualifies as an all rounder. Get rid of Moises Henriques till the Ashes and give johnson a go, seems to go very well in india on non-fast bowlers pitches. Give Hughes a flick till England as well. I don't think haddin dropped 1 through the gloves either? It's also funny that the tail always seems to outperform the recognised batsmen. Maybe the Aussies should just choose bowlers who can also hold a stick as they're always getting australia relatively out of trouble!

    1.Cowan 2. Warner 3. Watson 4. Smith 5. Clarke 6. Haddin 7. Starc 8. Johnson 9. Pattinson 10. Siddle 11. Lyon

  • TRAM on March 18, 2013, 21:54 GMT

    Quite harsh article, considering the Aus showed several patches of very good fight back. I think Aus have the bowling, fielding and lower order batting *sufficient to match Ind* (not to the level of world beaters that they were years back). If they reinforce the top 3 (say a score of 250 - 300 runs within top 3) the contest should be equal.

  • PPD123 on March 18, 2013, 21:50 GMT

    If clarke plays in Delhi, then watson should play in place of Hughes. On the Delhi wicket which will be a turner and will be two paced, hughes will stand no chance. I think India will really like it if Hughes continues in the side. On the bowling side I agree with coverdale - Keep Siddle, Starc, Lyon and bring in Pattinson for Doherty. I would keep henriques in the side though, cos on the delhi pitch, a bowler like Henriques(who is more like Rajat Bhatia) will be more effective than Glenn Maxwell.Who at best is a part time spinner like Kevin Pietersen.

    Overall Ind will be releived to have got the 3-0 result especially after the Eng series, If Dhawan does not reciver, then Rahane can slot in as a swap. The rest of the team look pretty effective for the given conditions.

  • on March 18, 2013, 21:38 GMT

    @Leggie - Warne did not have a good success in India because the batsmen were better players of spin. Sachin, Dravid and Laxman for example. In recent England series we have seen Swann and Panesar win matches. Pace is the strength of Oz, but it gets nullified on flat tracks here. I suggest that playing 2 spinners might give Aus some purchase at Delhi. Lyon was not worse than Jadeja..

  • Humdingers on March 18, 2013, 21:09 GMT

    And for once no useless comments (by the usual suspects who have gone all queit since the start of the series) about the pitches being "dead", "flat tracks", "batsmen friendly" etc. Whatever the results may read like, it's been good cricket. Runs scored, Wickets taken - that is what test cricket is all about right (on green tops or on turners).

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on March 18, 2013, 20:18 GMT

    Australia are in such an awful state right now but I can't say I'm surprised. They've had players fall out with Clarke, and the players left just wouldn't make it into one of the top 6 test sides in the world. They need a quality spinner, like a Swann, but as we all know that is notoriously absent from their team. Roll on the 4th Test then for yet another smashing.

  • Cpt.Meanster on March 18, 2013, 20:04 GMT

    This was written on the wall although Ian Chappell would disagree. This current Aussie team is average BUT it can happen to ANY team. India are currently very similar to Australia, in transition, green and wary. It will take a good 2 years for both these sides to build momentum and form. Tendulkar won't be around for India after the SA series and then we have a BRAND NEW team under Dhoni. Clarke is already in that phase with the retirements of Ponting and Hussey. So, while I am happy as an Indian fan about India's victory, I also understand that Australia will become better. It's NEVER easy to win a series in India. England managed to win after almost 30 years. They better cherish it because the next time they come to India, it won't be that rosy. So it was hard for Australia with such inexperienced players to win. I think India will complete the whitewash in Delhi. It will be a turning wicket, and we can expect more of the same from Australia.

  • Leggie on March 18, 2013, 19:55 GMT

    Oz team for the 4th test... Moses replaced by Watson, Doherty & Lyon replaced by Pattinson & Johnson, and if Clarke does not play, Wade should come back. Australia's strength is pace. No point trying spin in a land where even the greatest of the great Shane Warne struggled.

  • on March 18, 2013, 19:49 GMT

    Australia now have to decide whether to try and field the team with the greatest chance of pulling off an upset win, or whether they should view the fourth test as primarily a chance to give young players experience (albeit, a potentially harrowing experience).

    If they go for victory, then there will be some interesting selection problems, especially if Clarke is injured and Wade is fit.

    First, the bowlers: Lyon and Doherty have been toothless; just ten wickets between them, and both average over 60! For this reason, I'm tempted to select a seam attack of Siddle, Pattinson and Johnson (if he has one of his good days, that could give Australia the chance they need). It's hard to see Maxwell being even less effective than Lyon or Doherty, and he has a better chance of scoring some runs, so he'd be my fourth bowler.

    Starc has batted bravely but 2 for 200 runs is a sorry story.

    The top 7? Huh - tough. Warner, Cowan, Hughes/Khawaja, Watson, Smith, Haddin, Wade perhaps?

  • SamMiller on March 18, 2013, 19:47 GMT

    Clarke is not only a great player but has great spirit of the game. He didn't use cheap stalling tactics to enforce a draw. Aussies lost fighting like hero. It is only matter of time before they re-invent and become a formidable competitors again. On the other hand, India should develop some more killing instict.... they should have been aggressive in setting up target in their 1st inning and getting aussies' tail out in 2nd inning.... But good to see young blood performing....

  • on March 18, 2013, 19:08 GMT

    Australia can't bat for 5 days in India, that's proven (still some may argue on the first test - but still that was contained within first session on final day).In Mohali had the first day been played we would have surrendered on 4th day except the fact there wouldn't be any tension on Indian camp on finishing the things up on final day. The pathetic situation is we were left/cornered to that sort of option. That's called as "strangulation". Still our captain says, he expected to win this test. I don't know what he speaks. As Coverdale points out, he is "lameduck". God save CA. I am not sure how are we going to answer "Ashes".

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on March 18, 2013, 18:38 GMT

    They missed Khawaja in the batting line-up. That's a huge blow to the team. Without proper batsmen, you can't prevent the team from losing. How hard is that to understand? The disciplinary action, though mandatory, didn't help them one bit in the short term. It might help them in their long term goals. All the best to Australia for Ashes! My support is with Australia as Dravid put it - Comrades - in The Bradman Oration.

  • on March 18, 2013, 18:35 GMT

    @blink182alex if everyone is making scores in ur team then why are they 3-0in this series

  • Planetindia on March 18, 2013, 18:05 GMT

    AUS will be far more better in the Ashes then this series. they have lost three test but they have gain far more. i believe they will play spinner better in the england and they will be more hungry for the win then England after this humiliation in India.

  • blink182alex on March 18, 2013, 18:03 GMT

    if its going to be a raging turner then we must play Lyon and Doherty again i reckon. Pattinson must play but if we play 2 spinners then who does he come in for? Siddle took 6 wickets and Starc bowled better than before and scored 136 runs in the match.

    Also interesting to see who Watson comes in for with Smith, Cowan and Hughes all making a score, and where will he bat, prob 3 i think. Haddin looked decent also.

    I think we will select this 11: Warner, Cowan, Watson, Clarke, Smith, Wade, Maxwell, Starc, Pattinson, Siddle, Lyon.

  • king78787 on March 18, 2013, 17:59 GMT

    Does oemone have a grudge aginst henriques? He is only 27, batted brilliantly against indian spinners in their element in Chennai making 2 half centuries and has taken 2 for 110. Phil hughes has only made 1 half century taken NO wickets as he does not bowl. Henriques has preformed better than cowan and wade in this series with the bat and you want him DROPPED!!!!Ridicluous

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  • king78787 on March 18, 2013, 17:59 GMT

    Does oemone have a grudge aginst henriques? He is only 27, batted brilliantly against indian spinners in their element in Chennai making 2 half centuries and has taken 2 for 110. Phil hughes has only made 1 half century taken NO wickets as he does not bowl. Henriques has preformed better than cowan and wade in this series with the bat and you want him DROPPED!!!!Ridicluous

  • blink182alex on March 18, 2013, 18:03 GMT

    if its going to be a raging turner then we must play Lyon and Doherty again i reckon. Pattinson must play but if we play 2 spinners then who does he come in for? Siddle took 6 wickets and Starc bowled better than before and scored 136 runs in the match.

    Also interesting to see who Watson comes in for with Smith, Cowan and Hughes all making a score, and where will he bat, prob 3 i think. Haddin looked decent also.

    I think we will select this 11: Warner, Cowan, Watson, Clarke, Smith, Wade, Maxwell, Starc, Pattinson, Siddle, Lyon.

  • Planetindia on March 18, 2013, 18:05 GMT

    AUS will be far more better in the Ashes then this series. they have lost three test but they have gain far more. i believe they will play spinner better in the england and they will be more hungry for the win then England after this humiliation in India.

  • on March 18, 2013, 18:35 GMT

    @blink182alex if everyone is making scores in ur team then why are they 3-0in this series

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on March 18, 2013, 18:38 GMT

    They missed Khawaja in the batting line-up. That's a huge blow to the team. Without proper batsmen, you can't prevent the team from losing. How hard is that to understand? The disciplinary action, though mandatory, didn't help them one bit in the short term. It might help them in their long term goals. All the best to Australia for Ashes! My support is with Australia as Dravid put it - Comrades - in The Bradman Oration.

  • on March 18, 2013, 19:08 GMT

    Australia can't bat for 5 days in India, that's proven (still some may argue on the first test - but still that was contained within first session on final day).In Mohali had the first day been played we would have surrendered on 4th day except the fact there wouldn't be any tension on Indian camp on finishing the things up on final day. The pathetic situation is we were left/cornered to that sort of option. That's called as "strangulation". Still our captain says, he expected to win this test. I don't know what he speaks. As Coverdale points out, he is "lameduck". God save CA. I am not sure how are we going to answer "Ashes".

  • SamMiller on March 18, 2013, 19:47 GMT

    Clarke is not only a great player but has great spirit of the game. He didn't use cheap stalling tactics to enforce a draw. Aussies lost fighting like hero. It is only matter of time before they re-invent and become a formidable competitors again. On the other hand, India should develop some more killing instict.... they should have been aggressive in setting up target in their 1st inning and getting aussies' tail out in 2nd inning.... But good to see young blood performing....

  • on March 18, 2013, 19:49 GMT

    Australia now have to decide whether to try and field the team with the greatest chance of pulling off an upset win, or whether they should view the fourth test as primarily a chance to give young players experience (albeit, a potentially harrowing experience).

    If they go for victory, then there will be some interesting selection problems, especially if Clarke is injured and Wade is fit.

    First, the bowlers: Lyon and Doherty have been toothless; just ten wickets between them, and both average over 60! For this reason, I'm tempted to select a seam attack of Siddle, Pattinson and Johnson (if he has one of his good days, that could give Australia the chance they need). It's hard to see Maxwell being even less effective than Lyon or Doherty, and he has a better chance of scoring some runs, so he'd be my fourth bowler.

    Starc has batted bravely but 2 for 200 runs is a sorry story.

    The top 7? Huh - tough. Warner, Cowan, Hughes/Khawaja, Watson, Smith, Haddin, Wade perhaps?

  • Leggie on March 18, 2013, 19:55 GMT

    Oz team for the 4th test... Moses replaced by Watson, Doherty & Lyon replaced by Pattinson & Johnson, and if Clarke does not play, Wade should come back. Australia's strength is pace. No point trying spin in a land where even the greatest of the great Shane Warne struggled.

  • Cpt.Meanster on March 18, 2013, 20:04 GMT

    This was written on the wall although Ian Chappell would disagree. This current Aussie team is average BUT it can happen to ANY team. India are currently very similar to Australia, in transition, green and wary. It will take a good 2 years for both these sides to build momentum and form. Tendulkar won't be around for India after the SA series and then we have a BRAND NEW team under Dhoni. Clarke is already in that phase with the retirements of Ponting and Hussey. So, while I am happy as an Indian fan about India's victory, I also understand that Australia will become better. It's NEVER easy to win a series in India. England managed to win after almost 30 years. They better cherish it because the next time they come to India, it won't be that rosy. So it was hard for Australia with such inexperienced players to win. I think India will complete the whitewash in Delhi. It will be a turning wicket, and we can expect more of the same from Australia.