Australia (above) won the 2nd Test at Gabba and lead the four match Test series 2-0 © Getty Images
Australia (above) won the 2nd Test at Gabba and lead the four match Test series 2-0 © Getty Images

Dec 21, 2014

Beaten India were distracted by their gripes over the state of practice wickets and food as they reached their breaking point on their Australian tour, local media said Sunday. MS Dhoni‘s tourists fell 2-0 behind in the four-match series with a four-wicket loss to Australia in the second Gabba Test on Saturday, with the home side one win away from regaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

While Mitchell Johnson triggered another Indian batting collapse which left the home side the task of chasing down 128 runs for victory on the fourth day, Australia’s media focused on the siege mentality that has enveloped the tourists.

“Not only do the numbers not lie, they act as a self-fulfilling prophecy. This was Australia’s 10th win in a row at home, and their 14th in the last 17, with only one defeat. This was India’s fifth away defeat in a row, and their 15th in the last 18, with only one win,” Fairfax Media’s Greg Baum wrote. “For every touring team, every summer, there is a time, a place and a breaking point. On Saturday, it was the Gabba nets, before play.”

Dhoni blamed the state of the Gabba’s practice wickets for injuries to Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli that he said had unsettled the team before their batting collapse against Australia.

“Immediately, a siege mentality settled on the Indian camp, which protested the standard of the practice pitches, also the lack of a gym, and in their paranoia refused even to divulge which bowler or bowlers had inflicted the damage,” Baum said.

“They trail (in the series) because of tails, failing to extract runs from their own bottom order or restrain Australia’s. Perhaps in trying to match Australia’s machismo, they have been excitable, excessive and distracted.” Former Australia Test captain Ian Chappell blasted India’s lack of leadership.

“That’s the sort of thing (practice wickets) you might bitch about in the dressing room,” Chappell told Channel Nine. The Board of Control for Cricket in India issued a statement during Saturday’s play, attacking the state of practice wickets at the Gabba ground. “When you come out with a statement like that, particularly after you’ve lost a few wickets in the morning, it looks like whingeing,” Chappell said.

Johnson featured in the post-match commentary for his performance with bat and ball to turn the Test for Australia. “They made hard work of the run chase, but Australia defeated India by four wickets in the Brisbane Test after a wrecking-ball performance by Mitchell Johnson caused the touring side to implode,” Fairfax Media said.

“Having made 88 in the partnership with victorious captain Steve Smith that twisted the Test in Australia’s favour on day three, Johnson ensured it would finish on day four with a vintage spell of menacing fast bowling on Saturday morning.”

Fairfax Media said the Indians were also dissatisfied with the Gabba catering, which led to two players, Ishant Sharma and Suresh Raina, eating their lunch outside the venue on Friday. The Australian’s Gideon Haigh reserved special praise for new skipper and official man-of-the-match Smith.

“Everywhere you looked in this game there was Smith. He marshalled Australia well through an inhospitable first day, repaired their innings on the second day, secured them a lead on the third. On the fourth morning, he looked astonishingly assured,” Haigh said. “For the last Ashes tour he was the last man picked; for the next he will be the first.”