Something very rare happened this morning. Australia suffered a batting collapse that any England side would have been very proud of. Ricky Ponting’s side went from 141-5 to 195 all out to hand India an impressive 320 run victory in the second test match of the series, writes Thomas Rooney, exclusively for The Village Cricketer.
From the very first over it was something I was used to seeing from England. Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin has renewed Australia hope in the final session yesterday – they put on 84 for the sixth wicket. Then, on the final day, they knew that if they could make it past the first hour or so, they had an outside chance of drawing the match. This wasn’t to be though as in the very first over of the day, Haddin was clean bowled Zaheer Khan. Game Over. How many times have we seen something similar by England over the years?
Of course, the rest of the match is history. It only took India 18.4 overs on the final day to take the remaining four Australian wickets to ensure they went 1-0 up with two matches to play. It was a fantastic display by the Indians and one which leaves many to question how the tourists can get themselves back into the series. The cricket odds are certainly favouring a home win now.
Something this test match told me was that this Australia team is nowhere near as talented, gritty or confident as past teams. For the first time in many years – they seem vulnerable. Yes, it is only their second test defeat since the Ashes in 2005, but there is a different look to this Australia team. Other than suffering a rare batting collapse, there are several other aspects of Ponting’s team that would concern me if I was him.
Brett Lee – I am not convinced that Lee is comfortable taking over the ‘senior bowler’ role. He is best used in short bursts and with the freedom to concede a few runs. Figures of 2-147 in the most recent test suggest he isn’t on top of his game.
Lack of spinners – This has been well publicised. They haven’t come anywhere near replacing Shane Warne yet. Cameron White is currently their spinning option and he has only played two tests. As much as they have criticised Monty in the past – I’d place a cricket bet on the fact they would take him now! Even Giles!
He’s no Gilchrist – Brad Haddin has done a solid enough job since taking the gloves from Adam Gilchrist and averages 33 with the bat. However, Gilchrist won so many matches for Ponting and without him – the tail looks a lot longer.
Lack of belief – Something never normally associated with Australia is a lack of confidence. However, I’m not convinced that this Australia team has that ‘unbeatable’ feel about them. Not enough of their players striker me as ‘leaders’ either.