Home > Features >

Difficulties continue to persist for Michael Clarke’s men in the final leg of their tour of India

Difficulties continue to persist for Michael Clarke’s men in the final leg of their tour of India

Australia will know that they’re in a rut and are prone to be a butt of jibes, especially from the rival camp © IANS

By Karthik Parimal

The Australian cricketers have always been an expressive bunch. It is a trait that is vivid prior to the commencement of a series, irrespective of the opposition. Oftentimes, a current player, or a member of their alumni, is seen making a statement, either to push buttons or to simply express something as a matter of fact. Or, in some cases, both. In the past, they possessed the artillery on the field to back their pre-match taunts; they had substance. Steve Waugh’s entourage of stalwarts were so adept at it that they spasmodically won games even before the first ball was bowled.

It’s a strategy that has paid rich dividends for the Australians in the past, and hence, it’s understandable that the current crop of players have looked to follow suit. “Definitely, we have the resources to beat India. [Mahendra Singh] Dhoni is under pressure after recent results and we have the upper hand in pace bowling and our batsmen are among runs,” said an assertive David Warner before the first Test at Chennai. One could understand where Warner was coming from, since England — a side with a well-documented history of underperforming in the sub-continent — claimed its first series victory on Indian soil in 28 years. It was also India’s first series loss at home in eight years.

Sensing that the hosts were aggrieved, helpless and currently at their lowest ebb, the Australians certainly believed that this was their best chance to conquer the Indian frontier. For the first time in years, the once-feared batting line-up was devoid of the services of Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and, also one of its regular openers. It was also believed that the Indian bowlers, sans Zaheer Khan, would seldom cause distress, for if the out-of-form Ravichandran Ashwin, and Pragyan Ojha, were handled, then there would be little to worry about. In fact, the Australian dressing room was probably thrilled to see the latter’s name excluded from the team sheet during the first two Tests.

However, from Day Two of the Chennai Test, the visitors went gone down a slippery slope. Despite sporadically showing restraint, they conceded key moments of the game, and were beaten by huge margins. The hammering the Australians received at Hyderabad resulted in their tenth-biggest loss in Test history. As if the severity of defeats weren’t distressing enough, internal turbulence has only made matters worse. Against a demoralised side, it’s safe to say that the Australians have squandered the opportunity to build on a solid foundation. Most batsmen, barring Michael Clarke, have been found wanting against spin, and cracks much wider than those on the sub-continent tracks have been surfaced in the line-up.

Whether Australia can recuperate quickly from this unnerving tour remains to be seen. Having arrived in India with the intention of sharpening their knives before the back-to-back Ashes series, while simultaneously proving to their detractors that the ammunition to confront decent spinners was indeed present, the Australians have digressed quite alarmingly. They appear to be more perplexed than before, and this does not augur well for a team that will soon be undertaking some major assignments. Many from the cricket fraternity have already thrown their weight behind the statement that this is one of the weakest touring Australian teams in a long time. There is little possibility of that perception changing after the Delhi Test.

As for India, it is commendable that the youngsters have stepped up to the plate and have shown signs of carrying the mantle forward. Whether this performance means anything for the future tours of South Africa, New Zealand and England is difficult to say, but for now, they can give themselves a pat on the back. Like Dhoni said, albeit in a totally different context, it’s sometimes good to live in the present.

Moreover, you can’t ask for more when the scoreline reads a perfect three out of three. A fair idea of India’s improvement could have been deduced had it immediately toured South Africa after the ongoing series, without the Indian Premier League (IPL), Champions Trophy or the West Indies triangular tournament to play in between. There is no denying the fact that the current bunch has the potential to script noteworthy performances away, but this topic can be put on the backburner for now. It would be foolhardy to predict how the newbies shape up eight months from now, against one of the most fearsome attacks in the world.

Australia, though, will know that they’re in a rut and are prone to be a butt of jibes, especially from the rival camp. It will be some time before they can back their pre-series verbal duels with results on the field, there is no denying that, but for now they will have to find a quick, efficient way of reversing the tide.

(Karthik Parimal, a Correspondent with CricketCountry, is a cricket aficionado and a worshipper of the game. He idolises Steve Waugh and can give up anything, absolutely anything, just to watch a Kumar Sangakkara cover drive. He can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/karthik_parimal)

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Southampton

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 9, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Harare

More

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 100 runs

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 18, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 6 wkts

India tour of England 2014

Jul 17, 2014  at London

India won by 95 runs

Photos

Gallery: India vs England 2nd Test at Lord's

Videos

Alastair Cook jokes about his bowling

10 things you need to know about Zaheer Abbas

Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2nd Test at Colombo: Pride at stake for high-flying hosts

Mahela Jayawardene at SSC: A tale of 11 tons

Please help Graeme Pollock, cricket boards and franchises of the world

Cricket at Commonwealth Games and Olympics: Why not?

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe 2014 England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Ishant Sharma South Africa South Africa tour of Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs South Africa Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2014 Zimbabwe vs Afghanistan 2014

Kane Richardson, Ben Cutting clinical in Australia A’s 6-wicket win over South Africa A

Bangladesh recall Imrul Kayes for West Indies tour

India vs England 3rd Test at Southampton: R Ashwin should play, feels Saqlain Mushtaq

JSCA to organise bowling camp for 17 short-listed candidates

India vs England 3rd Test at Southampton: Grass cover on pitch at Rose Bowl

10 things you need to know about Zaheer Abbas

Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2nd Test at Colombo: Pride at stake for high-flying hosts

Mahela Jayawardene at SSC: A tale of 11 tons

Please help Graeme Pollock, cricket boards and franchises of the world

Cricket at Commonwealth Games and Olympics: Why not?

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

11 Posts | 2 Fans

Brazil vs Netherlands, 3rd place Fifa World Cup 2014 match Video Highlights

Kane Richardson, Ben Cutting clinical in Australia A’s 6-wicket win over South Africa A

Bangladesh recall Imrul Kayes for West Indies tour

UN officials highlight the rising trend of pharmaceutical misuse in India

399 million users access Facebook every month only on their mobile phones, mobile ads account for 62 percent of overall ad revenues

After Kick, Salman Khan to remain busy with shoots till 2018

Mobile services market in India to be $19.2 billion in 2014: Gartner

What is Nandita Das’ next directorial venture all about?

Expecting a baby? Here’s an app that will help!

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here