IND vs AUS: Australia’s abject surrender raises more questions; former Aussie players blast Cummins and Co.

Lack of practice on spin-friendly surfaces and injury woes play spoilsport for the World’s No.1 ranked Test team.

Published : Feb 20, 2023 21:15 IST , NEW DELHI

Australia players look dejected after the New Delhi Test match versus India.
Australia players look dejected after the New Delhi Test match versus India. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Australia players look dejected after the New Delhi Test match versus India. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

A Test team gets out in one extended session. Nine days later, it loses nine wickets in 91 minutes to suffer another humbling loss. Ironically, more embarrassing for the team in question is the fact it’s World No. 1.

Like a ‘fact’ from Ripley’s Believe-it-or-Not series, Australia’s horrific tale of woes is hard to rationalise.

On pitches where India scored 400-plus and took a ride to recovery on its eighth-wicket stand of 114 runs – highest for the match – Australia’s abject surrender in the second innings ensured closure in just eight sessions in both matches!

More than pointing to the pitches at Nagpur and Delhi, Australia needs to introspect by revisiting the chronology of events since it embarked on this tour.

Áll the talk of ‘doctored pitches’ in India and the subsequent preparatory ‘camp’ in Bengaluru projected Australia as a well-prepared team on spin-assisting pitches.

Players like Cameron Green, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood carried injuries and that limited the option for skipper Pat Cummins (expected to be back after a lightning home visit). In the face of unexpected adversities, the much-talked about Aussie grit was expected to come to the fore.

However, the famous Aussie resolve appeared only briefly during the third-wicket stand at Nagpur before 18 wickets came India’s way trading much in return.

In Delhi, Australia made 263 appear much bigger when it reduced India to 139/7. But this joy proved too brief once Axar Patel and R. Ashwin scripted a counter-attack. In less than 24 hours, Cummins and his men were facing ridicule from their own former Test players for losing nine wickets for 48 runs!

From starting the third day in the pole position to suffering an awkward six-wicket loss in less than two sessions was dramatic. Call it a collective brain-fade’‘ or an act of mass suicide, this Australian bunch has not only hurt their sympathisers but also left the Indian supporters anticipating a possible 4-0 series win.

No wonder, some former Australian cricketers expressed their disbelief on the tactics adopted by at least five players who perished attempting the sweep shot on Sunday.

“It’s very hard to sweep against the spin when the ball is not bouncing. So, (whether) basics of batting and facing spin-bowling in those conditions, (we) are getting so wrong,” said former skipper Michael Clarke.

Allan Border, too, was forthright. “They panicked. You can’t tell me that the reverse sweep or sweeping on that sort of pitch is the ideal way of scoring runs. It’s the highest-risk shot.”

Ian Healy questioned Australia’s pre-series preparation that did not include a tour match while the team had a two-day spin camp in Sydney and again in Bengaluru.

“Never again tell me we’re not playing a tour match to begin... at least two, There’s no shortcuts to Test match success.”

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