Australia in India 2012-13 March 25, 2013

Clarke leads the way on disappointing tour

Australia's marks out of ten, for the Test series against India


Michael Clarke (286 runs at 47.66)

The only Australian to score a century on this tour, Clarke showed from the first day in Chennai how nimble footwork is key to handling Indian conditions. He scored 130 in that innings, and in the second innings was only done in by a nasty ball that stayed low and turned viciously. That was followed by 91 in the first innings in Hyderabad, which could have become another ton had he not tried to hit out when running out of partners. His move up the order to No. 3 in Mohali failed in the first innings, and in the second he was severely hampered by his back pain. Clarke was such a lone beacon for most of the series that India knew if they could get him, they had won half the battle.


Steven Smith (161 runs at 40.25, 1 wicket at 63.00)

Smith only played in Mohali because of the so-called homework sackings, but the Australians were immediately glad of his inclusion. His 92 in the first innings of that match showed that Clarke was not the only batsman in the side capable of using his feet. Smith was busy against the spinners and always looked confident, which couldn't be said for most of his team-mates. A mature 46 in the first innings in Delhi added to his value, but given how comfortable he looked, the Australians really needed him to go on and turn one of his innings into a big hundred. His part-time bowling was at times awful, but he produced one perfect legbreak to have Sachin Tendulkar caught at bat-pad in Mohali.

Peter Siddle (9 wickets at 33.88, 139 runs at 17.37)

Siddle had little impact in the first two Tests, but became an important player in the second half of the series. His 5 for 71 in Mohali prevented India from stretching their lead into triple figures, and in Delhi it was his batting that provided the greatest value. In his previous 40 Tests, Siddle had not scored a half-century, but he dug in to make 51 and 50, top scoring in both innings. Consequently, he became the first batsman in Test history to score half-centuries in both innings at No. 9. His efforts showed up his batting team-mates, and kept Australia in the contest.


Ed Cowan (265 runs at 33.12)

Although Cowan didn't build the big scores required of a Test opener, he at least showed his ability to learn. Early in the series he thought the best approach was to attack India's bowlers, but dancing down the wicket, attempting to go over the top, got him stumped in Chennai. In the next two Tests his scores and time at the crease grew as he changed tack, and chose to occupy time, forcing the Indians to get him out rather than getting himself out - although a poorly judged sweep in Delhi went against that reasoning. M Vijay was the only player from either team to face more balls in the series than Cowan, and his steadiness was admirable given the carnage that often took place around him.

James Pattinson (9 wickets at 27.77, 68 runs at 17.00)

The stand-out Australia bowler in Chennai with his 5 for 96 in the first innings, Pattinson used his pace through the air to challenge India's batsmen in spite of the slow pitch. There was no question that Pattinson was the most sorely missed of the four men dropped in Mohali for failing to complete a homework task set by coach Mickey Arthur, and when he returned in Delhi he didn't have quite the same impact. Like all of Australia's tail, he also showed plenty of fight with the bat.

Nathan Lyon (15 wickets at 37.33, 54 runs at 18.00)

The axing of Lyon for the second Test in Hyderabad was one of the most surprising selection strategies of the tour, for although he leaked copious runs in Chennai, he did pick up five wickets, and nobody could have controlled MS Dhoni in such an unconstrained frame of mind. In the final Test in Delhi, Lyon showed that he had learnt how to bowl in India, avoiding too full a length, and adopting an around-the-wicket line to the right-handed batsmen that brought lbws firmly into play. He collected nine wickets for the match, and it should have been ten but for a dropped catch by Matthew Wade. His resilience with the bat at No.11 showed up some of his top-order teammates as well.


Moises Henriques (156 runs at 31.20, 2 wickets at 77.50)

Chosen for his first Test in Chennai, Henriques showed remarkable resolve with the bat in both innings, and scored 68 and an unbeaten 81. Although he ran out of partners in the second innings, and missed the chance for a hundred on debut, he was the first Australian since 1979 to score a half-century in each innings of his first Test. However, his batting in Hyderabad and Mohali did not live up to his Chennai promise, and as a bowler he lacked penetration.

Mitchell Starc (2 wickets at 100.00, 145 runs at 36.25)

This may seem a generous mark for Starc given his failure with the ball, but it is a reflection of the fight and skill he showed with the bat in Mohali. In the first innings he very nearly became the second Australian centurion of the tour, but was caught behind for 99. His 35 in the second innings almost got Australia into a position from which they could dream of preventing an Indian win. His two wickets for the series came in one over during a spell of outstanding swing bowling, but when the ball wasn't moving, he was of little threat to India's batsmen.


Brad Haddin (51 runs at 25.50, 4 catches, 1 stumping)

Given another chance in Test cricket due to Wade's ankle injury in Mohali, Haddin was clean behind the stumps, and even found himself acting as on-field captain when Clarke was off having his sore back treated. He made starts in both innings but was unable to go on.


David Warner (195 runs at 24.37)

Despite making two half-centuries, Warner had the worst series of his short Test career. His 59 on the first day of the tour was scratchy, and his only innings of real note was 71 in Mohali, when he and Cowan put on 139 for the opening stand. Two edges from loose flashes outside off with no footwork in the first couple of overs in Mohali and Delhi, were especially ugly.

Glenn Maxwell (7 wickets at 27.57, 39 runs at 9.75)

The so-called "Big Show" had no impact with the bat, despite being promoted to open in the second innings in Delhi. He did manage to collect four wickets in Hyderabad, and three in Delhi, but has a long way to go before he can be considered a Test batting option.


Phillip Hughes (147 runs at 18.37)

For two and half Tests, Hughes was mesmerised by India's spin and the conditions, and at one stage had a drought of 58 deliveries against India's spinners without scoring a run. A new, more aggressive approach helped him in the second innings in Mohali, and he was unlucky to be lbw for 69 to a ball clearly missing leg. In Delhi he contributed 45 in the first innings.

Matthew Wade (113 runs at 18.83, 4 catches, 1 stumping)

One decent score - 62 in Hyderabad - was not what Australia needed from Wade after deciding he could serve as a top six batsman on this trip. He had an up-and-down time behind the stumps, sometimes making impressive saves, and on other occasions letting through byes that could have been stopped. Keeping wicket in India is tough, but his lack of footwork did not help his cause. Wade dropped a regulation chance when Dhoni edged Lyon in Delhi, and missed a couple of difficult stumping opportunities.


Shane Watson (99 runs at 16.50)

This was a hugely disappointing tour for Watson, who chose to embark on it as a specialist batsman in the hope of avoiding bowling injuries. Twice he was out pulling, which is risky on pitches with variable bounce, but found a number of other ways to lose his wicket as well. The homework saga and his reaction to it was Australia's off-field low point, and although he returned and was given the captaincy in Delhi, overall this series could hardly have gone worse for Watson.

Xavier Doherty (4 wickets at 60.50, 24 runs at 24.00)

A limited-overs bowler with limited weapons in the longer format, Doherty played in Hyderabad and Mohali, as the Australian selectors struggled to find their best attack. He was tighter than the other spinners but also far less of a threat.


Mitchell Johnson (0 wickets, 3 runs at 1.50)

Johnson's tour consisted of one Test, figures of 0 for 60, a golden duck, an innings of 3 that featured two close lbw shouts, a near run-out, and ended with a leave to a carrom ball that took off stump. He was also sloppy in the field, costing Australia a couple of boundary overthrows, and failed to complete a homework task. Enough said.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Firdaus on March 27, 2013, 11:48 GMT

    Maxwell deserves less, he did nothing worth speaking of. Cowan was impressive, he deserved more. Siddle DEFINITELY deserved more, even if just for his batting in the last test. Varied his game beautifully for the conditions, and was sensible throughout his innings. Also bowled well in all four mathes, in truth.

  • Firdaus on March 27, 2013, 11:43 GMT

    @Dashgar: Why should Khawaja be dropped? Poor guy didn't get a game. Smith should also be given more time, because he shows a lot of grit and some raw talent. Should be given an extended run (like he was earlier) because he HAS matured as a batsmen, even in the Shield.

    Squad for first match: Cowan, Warner/Doolan, Hughes, Ferguson, Clarke, Wade, Smith, Pattinson, Starc, Siddle, Faulkner I would probably give Doolan a go and see how well he goes. If he fails, bring back a Warner who has now experienced being dropped and has a bit more determination.

  • David on March 27, 2013, 10:40 GMT

    What is the reason that despite his increasingly bad performances, Warner is considered by almost every Aussie to be an automatic choice? Honestly, he is a liability as an opener. He exposes the middle order immediately in 8 out of 10 games. He gets by on the occasional performance on a flat track. Against Si Lanka he averaged below Hussey, Johnson, Clarke & Wade, & just above Hughes. Against SA he averaged under Clarke, Hussey, Pattinson & Cowan. He made one big score, & that on the flattest track of the tour. Where Cowan made 136, he made 4. His other scores were 119, 41, 13 & 29 - tour ave 41.2. That is just not consistent enough, or good enough. He does not have the discipline for a test opener, and he has been given a very long run. Success down the order means having openers who take the shine off the ball, put up some runs, and get the middle order set up for success. Warner does not. He is a liability in this team, and in the Ashes he will fail again.

  • Anupam on March 27, 2013, 8:21 GMT

    @OneEyedAussie on (March 26, 2013, 1:43 GMT) A squib on the heaven of spin bowling by lyon and you called it MOJO.and also what does it mean "found"- He never done that before.@Meety on (March 27, 2013, 0:20 GMT) i understand your feelings towards lyon(cousin brother). But my point is that we all know Beer is consistant, steady & accurate similar like Jadeja's bowling don't you think he could be a good option. Lyon failed in all 4 departments 1.very few maidens not acceptable in tests. 2. gone for too many runs. 3. unable to create pressure. 4. except last test he failed to pick wickets on the spinner's dream pitches.

  • Chris on March 27, 2013, 3:17 GMT

    Now with the benefit of hindsight, we can pick the starting XI that would have statistically been the best for this series. It is as follows: Warner, Cowan, Smith, Henriques, Clarke, Starc(bat-only), Haddin, Lyon, Siddle, Pattinson, Maxwell(bowl-only). Statistically, this team still would have likely lost the series, but probably more like a 3-0 or 2-1 at best. This is why I was calling out BEFORE the series started that O'Keefe, Bird, D.Hussey, Rogers and Harris needed to play the first test. What a difference those guys would have made. Now this series will be remembered for the 4-0 thrashing and Arthur's lack of understanding for what's important. Discipline off the field does not matter in the history books, losses and embarrassing controversies like Homeworkgate do. Arthur caused both of those. Warne was famously ill-disciplined, but his ego was encouraged to be released on the field rather than try to destroy it. Is there any movement bring in Tim Coyle for Micky Mouse?

  • Andrew on March 27, 2013, 0:20 GMT

    @AKS286 on (March 26, 2013, 9:33 GMT) - nobody told you Lyon was better than Warne, just better than BEER, the bloke you had a man-crush on! @ jezzastyles on (March 26, 2013, 5:53 GMT) - Cric Oz really needs to change up the FTP, no more tours of India PRIOR to an Ashes. It just leaves a poor form guide. For instance, I am a fan of Smith, & loved the fact that he batted well in India. I would without doubt, have him close to (or in), every side we send to the sub-continent (inc UAE tour v Pakistan not far away). However, I am doubtful, he will do as well against Eng in Eng. Cowan is sort of the opposite, I didn't want him selected for India - but he'd be the 1st opener I'd select for Eng conditions. Our pacers were blunted in hostile conditions for pacers, but will be infinately more dangerous in Eng conditions. This goes for any stupid 2-test tours prior to home Ashes as well! @thebrotherswaugh - Lyon's 1st tour of India, was better than Panesar & Swann, so he is worth stickin with!

  • Johnathon on March 26, 2013, 23:29 GMT

    Would give Pattinson, Cowan, and Lyon a 7. Lyon bowled superbly throughout the series given that he was bowling to Indians (best players of spin) and to a formidable batting lineup in alien conditions. Pattinson should be given marks simply because he was very effective on subcontinent conditions (compare him to Ishant and Kumar). Cowan was simply the most consistent batsman out there (more consistent than Clark who made 3 good scores and 3 bad scores)

  • Ashok on March 26, 2013, 19:54 GMT

    Chennai was a Dhoni tronado that no team could have survived. But team selection in Hyderabad was the BIG reason for a series disaster. Dropping Lynon and selecting Maxwell was crazy. Australia's strength was a top class fast bowling attack. Even when the batsmen are set they never dominated pattinson, Siddle or Stark. By messing with the team they ended up with a very poor attack where Doherty, Maxwell & Henriques were the envy of many club bowlers!

    Micky Arthur & co must be flogged for thinking they could win a test match in India with that attack.

    The Homework issue would have been a non-issue if the hyderabad test had been played with a good attack and the scores were more competitive.

  • Anupam on March 26, 2013, 19:28 GMT

    Clarke out of 6 innings he was the victim of rookie jadeja 5 times. Aus lost its dominance in Test, Odis under the Clarke's captaincy. and in T20 always struggling. no problem with the team; the only problem is Clarke ego vs seniors & ponting's favourates.

  • Prashan on March 26, 2013, 12:40 GMT

    Lack of centuries and partnerships were the root cause behind Australia's downfall. These 2 are absolutely paramount to at least prevent yourself from losing a test match. Congratulations to India for an excellent performance.