Saturday, September 23, 2023

Excessively clearing: Aussie players overcompensated to the pitch, Ashwin and Jadeja

It was painful to see Smith try the sweep and get out in the second innings…. If Smith and Labuschagne had not bought into the overall team tactics, I have no doubt they would have made this win for India far more hard earned

Another terrific performance from India. Ashwin and Jadeja did exactly what they have been doing for the last few years at home. Running through some quality international teams like hot knife through butter.

The hype around this series was for a good reason, fans and the ‘experts’ too thought Australia was going to be different from all the other teams that have toured India of late.

This was Australia, a team with the pedigree of some great performances over the years here, even against the famous Indian spin quartet of the 70s. In this team there were two batters Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne with staggering Test averages of 60 and 70 respectively, players viable in all conditions, especially Smith.

Steve Smith with his 100 in Pune in 2017 had already shown us how dangerous he can be on these Indian turners. This time he had Labuschagne for company, who seems to have a feel for playing spin and that was evident in his very first Test innings in India in Nagpur.

I was thinking, if these two get a slightly good batting surface they had the potential to get big hundreds just like Joe Root did in Chennai in 2021.

Australia got 177 and 91 in Nagpur and rightly felt the need to do something different in Delhi. Most of their batters got out defending in Nagpur. Come the Delhi Test with a pitch not too dissimilar to Nagpur they decided they weren’t going to be sitting ducks against Ashwin and Jadeja and would do something different to put them off their game.

Lo and behold! They found instant success with Usman Khawaja. Khawaja played all the sweeps there are in the modern game and succeeded. He got 81 in the first innings after scores of 1 and 5 in Nagpur. That success of Khawaja actually was the main reason for Australia’s batting failure in the second innings. Each Australian batter after that came in with a mindset to attack and that too with the sweep shot; ‘sweep to succeed’ seemed to be their motto.

Related Articles