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India v Australia, 2nd Test, Hyderabad, 4th day

Where to from here for Australia?

Australia have eight days to regroup before the third Test in Mohali. They will need them, to take a good hard look in the mirror

Brydon Coverdale

March 5, 2013

Comments: 56 | Text size: A | A

Shane Watson walks back after another failure, India v Australia, 2nd Test, Hyderabad, 4th day, March 5, 2013
The Australia top order has been a disaster © BCCI

The halfway point in a Test tour provides a chance for reflection. That time has arrived a day earlier than it was supposed to. The second Test wasn't meant to finish until late on Wednesday but Australia's batsmen couldn't survive that long. Couldn't even last until lunch on day four. Their seven-day break before the next Test in Mohali has stretched to eight days. All the more chance to think about where they have gone wrong. It would be quicker to consider what has gone right.

It's a short list. Michael Clarke has batted like everyone knew he could in India, using his feet and scoring a century in Chennai and 91 in Hyderabad. James Pattinson has defied the conditions to collect eight wickets at an average of 23.62. That is a monumental effort given the lack of assistance he has received from his colleagues and the pitches. Moises Henriques made a half-century in each innings on debut. What else? Well, Clarke won the toss in both games, does that count?

Everything else has been grim. The top order has been a disaster. The handling of the spinners by the selection panel has defied belief. The fast bowlers, Pattinson aside, have been blunted. Even the fielding has lacked sharpness. But the squad and its myriad support staff cannot give up and fly home. Two Tests and three weeks of this tour remain. Heck, the Border-Gavaskar Trophy is even still up for grabs; Australia retain it if the series is drawn.

Right now that seems as realistic as a Shane Warne comeback. But Clarke's men cannot think any other way. They should note that the previous Test played in Mohali provided 25 wickets to fast bowlers and only 12 to spinners. That should give them a glimmer of hope. Their situation is glum but things are never as bad as they seem. This is not the Ashes of 2010-11. Three innings defeats at home provided a nadir that cannot be beaten. This is not losing at home to New Zealand.

For decades Test squads from all countries have been travelling to India and failing, just as India were trounced 4-0 in Australia in 2011-12. Australia's batsmen are not raised on spin-friendly pitches; India's are not as accustomed to pace. That is the natural order of things. But the extent to which Australia have struggled since the competitive first couple of days of the Chennai Test points to some worrying underlying issues.

One is the well-documented lack of spin depth in Australia's domestic ranks. Sure, Jon Holland and Michael Beer could not be considered for this tour due to injury and Steve O'Keefe was overlooked, but how much difference would they have really made? The emergence of the legspinner Fawad Ahmed is a bonus but for now, Nathan Lyon remains the Test side's best spin option. Xavier Doherty and Glenn Maxwell picked up late wickets in Hyderabad, but none when it mattered.

The retirement of Michael Hussey has also exposed the frailties of the batting line-up - at least in turning conditions, for they should do better in England later this year. None of Australia's top four batsmen is averaging better than 30 in this series. The most worrying thing is that their batting performances have declined since their 380 in the first innings in Chennai. Losing 8 for 56 on the final morning in Hyderabad was a sign either of not having learnt, or just not being good enough in the conditions. Either way, it's a concern.

So where to from here?

Clarke has already announced he will shuffle up the order in Mohali. It is a necessary move. Against the spinners, Clarke is so far in front of his team-mates that it's like Michael Jordan leading the Washington Generals. Phillip Hughes seems to think R Ashwin is a Harlem Globetrotter and watches in awe as his fingers twirl the ball. He is utterly mesmerised. Hughes might be useful in England, but he cannot retain his place for the third Test in India.

Clarke has already announced he will shuffle up the order in Mohali. It is a necessary move. Against the spinners, Clarke is so far in front of his team-mates that it's like Michael Jordan leading the Washington Generals. Phillip Hughes seems to think R Ashwin is a Harlem Globetrotter and watches in awe as his fingers twirl the ball. He is utterly mesmerised. Hughes might be useful in England, but he cannot retain his place for the third Test in India.

That would allow Clarke to move to No.4 and Shane Watson to first drop. Given that the Mohali pitch is likely to offer more for the fast bowlers, it makes sense for Watson to come in earlier. But he cannot keep failing. Watson has not made a Test century since last time Australia played in Mohali and that was two-and-a-half years ago. As a non-bowling batsman he is obliged to contribute big runs.

After the Hyderabad loss, Clarke was asked how Watson could translate his one-day form to Test cricket. "I don't know the answer to that," Clarke said. "You probably have to ask Watto that question." Really, Watson needs to ask himself that question. In all four innings this series he has looked okay and then found a way to get out. Spin and pace have done for him twice each; a strangle down the leg side to Ishant Sharma was his latest mistake.

David Warner has to force patience on himself. He can do it; a gritty century against New Zealand in Hobart early in his career proved that. To state the obvious, he also needs a better plan against spin. His opening partner Ed Cowan showed some promising signs in a near three-hour innings in Hyderabad. He was patient and has learnt as the series has gone on. But thirties and forties will not save Australia.

Usman Khawaja should be given a chance at No.5. What's the point of having backup batsmen unless you're prepared to play them when others fail? Under the circumstances, Matthew Wade and Henriques at Nos. 6 and 7 make sense. Wade's first-innings half-century in Hyderabad was encouraging and Henriques provides a fifth bowling option. He is not a frontline seamer, but a useful backup.

From 1 to 7, the batsmen need to play straight and wait until they are settled before expanding their repertoires too much. Clarke said he was disappointed at how many batsmen had fallen while playing across the line or against the spin so far in the series. With self-discipline, that is fixable.

Despite the late wickets from Doherty and Maxwell, Lyon should return to the attack. He leaked too many runs in Chennai but also claimed four wickets and deserved a chance to show he had learnt. Pattinson and Siddle ought to be joined in Mohali by Mitchell Johnson, who claimed a first-innings five-wicket haul in the previous Test played at the venue.

All of these are decisions for Clarke, Mickey Arthur and Rod Marsh, who will replace John Inverarity as the selector on duty this week. But none of their choices mean much if the men on the field offer no fight. Losing by an innings in India and going down 2-0 is not the end of the world. But it is time for the players to reflect. Or to put it another way, to take a good hard look in the mirror.

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

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Posted by popcorn on (March 6, 2013, 22:08 GMT)

Phil Hughes should be dumped, no question. And,oh,no,not again - the Poms will be licking their lips. Why are you,Brydon Coverdale, AND the Selectors, pampering Shane Watson so much? Don't we want to win? I sincerely suggest: Warner,Cowan,Khawaja,Clarke,Henriques,Wade,Johnson,Siddle,Pattinson, Lyon,Doherty or Maxwell.And for guys like Ian Chappell who don't like the sight of Ed Cowan - who's asking you? Cowan is the most resolute batsman,he's a fghter, has good technique,and does not give his wicket away easily.Unlike Warner or Watson or Phil Hughes.

Posted by   on (March 6, 2013, 21:24 GMT)

I still can't believe the way people are thinking, Australia can still retain the B/G Trophy. But to do this Australia must win .... to win they must bowl India out twice for less than 250-runs in both innings.

If we get the chance .... India bat first.

I would have Pattinson open with Johnson, first change Harris and Hilfenhaus, second change Siddle and Starc. That's right six bowlers .... all who can hold a bat. Cricket would never have experienced so much testosterone on an oval in one day and I think that this order would 'inspire' Siddle and Starc to do something special. 3-over rotations, 6-over rests, 15-overs/day. No excuses and nothing subtle .... go hard or go home.

If it doesn't work, at least you can go to the Australian public and say, "We had to win this test. We had to take 20-wickets. In Australia we play cricket to win and that's what we did."

Also I would have Agar and O'keefe ready for Baggy Greens for a spinning pitch in Dehli, with Haddin as keeper.

Posted by anilkp on (March 6, 2013, 17:53 GMT)

Brydon, there is not much of a problem, actually. Chennai was a one-man show (Dhoni). That muddied the Aussie minds who committed selectorial blunder for Hyderabad. They should have persisted with Lyon. Now, they need to bring him back. Have Mitch J for, say, Siddle, as he might enjoy the Mohali track. Bring a specialist for Hughes; maybe Khawaja. And, more importantly, have patience. Not many hoped the Indians to do well down under last time, and not many hope this Aussie team to do well here either. These teams are at their regional best. Just accept the results, and just motivate the players to be patient and to not capitulate without a fight. That's it. Simple. There will be a winner, laud them; there will be a loser, encourage them. Dismembering the game to threadbare details will only ruin the fun.

Posted by AKS286 on (March 6, 2013, 17:45 GMT)

Clarke is responsible for struggling Australia.due to respect He axed all the senior players. senior Watto body language looks like he is not a team member. Only siddle is left.

Posted by   on (March 6, 2013, 15:57 GMT)

No simple answers for this Australian team. They may not win a Test Match on this tour, but the experience will be valuable for the players, especially the ones who will continue to retain their places for future Test Matches. Apart from Clarke, there is no other superstar batsman in the side or in Australia. Watson has lost whatever he had and if he continues to fail, he should be dropped from the Test side. Warner may make runs, but he is far from being consistant, and so is Cowan. Lyon is not a Test bowler, and why he continues to be picked is a big mystery for any fan of Australian Cricket. They also need a superstar spinner. The fast bowler's line up is good and can take wickets on an encouraging pitch. India will not prepare a pitch to accomodate them. Numero uno spot is very,very,very far away.Take the trashing and hope for the best in the Ashes. To defeat England in English conditions is like defeating India on Indian wickets. The next two years does not look too good !

Posted by   on (March 6, 2013, 15:27 GMT)

Mohali would be more to Aussie liking and you can count them to come back strongly. When in India, one real quality spinner can make all the difference. Just a short while back Swann and to some extent Panesar had the team in knots. A Shane Warne might not appear overnight but there is got to be someone who is better than Lyon really. It should also force the Aussie selectors to concentrate on spin as an art of bowling and encouraging talent within domestic cricket.

Posted by big_al_81 on (March 6, 2013, 11:59 GMT)

Surprisingly and pleasingly level-headed article given the potential for hysteria over these two poor performances. Ifeel, however, I have to point out that, although visiting squads overall have been failing for decades in India, there was a rather recent exception to that rule!!! England lost the first test then dominated the series impressively. And although Hughes may be more comfortable in English conditions he'll be playing, as will the others, against a far better team than at present! I doubt there will be a nadir to rival the Ashes of 2010-11 but I can hope, and based on the respective form of the two teams it's not out of the question in 2013-14 ;-)

Posted by phunny_game on (March 6, 2013, 11:24 GMT)

Actually, The only one who deserves to be dropped is Watson... Ofcourse maxwell needs to be dropped as well... Including a batsman and MJ will solve the problem... MJ is sure to score more runs than maxwell and provide a left arm seam option.

Infact since watson can not bowl, they should have included MJ straightaway. I am sure he could have scored as many runs as Watson has scored along with a seam option. Did anyone think about that??? I feel that is a good option...

Posted by androyuvi on (March 6, 2013, 11:16 GMT)

What a contrast between Indian writers about their countrymen and non-Indian writers about their respective countrymen. I can see signs of hope, advises, suggestions and still a pat on the back to move forward. I haven't seen this kind of treatment given for Indian cricketers when they failed miserably in England and Australia. I still believe Australia can pull things back and win one in Mohali, and that would spice things up well for the Delhi test. After the end of Chennai test, i thought the pitch has got into Australian batsmen, but after Hyderabad's test i have changed my mind; it's the mental block to play against spin. They got to believe they can handle spin well. After all that is the country that gave Shane Warne to the world. Eight days, more then enough to learn to negotiate the good balls. Once you succeed that, you will keep receiving bad balls at regular intervals. Test cricket is all about technique and patience; Don't over-think it.

Posted by   on (March 6, 2013, 10:47 GMT)

I'm going state what I think is the obvious.. Given who is currently available in the squad, any replacements will simply paper over the cracks. None of the bowlers look capable as a group of getting 20 Indian wickets... and none of the batters (excluding Clarke) look capable of amassing the big scores you need with such a ineffective attack. Quite simply, with the exception of Clarke, there is no real class in this Australian line-up and it's been well and truly exposed. I cannot believe that there is such a paucity of talent in Australia that this squad of players is the best that could be assembled. Still, the selectors have made their bed and they will have to lie in it..uncomfortable as it may be.

Posted by   on (March 6, 2013, 9:46 GMT)

Clarke is the only test class batsman in the Australian squad. That's the legacy of too much one day cricket, especially T20, in the last decade and has been obvious for several series now.

Posted by rappedonthepads on (March 6, 2013, 9:41 GMT)

What about sending Watson up the order to open the innings? I remember seeing him score heaps of 50s- he was getting out soon after but was still getting to 50. The general sense here is that this is the weakest team from Australia to come to India unlike England which probably had its strongest ever team up here in a 20 yr time frame. While it does appear agonisingly uphill, if Clarke and company make use of conditions in Mohali and roll out India for under 200, 3rd test could be saved or even won.

Posted by Sameer-hbk on (March 6, 2013, 8:42 GMT)

Do not think Aussies need to worry too much about Mohali. That match might most likely end up in a draw since the best the curator can do there is make a flat track without grass. Just do not think that it would turn as disconcertingly as Chennai or even Hyderabad. Yet, looking back, it seems strange that India Drew 5, Won 4 and lost only the 1st test match played here to WI back in 94.

Last time Aus were here, they were denied only because of heroics of VVS and the tail. Unless something drastic happens to the pitch, this contest should be more even, before Delhi starts to 'turn' things again in India's favor. Feel this is Oz's best chance on the tour and they should simply go with 3 fast men and a spinner. This surface should make their top order look more competent as well.

Posted by   on (March 6, 2013, 8:11 GMT)

No! As the only batsman with the technique, temperament, confidence and form, Clarke should go in first drop. So what if his personal average drops ten units! His influence at the top and through the innings will offset that easily. As an opening pair, Cowan and Warner are not doing all that badly. By all means, let Khawaja in at four with Watson, Wade and Henriques to follow. Bowling - Pattinson and Johnson, Lyon AND Doherty (this is India, remember?) backed by the containment offered by Henriques. But the key is that Clarke must, I repeat, MUST bat at three!

Posted by Adityak on (March 6, 2013, 8:01 GMT)

"Even the fielding has lacked sharpness" : undue criticism. David Warner in the covers and square has been exemplary. And after 2 hard days in the field, some very good catches towards the end of the Indian innings. Australian fielding has been good.

Posted by warneneverchuck on (March 6, 2013, 7:24 GMT)

Huges' batting in this series remind me of ponting's in 2001 series

Posted by Mary_786 on (March 6, 2013, 7:21 GMT)

I noticed that Vaughn was poking fun at the Aussie team today. I wouldn't pay Vaughan any mind - after listening to his radio commentary I can't abide his negative attitude to life in general and I am half English. The Ashes will be closer than we'd care to admit, and I don't think England will reach the levels of 2010/11 - that was once in a generation cricket; amazing stuff. Clarke is a great batsman and the younger guys in Khawaja, Warner and Wade will rise to the occation and our fast bowling attack is unmatched at present. However, man for man, England look to have the upper hand, and more importantly display the mark of a good team, the art of learning from their mistakes - as shown from being humiliated themselves in the UAE to the recent India results, but that doesn't mean we can't match them.

Posted by sachin_vvsfan on (March 6, 2013, 7:04 GMT)

Can't believe some fans are still vouching for watson in ashes. What value will he add? A quick 40-50 with some whackings over long on wont help. Feel pit for katich who was ousted even when he was performing decently.Hughes has the determination and should be given an extended run given that he is young.

What i predict is these T20 openers will fail in the opening matches in Ashes and the selectors will make knee jerk reactions to hand the baggy green to new comers and by the end of ashes you will see some 6-7 players making their debut for Aus but Eng comfortably winnings ashes by 3-0 or 4-0.

Posted by uncanny on (March 6, 2013, 7:03 GMT)

AUS looks thin in batting, after retirement of punter and hussey, Watson is a opener and he should open the innings with warner, cowan should come third and 4th place belongs to clarke, 5 you can have khwaja, 6 wade, 7th henriques, jhonson, pattison, siddle, lyon as bowlers. And clarke should bowl some overs as he used to do in AUS.

Posted by Leggie on (March 6, 2013, 6:39 GMT)

Australia should not look critically at these defeats. It's an inexperienced squad, and it's too much to expect them to do well in conditions that are alien to them. Australia's biggest strength has been their bowling in the last couple of years, and with Indian pitches negating it, they're bound to struggle. For too long, Australian batting has revolved around Michael Clarke and Hussey. With Hussey gone, there is just too much of pressure on the rest. Not sure if Lyon would've made a difference had he been selected in this test. Indians do play spin well and one need not be critical at the attack. Having said this, I would like Australia to include Johnson and Kwaja in place of maxwell and P.Hughes for the remaining two test matches.

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

I would like to suggest a different tack - selecting Rogers, Klinger, Clarke, Kwahaja, D. Hussey, Henriques, Paine, O'Keefe, Starc, Pattinson and Bird. It's not a long term solution but it could just win the Ashes which is more than the current XI will do.

Posted by Cricket_Fan_And_Analyst on (March 6, 2013, 6:08 GMT)

Answer to the headline : Go to England and win there.

Posted by Barnesy4444 on (March 6, 2013, 5:19 GMT)

PPD123, They forced Hayden to retire to bring Hughes into the side, not Katich. That makes the stuffing around Hughes received shortly after even worse. He dominated S.Af, only 2 low scores against England and was dropped. Then picked again when he was out of form and low in confidence. It is this historical scenario I beleive the selectors will be inwilling to repeat on the young man and will therefore keep him in the side. He's not the first young Ozzie batsman to find his first Indian tour difficult.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (March 6, 2013, 5:16 GMT)

We have predominantly left hand batsman, India have predominantly Right Hand batsman. As such we definetely need a left armer seamer who bowls over the wicket. I would bring JOhnson in. Picking Maxwell for Lyon was a disgrace and hopefully immediately rectified. Hughes hasnt got a clue in these conditions so bring in Khawaja. Other than that cant make two many changes with batting as it takes a while to acclimatise to Indian conditions and replacement batters will all be under prepared.

Posted by Barnesy4444 on (March 6, 2013, 5:14 GMT)

Australia will lose this series, be honest. If the pitch for the 3rd test will be better for pace, then why drop Hughes who plays pace well? We should be planning for the next India series and I'll put money that Hughes will still be playing test cricket in 4 years. Leave him there and give him the experience. Was Ponting dropped after his disatrous 2001 series where he averaged 3? No, he was moved up the order!! Why not move Hughes back to open where he is used to?

Posted by Wefinishthis on (March 6, 2013, 5:12 GMT)

Why is everyone over-analysing our batting lineup when this has been Australia's worst bowling performance since the ashes? We have failed to take 10 wickets for less than 500 runs per innings. No batting lineup in history could chase those kinds of runs down in each innings. Imagine if we didn't have Pattinson. India would have scored 1000. O'Keefe, Harris (and Faulkner) must be fast-tracked on a plane to India right now if we don't want to lose 4-0. I'd love to see Bird there too, but he's been injured thanks to the 'rotation' system. Starc was useless as I predicted, MJ would be the same, Siddle is a support bowler, but has failed to adapt. Doherty, Maxwell (and Beer) should have never even been taken on tour. Positions 7-11 should be Wade, O'Keefe, Pattinson, Harris, Lyon and for the ashes, drop Lyon for Bird. Please someone tell the NSP that shield performance is a better predictor of success than ODI's. SA's selectors don't even pick Philander for ODI's, what does that say?

Posted by Baxter_P on (March 6, 2013, 4:25 GMT)

I think if Hughes plays in Mohali, he has to open. Cowan would then have to make way in the XI for Khawaja. Hughes at 3 or 4 is not a solution to any of Australia's batting problems, not anywhere in my opinion and certainly not in India. Hughes and Warner could be a good opening pair, and although Cowan doesn't especially deserve to be dropped, he hasn't posted enough runs to demand retention and he probably just is not a top-level test batsman. On current form, obviously Hughes should be the first to be dropped, but long term, this is a chance to rethink the batting order, and I think Hughes-Warner-Watson-Clarke is the best possible top 4 going forward, with Khawaja having first crack at the #5 spot.

Posted by KhanMitch on (March 6, 2013, 3:08 GMT)

its no so much a hysteria in response to the results. It's more so the fact everyone knew the selectors had stuffed up the moment they nnounced the squad. Any educated cricket fan could tell they'd made a huge error in leaving Haurtiz at home. Cowan should have been dropped five tests ago. Khawaja is crucial in the lineup if only he could get 3-4 games at one time. And their obsession with fabricating an all-rounder? There's just no sense behind what they're trying to do.

It's okay to lose, I can stomach that. But to pick a half-whit team and lose, well now I feel aggrieved and I point the finger solely at theselectors.

Come the Ashes,

1. Warner

2. Watson

3. Hughes

4. Clarke

5. Khawaja

6. Henriques

7. Wade

8. Siddle

9. Pattinson

10. Lyon

11. Bird

Starc, MJ, Hauritz and Haddin round out my squad.

No Maxwell, no Doherty, no Smith and no Cowan.

Posted by   on (March 6, 2013, 3:02 GMT)

If you give a batsman as many chances as Phil Hughes has got he is bound to score a 50 or two. Stop favouring your favorites and buddies Australian selectors and give a fair go to the youngster Khawaja. He must be selected for the next two tests to prove his worth and if successful should be on the plane for the Ashes tour. Whats the use of taking Khawaja to India if you did not intend to select him.

Posted by   on (March 6, 2013, 2:28 GMT)

Yesterday, in the space of about 15 minutes I witnessed the wickets of Cowan, Clarke and Henriques. That last terrible run-out made me finally turn off the cricket scores in disgust. This whole series is a symptom of the underlying illness in Australian cricket. Our top six (except Clarke) have batting averages in the thirties and low forties tops, as compared to the other three teams in the top four who all touch averages in the fifties. The strength is doubtless the pace bowling, fat lot of good that will do in India.

Based on the bizarre squad we have chosen, we need to make very bad lemonade out of a mountain of lemons. Hughes has no idea against spin and Watson is horribly out of form - replace these two walking wickets with Khawaja and Smith and hope that Smith can more some runs on the board (won't be difficult). Get rid of Doherty and bring in the more attacking Lyon. Rest a quick (likely Siddle) and replace with either Starc or Johnson.

Posted by TheCrafter on (March 6, 2013, 1:03 GMT)

Agree with all of what Brydon has to say except for one point - "Hughes might be useful in England" - problem I see is his inability to play spin - Swann & Panesar will bamboozle him just as Ashwin has - let's look elsewhere for a No 3 Hughes has had enough chances. What about Sean Marsh ?

Posted by sportofpain on (March 6, 2013, 1:00 GMT)

@PPD123. Thanks for being gracious in defeat. That's the right attitude to have unlike some others who will find reason to fault the pitches or India's record overseas. As for Australia, shouldn't Clarke bat at No 3 the way Punter did and try to set up the game? I think Lyon should play - was a mistake to keep him out. Also Johnson has 200 wickets and is warming the bench - why? I think Watson is overrated- his record does not lie. Don't know about Phil Hughes - even if it is Mohali, Dhoni is going to bring Ashwin on as soon as Hughes comes in. Feel like Khwaja should be given an extended run - not just 1-2 tests. Why did Huss retire suddenly? Seems like all the senior players have gone so Clarke can be the unquestioned leader - different from Dhoni who has many senior players around him and they keep contributing to the side.

Posted by Chris_Howard on (March 6, 2013, 0:59 GMT)

Why is it so hard to be a selector? The previous Aussie panel were slow to react and made stupid decisions. This panel is quick to react but still makes stupid decisions.

And we're not talking about stupid decisions in *hindsight*. We're talking about decisions that everyone bemoans straight away, before they're even tested.

Most people thought Lyon as the lone spinner in Chennai was a mistake. And so it proved. Afterwards, the selection panel acknowledged it too.

Everyone thought dropping Lyon and bringing in Doherty and Maxwell at Hyderabad was just as stupid. And so it proved.

For mine, third Test should be: Cowan, Warner, Clarke, Kawahja, Watson, Henriques/Maxwell, Wade, Siddle, Pattinson, Starc/Johnson, Lyon. With Henriques/Maxwell dependent on the pitch, and Starc/Johnson, depending on form.

The collective nouse of the cricket fan would do a better job picking an Aussie team. A poll on Cricinfo would do a better job!

Posted by Beertjie on (March 5, 2013, 23:38 GMT)

Mostly agree Brydon, but Starc for Siddle would help create more rough for Lyon to exploit. Success or failure mostly lies in the hands of the (non)batsmen!

Posted by   on (March 5, 2013, 23:24 GMT)

More needs to be said about Watson. Always injury prone, he then wrote his own ticket as batsman only when there were clear doubts about his capacity. He probably has to be given one more test in India (due to lack of other options only - Smith!) but batting no higher than 5. The bigger issue is the selection committee. Whoever is running the show at the moment has clearly lost the plot and should now lose their place, even if this means Arthur and Clarke. But I suspect the real problem is Inverarity - a marginal test cricketer given a new lease of life decades after active involvement in the game: a recipe for disaster.

Posted by MinusZero on (March 5, 2013, 23:13 GMT)

Usman should play 3, Hughes dropped and Watson to 5. Watson should think himself lucky to still get selected. Averaging less than 30 in the last 2 years isnt good enough.

Posted by Matth on (March 5, 2013, 22:46 GMT)

Why do people keep mentioning picking players who are not even on tour? They are not going to fly out a four and fifth spinner.

Also, has something changed re Watson. up to now it has been accepted that he was leaving afterthis test as his wife is due to give birth. Can the writer please check these facts?

Posted by Chiller38 on (March 5, 2013, 22:28 GMT)

The problem goes way deeper than anything talked about by Coverdale or any of the previous comments. Forget this tour, it is gone. There is no way Australia will recover from this disaster. As an astute and avid Austrlaian Test Cricket supporter, could I please offer the following. Start selecting players on their first class form, not 1 day or T20. They are completwely different formats where batsmen do not have to worry about their technique and being patient. A batsman should only be selected when his first class average exeeeds 40. Up until a few years ago, this was always the benchmark. At present we have Henriques and Maxwell in the team who have 2 first class centuries between them. That is an appalling selcction policy for Test Match Cricket. The top 6 with the exception of the captain not only need to demonstrate more patience and skill but also some ticker (heart). The bloke coming in at No.4 being the prime example. I will save the bowlers issues for later.

Posted by Doogius on (March 5, 2013, 21:03 GMT)

and for bowling, well X and Maxwell - think enough has been said. The quicks are there abouts, can't blame Sids for trying to take wckts every ball when your defending bugger all. Starc got Chennai, MJ is apparently on tour, Moises has been ok but isn't a frontliner. Overall, with the exception of XM, the bowling group is ok, its the batting group that is a disaster. Someone really needs to step up and say, I'm taking the can for this. My view, captains should have no part of the selection process. You got the team you wanted Clarkey boy, now take responsibility for your decisions...

Posted by Doogius on (March 5, 2013, 20:54 GMT)

My 2c. Throw the least experience guys in the squad in. We're going to get smashed and they may as well get the experience. Heres why, Warners techniqueis junk (that bowled in the 1st innings was horrible and imv, inexcusable for an opener), Cowan is too 1d (bit hard to wait till a spinner tires, he's not good enough), Hughes has too many foot movements, he looks like its chacha 1st, cricket 2nd. Watson is a compulsive lunger, which on a turner is a recipe for disaster. Khawaja isn't going to get a fair run (coming in when they've already been smashed). Smith just cannot bat full stop. That leaves Clarke, a wk and a couple of allrounders. Heard an interview with Arthurs where he said selecting Maxwell was a 'no-brainer'. Its at least good to hear that they are being honest....

Posted by mzm149 on (March 5, 2013, 20:11 GMT)

England hired Mushtaq Ahmed as their spin bowling coach and the results were evident in Indian tour in playing and bowling spin confidently. Australia should learn a lesson here too. They have a legend like Shane Warne who can definitely help them in overcoming their spin woes.

Posted by   on (March 5, 2013, 20:01 GMT)

Team for Mohali Cown Warner Watson Clarke Khawaja Wade Maxwell Jhonson Siddle Pattinson Lyon

Posted by   on (March 5, 2013, 18:30 GMT)

India should win the series 4-0 and that is the best way for "pay back" to aussies!

Posted by phunny_game on (March 5, 2013, 18:29 GMT)

Micheal vaughn has tweeted a few jokes: 1. what do u call a great aussie batsman-retired... 2. bad news for all those who have bought tickets to day 5 of ashes tests... aussies won't be able to make it.

Though i am an indian, I fully support u aussies... Play tough cricket and beat the poms comprehensively... But first, lose the next two tests please...

Posted by blink182alex on (March 5, 2013, 18:29 GMT)

The batting has got worse and worse, they need to step and and start to put some big totals on the board. The selectors have made some almighty blunders with the squad picked, the multi-skilled cricketers gamble has clearly failed and we should just select the best specialists in tests for the future.

Hughes has talent but has to go, Cowan isn't good enough to score as an Australian opening batsmen should but will have to be dropped after the series. Lyon shouldn't of been dropped, Maxwell should be in Victoria, if Johnson is to play with Siddle and Pattinson then that means dropping Doherty and having 4 seamers again which is not the right way to set up in India.

For 3rd test: Warner, Cowan, Watson, Clarke, Khawaja, Wade, Henriques, Pattinson, Siddle/Johnson, Lyon, Doherty.

Posted by phunny_game on (March 5, 2013, 18:06 GMT)

People, don't expect a green pitch in mohali please... The time is long gone when it was the fastest pitch in india. Besides, at the end of domestic season, the pitch would have dried up... Maybe the first day can produce some good swing for quicks, but from the second day it will be paradise for batsman... And that phase goes on till day 4... So u could say a perfect wicket for test cricket.

Also, yes i agree with most of others that there are low turnouts at the PCA stadium... Even though India has won most of the tests at mohali, but still people just don't show up... BCCI should try other venues like Rajkot... Hosted an ENG-IND ODI, and looked like a pretty fancy stadium, and sure to be a full house...

Posted by   on (March 5, 2013, 17:40 GMT)

"...Rod Marsh, who will replace John Inverarity as the selector on duty this week."


I had heard that Australia had a selectorial rotation policy, but I thought that that meant that the selectors were rotating the players, and not that the selectors themselves were being rotated!

Posted by PPD123 on (March 5, 2013, 17:32 GMT)

It was definitely a mistake to drop Lyon for this test. Some very good and prudent suggestions from Coverdale. Like all of them. Lets play devils advocate - Phil Hughes - yes he has failed and yes, his place in the side shud be questioned. But as a counter point, if there are 2 pitches which have pace and bounce in India it is Bangalore and Mohali. Now, where is the 3rd test match? Mohali. So if ever there was a case of backing a player for the future - and mind you Aus ended the career of Simon Katich for phil Hughes - then it is now, when he is really struggling but Mohali does present his best chance to succeed. The Indian spinners will not be as venomous as they were in Chennai and Hyd, and he should find it "easier" to handle them and the indian medium pacers. If he fails in Mohali - no questions asked - just drop him and send him back to sheffield shield or county cricket. Awesome victory to India though. They really utilized the conditions to their advantage.

Posted by InsideHedge on (March 5, 2013, 17:32 GMT)

Hyderabad wasn't just a preferable track for India but the fans turned out in real force. Well done to them esp considering there was a bomb blast just a few days ago. Love the spirit.

Sadly, Mohali despite being a well appointed ground is notorious for the lowest turnouts I've ever seen. You can literally count the number of people who show up to watch a Test there, the locals seem to be hot on cricket yet the BCCI continues to stage Indo-Oz Tests there, 3rd tour in a row if I'm not mistaken. Even the IPL franchise fails to fill the stadium, this venue is getting game because of politics but there are more deserving areas of India, I'd like to see more games at venues such as Hyderabad which normally doesn't get a Test, you can see the results.

Posted by   on (March 5, 2013, 17:25 GMT)

In Hyd, the pitch was not spinning square as it did in Chennai. But still, its disappointing to see Aussies fall like they did. Clearly, the skill is not there. Its good to see Brydon not beating up BCCI on the turners being prepared for the first 2 tests here in India. That is the beauty of playing out of your comfort zone. You come to India, you play on turners. You go to SA and you play on bouncy tracks. The order of nature... Mitch MUST play in Mohali and for damn's sake, drop Maxwell & Doherty! You can play them at home conditions but they don't have it here!

Posted by CricketMaan on (March 5, 2013, 17:24 GMT)

India usually get complacent with such wins, and given that they have solely banked on turning tracks and Mohali does not turn, they could be in for a surprise. I bet Aussies will work hard than Indians who will now rest on laurels and return for an optional net session a couple of days ahead of the Test. The only solace is its not winter in Mohali so not much moisture, but then it wont spin as much as Chennai or Hyd, that means the likes of Bhajji and Jadeja could be punished. I can't see Dhoni picking either of Dinda or Ohja ahead of Bhajji. I dont see selectors dropping Viru, that leaves the same team to play in Mohali. Delhi will produce a high scoring draw!! So id say 2-1 for India at the end of Delhi, how i wish im proved wrong and its something like 3-0 or 3-1 India!!

Posted by mensan on (March 5, 2013, 16:54 GMT)

Agree with most of the stuff here. But it seems quite hard for AUS to turn tables even if Mohali wicket is known for assisting fast bowlers.

Posted by NP_NY on (March 5, 2013, 16:39 GMT)

Except Clarke and Watson, all the other players are fairly new to sub-continent conditions. And these tracks are rank turners, admittedly because India needed these wins. So give them some time to learn. Aus needs to look at this series as a stepping stone to the future and nothing more.

Posted by   on (March 5, 2013, 16:23 GMT)

Why no mention of Hauritz? Also, even if he isn't taking wickets in Australia now, Krejza did claim an eight-fer the last time he was here.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.

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