India v Australia, 4th Test, Delhi, 1st day

Australia's topsy-turvy batting on show again

The Australian batsmen, with another lacklustre show in Delhi, seem to not have learned their lessons on playing spin

Brydon Coverdale in Delhi

March 22, 2013

Comments: 43 | Text size: A | A

Steven Smith drives down the ground, India v Australia, 4th Test, Delhi, 1st day, March 22, 2013
Steven Smith's method of using his feet and being prepared to block deliveries after going down the pitch proved effective © BCCI
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Another day on this Indian tour, another top-order collapse, another tail-end recovery. To quote the great Major League Baseball player and manager Yogi Berra, it's déjà vu all over again. On a cracking pitch that looked more like a surface from day five than day one, Australia finished at an almost respectable 231 for 8. Peter Siddle was unbeaten on 47 and was the highest scorer. It was the third time in seven innings in this series that the top score has come from outside the top six. That is a damning statistic.

Just as the debutant Moises Henriques outshone the specialist batsmen in the second innings in Chennai and Mitchell Starc upstaged everyone else with his 99 in Mohali, Siddle has shown that despite the challenges of this Delhi pitch it can be handled. Not that many of the Australian top order can blame the conditions for their exits at the Feroz Shah Kotla. In fact, what must have displeased Mickey Arthur and his staff the most was the familiarity of the dismissals, the lessons that haven't been learnt. It was like a clip show from the previous three Tests.

Playing straight and showing patience have been mantras the coaches have tried to instil in the batsmen in this series. Arthur was livid when Warner was bowled around his legs trying to sweep R Ashwin early in his second innings in Hyderabad. In the second innings in Mohali, he flashed at a wide ball with no footwork and was caught behind in the first over. Here he did exactly the same for exactly the same result. At least he waited until the second over.

Warner's sweep in Hyderabad followed a similarly poor attempt from Phillip Hughes that yielded Ashwin another bowled around the legs. It must have been especially frustrating, then, for the Australians to see Cowan get out the same way on day one in Delhi. And just like Warner's ill-fated sweep, Cowan chose to play from the first ball after a change of angle from Ashwin. Over the wicket, sweep, bowled. Cowan had shown such patience in his 99-ball innings of 38 but it was another start squandered.

Michael Clarke spoke before the tour of the importance of batsmen going on with their starts, turning twenties, thirties, forties, fifties into big triple-figure scores. The tally is now up to 26 times that Australian batsmen have passed 20 in this series. But Clarke's 130 in the first innings of the tour remains their only hundred. Clarke is not part of this Test due to his sore back, but one of his dismissals was recreated by his captaincy successor Shane Watson.

In the first innings in Mohali, Clarke advanced to Ravindra Jadeja and was beaten by the flight and the turn, stumped because he failed to get to the pitch of the ball. Watson's dismissal in Delhi might have been a carbon copy, except for the lack of grace in his footwork. It would have been easier for the heavy roller to make a quick u-turn on this pitch than Watson. He cannot be criticised for using his feet, for reluctance to do so has been a failing of the batsmen all tour. But better judgment of length is key.

Here another Yogi Berra-ism comes to mind: "In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is." It is all well and good to talk about footwork and ways to counter the spinners, but against quality, in-form bowlers like Jadeja and Ashwin, no amount of theorising or net batting against Xavier Doherty, Nathan Lyon, Steven Smith and Glenn Maxwell can truly prepare a batsman for the battle in the middle.

The politician Stephen Smith has served as Australia's minister for defence and minister for foreign affairs; here, his namesake was Australian cricket's minister for defence and handling foreign conditions

Hughes looked in wonderful touch until he was roughed up by an Ishant Sharma bouncer and tentatively played on three balls later. It was fine bowling and the unexpectedly sharp bounce put down into Hughes' mind. In that way, he could perhaps claim to be the only one of the top-order men whose dismissal was a result of the surface. Matthew Wade can also be forgiven; he was given out bat-pad to a ball that touched only his leg.

Apart from Warner, the No.7 Maxwell has the most to regret about the way he departed. When he had faced only 15 balls he tried to force Jadeja through the leg side and tamely chipped a catch to wide midwicket. It was a Twenty20 shot, not the stroke to be played at 129 for 5, regardless of Maxwell's natural aggression. Perhaps he could have watched the way Smith batted.

Like Maxwell, Smith struck a six early in his innings. But he reined in some of naturally attacking urges and by the time he had faced 100 balls - the only batsman to reach that milestone until Siddle - he had only 24 runs. The politician Stephen Smith has served as Australia's minister for defence and minister for foreign affairs; here, his namesake was Australian cricket's minister for defence and handling foreign conditions.

Smith is a natural at using his feet and it was notable that he was often prepared to advance and then block. Most Australian batsman, Clarke aside, seem to think if they are down the wicket they must slog. But the Smith-Clarke approach is an important method of defence in these conditions. Alas, Smith couldn't push on and nudged a catch to short leg. At least he had helped Siddle with the recovery in a 53-run stand.

But the list of starts continued Australia's stuttering trend: Cowan 38, Hughes 45, Watson 17, Smith 46, Maxwell 10. Siddle showed outstanding patience and if he goes on to become the only man in this innings to score a half-century it will be an indictment on the rest. In truth, it already is. Eleven of Australia's 19 best partnerships in this series have involved a batsman outside the top six. What have the top order been doing?

Down 3-0 and five days from heading home you could understand if their minds are elsewhere. But this was an opportunity to show what they had learnt in their six-week tour. These men all want to be part of this year's Ashes tour. They are doing their cases little good. To borrow from Berra once more: "If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else".

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

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Posted by Greatest_Game on (March 23, 2013, 22:29 GMT)

@ Fleming_Mitch. You did not include Starc's average of 36.25 over 4 innings. That is the third highest in the team, above Cowan & below only Smith & Clarke! I would think that Khawaja would back himself to better Starc's batting!

Posted by KhanMitch on (March 23, 2013, 8:25 GMT)

Unlike others taking a swipe at Smith who has done well i won't take the same line. I am a big fan of Khawaja and believe he should be in the side but lets give credit to Smith as he has batted well. Here is an analysis of in this series of our batsman: Clarke - 6 test innings in India, 286 runs @ 47.7 Smith - 3 test innings in India, 143 runs @ 47.7 Cowan - 7 test innings in India, 241 runs @ 34.4 Henriques - 6 test innings in India, 156 runs @ 31.2 Warner - 7 test innings in India, 187 runs @ 26.7 Hughes - 7 test innings in India, 141 runs @ 20.1 Watson - 5 test innings in India, 94 runs @ 18.8 Wade - 5 test innings in India, 94 runs @ 18.8 Maxwell - 3 test innings in India, 31 runs @ 10.3 Smith has clearly done well and deserves acknolwedgement. But looking at the other batsman its hard to believe that Khawaja doesn't offer more than the other guys. Clarke and Smith are the only two that have a claim to be deserving of a spot ahead of Usman Khawaja in this fourth

Posted by Leggie on (March 23, 2013, 7:00 GMT)

Not sure what positives India can take from this tour that will actually help them when they tour abroad and where conditions are truly good for batting. Indian bowlers have sent down 133, 93, 85, 67, 141, 91 and 98+ (ongoing) in the last 7 innings. That they still managed to win is a testimonial to their patience but what's evident is that this bowling attack cannot bowl about opposition in a hurry. India is in a strong position thanks to the overcautious approach of the Aussies, and their poor scoring rate. With the series already sealed at 3-0, would have loved to see a good seaming wicket in Delhi. It would have given the Indian selectors a glimpse of the team's character. By making one more dead track, Indian think tank has shown that they don't think much!

Posted by   on (March 23, 2013, 6:50 GMT)

Current Shield form appears to have been inconsistently considered given Maxwell's inclusion and Khawaja's exclusion from any of the Tests. I'm of the view that whilst calls go out to Mike Hussey to return, his brother presents a more realistic option and he could add some stability batting with Clarke in the middle order for at least a couple of series whilst we get our top order sorted. Bailey, despite a lowish first class average, could have been very useful for his leadership value to help Clarke and he has stepped up Ferguson too has shown a capability to deliver at the top level but appears to have been overlooked. All deserve a chance and given our very obvious rebuild in progress, Warner, Cowan, Hughes, Watson and Wade should all be rotated out and give some others a try. We might find some discipline and mettle that is so sadly lacking in this side.

Posted by Leggie on (March 23, 2013, 6:19 GMT)

@Lappolozza: you can say whatever you want about the Indian bowling, but none on their action. Their bowling actions would be deemed clean even before the changed rule. It's just that the Australian batting has been bad and at times distracted. If the likes of Siddle, Starc and Pattinson can bat for hours together, the batsmen at the top the order should grind it for at least 4-5 hours. That's the key to succeed on such batting conditions and that's where Australia's struggle is,

Posted by Greatest_Game on (March 23, 2013, 6:12 GMT)

@ Lappolozza. In your argument you successfully manage to omit clearly important facts. Please enlighten us as to how, on wickets that "any curator should be ashamed of," Aus' BOWLERS have been racking up runs. Do bowlers bat better on bad tracks? That would not account for the tons and doubles being piled up by the Indian batsmen.

Since Aussie umpire Darryll Hair's disgraceful & unjustified no-balling of Murali, extensive & comprehensive testing of bowlers actions has was undertaken. The consequence was the discovery that almost every bowler, pace or spin, bends their elbow to some degree. This has been extensively documented. Indeed, without some allowance for elbow bend, cricket could not continue, as all but 1 or 2 bowlers would be ineligible to play.

Endless pitch criticism, & accusations of unfair play mask only only your bitterness that Aus cricket has been tried, & found wanting. Remove the mote from your eye & perhaps you will see the writing on the wall!

Posted by forbskin on (March 23, 2013, 5:32 GMT)

first of all cricinfo said the day one pitch looked like a day 5 pitch. Having said that refuse to make excuses for the aussie batting line up. If once again the tail looks more solid than the middle order the pitch doesn't come into it. Watson needs to be dropped. All thos aussies saying hs opening stats are better than middle over therefore move him are deluded. the reason his opening stats are better is because most of the opposition fielders are behind the bat. he races to 50 and as soon as the bowler changes and the field spread he gets out. he is not a test batsman at any level except all rounder batting at 6 or 7. i am an scg member and never miss a game and rarely a session - watson just doesn't have the skill to bat for more than a day let alone a session. On one day form he should captain his country. In tests - just not good enough.

Posted by ab_cricket on (March 23, 2013, 5:26 GMT)

Two Things: A) Steve Smith's resurgence is not a big surprise for me as he played with a similar flair in last years IPL for Pune. He also showed that he is a good captain material. B) All this talk of t20 shots creeping in Test cricket is a big excuse, all of us know that when you play a test matches its a different ball game, you need to adjust+ have patience+ sometimes give respect to a particular bowler etc. There have been good examples of these adjustments like Mahela Jayawardene for SL and now Murli Vijay is showing a similar sort of character in this series. I think its all in the mind. Focus is the key.

Posted by   on (March 23, 2013, 3:31 GMT)

Shouting about the pitch seems strange when all the batsmen who failed went down to bad play and not due to the pitch. Smith and Siddle showed how spinners have to be played.

Posted by bobagorof on (March 23, 2013, 3:25 GMT)

@Andy Plowright: To suggest that CA had anything to do with the development of Steve Smith is to give them too much credit. Smith was elevated far too early, before he had a handle on either his batting or bowling, based on his 'prospect'. After he was dropped, it took over 12 months for him to declare that he was focusing on his batting, at which stage he was playing for NSW. If anything, CA's influence hampered Smith's development.

Posted by Lappolozza on (March 23, 2013, 2:50 GMT)

I don't think we should be too hard on the Australian cricketers despite this Indian disaster. They never really had a chance because they were walking into an ambush. The Indians prepared wickets that any decent curator should be ashamed of, but that's not the real problem because both sides had to play on them. The problem is that Australian spin bowlers have been left behind by a major technical change. It is now quite obviously permissible to bowl with a bent arm then straighten it with a final flick that really makes the ball fizz. That's the only conclusion to be drawn from watching these Indian spinners at work. The Aussies are still following the old rules which used to state that straightening your arm as you deliver the ball it constituted throwing rather than bowling. If the rules have changed, then so must we. Our bowlers, slow or fast, must now be encouraged to straighten their arms at delivery to gain extra pace and turn. If you can't beat them, join them.

Posted by Barnesy4444 on (March 23, 2013, 2:05 GMT)

Hughes did look in fantastic touch, even against Ashwin. However, he wasn't "roughed up". The ball pitched just short of a good length and smashed him in the face, no batsman in the world could have played it. Contrasted to a ball 10 overs earlier also just short of a length but grubbered ankle height. Hughes tried to find a medium to be able to play both types of balls but it obviously didn't work. It was the terrible surface. He will learn from this. Hughes will smash the English quicks.

Posted by ozwriter on (March 23, 2013, 1:50 GMT)

cowan, hughes should both be dropped. you can't use the words 'talented' and 'potential' to justify repeated, persistent, ongoing failures. give khawaja and other 'talented' people a similar chance of 20 uninterrupted games in a row.

Posted by Yuji9 on (March 23, 2013, 0:22 GMT)

Khawaja should have gone on this tour ... Oh, wait, he did, hmmm ... suppose the batting has been too strong for him to break into the top six somewhere, sigh ... To all you Phil Hughes fans, he just got owned by Ishant Sharma on an Indian pitch and you can guarantee that Anderson, Finn, Broad et al are in NZ chuckling at the highlights reel and licking their lips at the thought of bowling to him on English green tops. Teams selected by CA and the current NSP and selected on T20 form should not be classed as Test matches - more like 'Imitation Test Cricket' played by the Australian 'Can't Pass the Test' team.

Posted by CSpiers on (March 22, 2013, 23:49 GMT)

Pick for the ashes. Something to look forward too I hope. 1. Warner 2. Watson/Hughes 3. Khawaja 4. Clarke 5. Rogers 6. Smith 7. Wade 8. Siddle/Bird 9. Pattinson 10. Harris 11. Lyon

Posted by   on (March 22, 2013, 21:02 GMT)

What CA have done with Steve Smith is what they should have done with Watson. Smith worked on his entire batting technique, dropped the bowling, and he looks far better for it. Imagine if they'd done that with Watson a few years ago when he looked solid at the top of the order. I do hope CA drop their daft obsession with all-rounders.

Posted by Leggie on (March 22, 2013, 21:01 GMT)

Not sure what positives India can take from this tour that will actually help them when they tour abroad and where conditions are truly good for batting. Indian bowlers have sent down 133, 93, 85, 67, 141, 91 and 98+ (ongoing) in the last 7 innings. That they still managed to win is a testimonial to their patience but what's evident is that this bowling attack cannot bowl about opposition in a hurry. India is in a strong position thanks to the overcautious approach of the Aussies, and their poor scoring rate. With the series already sealed at 3-0, would have loved to see a good seaming wicket in Delhi. It would have given the Indian selectors a glimpse of the team's character. By making one more dead track, Indian think tank has shown that they don't think much!

Posted by Beertjie on (March 22, 2013, 20:48 GMT)

@Chris_P on (March 22, 2013, 19:56 GMT) "Hughes is a talent, you don't score twin centuries against Steyn & Co on their home track without talent" Agreed-he's as "talented" as Marcus North who missed doing the same by 5 runs! Although Hilditch pre-Argus was lampooned for picking guys for their potential, the clueless NSP under JI received an endorsement from Argus himself (save for his reference to one instance - Steve o'Keefe being the one referred to). THIS is what is wrong with Oz cricket. Covering up the mistakes of the managers and laying the blame upon supposedly truculent or disaffected players. If I had membership in any of these structures I'd tear my card up! It's no disgrace to lose all four tests. What's disgraceful is to claim to be giving experience to people when you've decided to take a punt on their potential knowing that their present performances did not warrant it. In most organizations that would get you fired, but folks this is the CA we're stuck with. REVOLT!

Posted by Chris_P on (March 22, 2013, 19:56 GMT)

@handyandy, Firstly, well done to India on day one. I have been watching Smith for the past few years for NSW & he has definitely worked on his game, his use of his feet & his batting technique, so it was good to see him succeed after his hard work. He was never (IMHO) a front line bowler, just a back-up who could roll his arm over for a few leggies, but he needs to work on this anyway. There is no need to question Watson's spot, simply said, as a batsman he does't deserve his spot. An average of less than 30 for the past 3 years in fc cricket would confirm that. Warner showed in the first innings in Mohali his application will reward him, but that ugly T20 instinct brings him undone. But, on his day, he is devastating, someone you can carry IF you have a solid batting line-up. Hughes, to his credit does do the hard work on improving his technique, he is a talent, you don't score twin centuries against Steyn & Co on their home track without talent.

Posted by   on (March 22, 2013, 18:49 GMT)

readers should not mistake - what i said was all in good humour considering the pathetic display by the australian batsmen against India's spinners throughout the series murthy

Posted by   on (March 22, 2013, 18:40 GMT)

If there had been a fifth test,the batting order of Australia could have been PM Siddle, MA Starc, JL Pattinson, XL Doberty, MC Henriques, MJ Clarke, MS Wade, SR Watson, GJ Maxwell, EJM Cowan and PJ Hughes - For India Ashwin, Jadeja and Ojha could have been rested and any spin bowler from any of the leagues would have proved Australia's nemesis with the spin. murthy

Posted by handyandy on (March 22, 2013, 18:27 GMT)

Smith has surprised me. He seems to have reinvented himself as a batsman. He uses his feet against spin and has a sound looking technique.

His bowling has fallen apart a little but I always thought he had more potential as a batsman than a bowler. A real shame that they couldn't have found a spot for khwaja. With nothing really riding on this match it would have been useful to give him a run before the ashes.

Hughes has picked up some runs but I remain unconvinced that his technique will work in the long run.

I also question whether Watson is worth his spot. As an allrounder yes ... but as a specialist batsman he falls short of what is required.

I have noticed that Warner seems to struggle for runs outside Australia.

Posted by Aussasinator on (March 22, 2013, 18:18 GMT)

Steven Smith is a class act in Indian conditions. But thats all there is to show for the Oz. Watson should now confine himself to the white ball and pray that there are no genuine quicks or good spinners bowling at him. He's not 25% of Michael Clarke.

Posted by Nampally on (March 22, 2013, 18:02 GMT)

Brydon, I enjoyed reading your quotations of Yogi Bera.You forgot to add the most quoted quotation of Yogi: "It Ain't over,till it isOver". Had the Aussies gone into the game armed with this Yogi's quote they might have played in a more determined fashion like Siddle or Smith did. Einstien's famous quote for Insanity: "Repeating the same mistakes consistently but expecting different results". If Warner, Cowan & others had not repeated their past mistakes, the result might have been much better. Learning from the past mistakes is the best "homework". That basically summed up the Aussie batting on Day 1. The same also applied to the Indian batting during their last tour of Australia. Several batsmen kept poking at the balls wide of the off stump repeatedly & perished. Here the sweep shot against an RH off spinner by LH batsmen has been a standard dismissal for many. This stroke works when the batsman is well set & has judged the pace, turn & bounce of the wkt. but not before.

Posted by Arrow011 on (March 22, 2013, 17:48 GMT)

I always had good impression on Steven Smith as a batsman after watching him in IPL & few ODIs. I think he really is a decent test player who is reliable. He should be persisted with. He is good in spin pitches, he is likely to become better & also can be a possible captain of Australia in future.

Posted by Arrow011 on (March 22, 2013, 17:42 GMT)

Usman Khwaja is nothing but a pipe dream, he was exposed in the few tests he played, don't know why Australian team carries dead woods.

Posted by blink182alex on (March 22, 2013, 17:42 GMT)

I was really impressed today with Glenn Maxwell. I mean his innings today was a perfect practice hit for the IPL, showing that he can hit a six, whilst not spending too much time at the crease to give away a few of his secrets to the bowlers.

The answer to stop the top and middle order collapse is easy - reverse the batting order. Lyon would be a solid opening batsmen who wouldn't get bowled round his legs sweeping, whilst Siddle can be that rock at 3 that we've been looking for since Ponting vacated that spot. We can either try this, or how about just selecting a proper squad of 17 players and picking the best team, nahh we'll just select a squad based on those who have shown a bit of 'x-factor' in T20 cricket.

Posted by   on (March 22, 2013, 17:31 GMT)

i just can't understand why they r not playing Usman Khawaja...he should've been given chance in this match to prove his worth...but it looks like he is not in the good books of coach Micky Arthur...players like Maxwell and Henriques are not even comparable to whitewash is guaranteed...

Posted by Asadpk on (March 22, 2013, 16:57 GMT)

After their repeated batting failures in the last 3 Tests, Aus still went into this Test with just 3 specialist batsmen, none of whom was Michael Clarke and 2 of whom were Warner and Hughes. If both Watson and Smith had to be played, then perhaps there should have been a proper batsman in Maxwell's place.

Posted by ultimatewarrior on (March 22, 2013, 16:52 GMT)

Its said no. of times said that present Australian Team is one of the worst visitor to India and in comparison England Team was very good which won in India. But that England Team too had started Asian Tour with 0-3 defeat in the hands of Pakistan, then they gone to Sri Lanka with 1-1 Draw and ultimately they won in India by 2-1 and ironically they maintain the almost same Team during lows and highs.....So its not surprise that Australian team without Ponting & Hussey from previous generation for the first time is loosing 0-3 and god knows may be win here after on....

Posted by Collegefastbowler on (March 22, 2013, 16:52 GMT)

With the pitch helping the bowlers any result is possible in this match as India have to bat last on a wearing pitch. Much will depend on the second day's play. If India can get the tailenders out and then put up a 350+ score then the Aussies might struggle. On the other hand if Australia are able to bowl India out for around 250 and then score a quick 200+ in their second innings, India might be in for some difficult time in the last innings on a wearing pitch. So the second day's play is going to be crucial to set the tone for the match.

Posted by   on (March 22, 2013, 15:58 GMT)

In my book, Haddin is a better wicket keeper-batsman than Wade, though both are below the standards set by Healy & Gilly at their peak. (Of course, the standards of Healy & Gilly also declined toward the unset of their careers). Guys like Wade, Haddin & Paine are just working towards their peak, and no where near the end of their careers.

Posted by venkatesh018 on (March 22, 2013, 15:57 GMT)

Disagree with those who criticize the choice of the playing eleven. This is the best team for the surface with only one change needed:Haddin should have been retained ahead of Wade.

Posted by   on (March 22, 2013, 15:56 GMT)

4 Australians were suspended for not doing their "homework". But it seems two more, Cowan and Warner, haven't done it either, getting out to the same shots repeatedly ! And I can't fathom the decision to bench Usman Khwaja yet again when this is a dead rubber and Australia wouldn't have lost anything by giving him an opportunity to prove himself ahead of the Ashes by resting Hughes or Warner. I mean, what is the point of bringing him all the way to India when he ends up just watching from the sidelines ? Replacing Haddin with Wade was another poor decision. Like cric_option says, Haddin is a better batsman and wicketkeeper too. They could have played both Wade (just as a batsman) and Haddin(keeping also) instead of selecting Maxwell when he is a batting allrounder and they already have Lyon as a specialist spinner. This would have added depth to the batting. Australia seems obsessed with allrounders; they kept Henriques till now inspite of his mediocre bowling skills.

Posted by   on (March 22, 2013, 15:50 GMT)

"Middle order for this Test - Hughes, Watson, Smith, Matthew Wade and Glenn Maxwell - is the weakest Australia have fielded in decades" , the report from Sid Ravidran says. Dear friends from Auastralia, I find it difficult to accept this! How can this happen? There are no better players to choose from? If you say, NO, none; I can only say, tell that to the Marines! Unbelievable. In a great cricketing nation like Australia, I am sure, there are better middle order batsmen. Our Oz friends ( cricket lovers) alone can shed light on this enigma. Inverarity, Howard, or Arthur can't answer this. The cricket watching Australians may know!

Posted by   on (March 22, 2013, 15:36 GMT)

Mickey, you should be happy. You have students, who watch others, learn, and eminently (Inverarity, you want me to use the term 'invariably', in your honour, instead of 'eminently') emulate their shots.

Here are two good examples. Watson , as Captain, studied and copied his rested Captain Michael Clarke superbly, to Jadeja's delight. He even covered the same distance from the crease. Even your erudite, and well-disciplined boy copied Warner to the tee. What more can you expect your students to learn and practice and replicate?

By the way, Mickey, the time you spend to learn from your students' notes can be better utilized to teach them. I suspect that is what a coach is supposed to do! No harm in trying to coach the team, for a change, before the Ashes, that is if you are still around!

Posted by   on (March 22, 2013, 15:31 GMT)

@cric-options: Australia can still lose this game if India take a big lead. Of course it depends on how the wicket plays too. If the pitch behaves the way it did today, then India won't find it easy either. I think Australia would be reasonably happy if they can restrict the Indian lead to below 50 and then they need to bat well for once in the 2nd innings.

Posted by popcorn on (March 22, 2013, 15:25 GMT)

Australia will regret not selecting Usman Khawaja in place of David Warner or Phil Hughes.

Posted by cric_options on (March 22, 2013, 15:07 GMT)

Strangely Smith is way underrated. Barring Clarke, he is as good as any batsman in the team. Also Haddin has a very assured approach towards handling the Indian conditions and bowlers, strangely he was dropped in favor of Wade, who is just about ok. Australia cannot lose this test match from here.

Posted by ravi_hari on (March 22, 2013, 14:49 GMT)

The main problem of this tour for Aussies is their final XI selection. Each test they got it wrong and each time they paid a heavy price. The second aspect is their fascination to bat first. In Mohali after the previous day's rain they should have opted to bowl to use the slightly sweating wicket. In Delhi on a fresh wicket and with 3 pacers in the side they should have bowled first. Having some one like Jhonson in the side, if you dont give him the first chance to have a go at the batsmen it is poor thinking. Thirdly, India have never been tested on Day 1 in this entire series. It was a big opportunity each test which was not utilised. You are trying to avoid batting in the 4th innings. Why did you not think of batting out India with a big score in the first innings after India is shot out quickly. I think Clarke and Arthur have failed on both counts. They should have changed the course of the game by bowling first. 4-0 looks very much a reality and it might happen by Sunday itself.

Posted by sudhir98 on (March 22, 2013, 14:46 GMT)

You mean to say homework did not fix the horrible shot selection?? I am truly appalled and stumped !! :-)

Posted by prashnottz on (March 22, 2013, 14:38 GMT)

Out of curiosity, is there anything such as a bowler's wicket against Aussies? Bowling around the legs require precision of flight and turn, Ashwin did that, it was preplanned, and Cowan fell for it. Its good bowling more than bat batting.

Posted by   on (March 22, 2013, 14:28 GMT)

Once again the tail shows up the inadequacies of the Australian middle order. As an Indian, it is extremely frustrating to let Australia recover from the depths of 136/7 and reach a respectable score. Given that 300 and above is a competitive total on this wicket, Australia will have their tails up if they stretch the total to 250-260 tomorrow morning. Siddle batted with great resolve, following the path shown by Smith, but I was disappointed with the lack of killer instinct from India. I felt Dhoni could have taken the new ball when Smith got out rather than waiting till the 94th over and Ishant and Bhuvi (who was strangely off colour today) could have bowled some yorkers to the tailenders. Btw, another great article Mr.Coverdale. I especially liked the reference to Australia's defence and foreign affairs minister !

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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.
Tour Results
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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