There are commiserations to the Australian National Cricket Team after they failed to retain the four-match Series v India.
They now lost three straight Test series for the first time since 1984-85:
- South Africa, 3-1 out of four, in March 2018 (Away)
- Pakistan, 1-0 out of two, in October 2018 (Away)
- India, 2-1 out of four with one drawn, in January 2019 (Home)
That reminisces these tours that Australia last suffered during late 1984 to the majority of 1985:
- West Indies, 3-1 out of five, October 1984-January 1985 (Home)
- England, 3-1 out of six with two drawn, June-September 1985 (Away)
- New Zealand, 2-1 out of three, November-December 1985 (Home)
We look at their bowling and batting performances in this Test.
Plus what does Australia have to do to return to winning ways when Sri Lanka come here in a fortnight.
Credit to Marcus Harris who batted exceptionally well as the left-hand Opener.
The use of footwork both front and back as well as keeping the head still allows him to perfect his placement by presenting an open bat face.
As Harris stays calm and aggressive, he blocks off the good balls & rotates the strike to help him score dashes.
He connected the dots when he waited for the ball as late as possible before the bat takes out of the guesswork.
That way his bat can provide the full power downtown using the soft hands.
His batting style does see similarities to his Head Coach Justin Langer having scored 79 in their 1st Innings.
But he needs to cut late next time when using a bit of the foot as just leaving the bat out for the ball to hit doesn’t make sense.
It made Ravi Jadeja’s day when he angled in full and straight before Harris chopped inside the stumps.
Harris should leave that out or at least move a bit to get that late cut past the fielder for four.
On the other hand, Usman Khawaja to has scored some runs this time as Opener.
He scored one-century v Pakistan two months ago in UAE on this position.
But after seeing his mistake trying to whack off from the off stump early, then his best spot is at first-drop.
It doesn’t mean that Khawaja should head to the chopping block in the Baggy Green.
And someone like Joe Burns should partner up Marcus Harris later this month based on his first-class form so far this season.
Marnus Labuschagne has done well at No.3.
It’s his natural position had taken the lead when one Opener was out and fired off with runs.
Plus Labuschagne knows how to keep his technique simple when he waits for the ball as late as possible.
That way the runs and some 4s he collected have come from the head staying still and not where the bowler’s pitching.
But it’s hard for him to score a flick shot off the middle of the stumps when Mohammed Shami bowled a yorker.
It seems that the flick shot he tried to score off was an air-leveled shot going towards Ajinkya Rahane’s hands.
Unfortunately, Labuschagne has to suffer that mistake as he’ll have to keep playing more straight bat & cross-bat off wide balls next time.
He’ll stick around for a while as his approach in the middle looks similar to Steve Smith.
Moving onto No.4 now on Shaun Marsh.
It’s a train wreck when S. Marsh just let his bat knick to the fielder at slip without moving the feet.
If he moved the feet a bit backward, then at least he’s rocking towards whacking the late cut past the gap for four.
Well, he does have the experience to carry on his spot in the Baggy Green.
But after four Tests and a few recent inconsistent scores, then it’s time that someone needs an opportunity in this spot.
Travis Head has too scored some runs on the board.
But Head needs to be a bit more patient where he made a mistake whacking a cover drive too early.
It didn’t provide maximum power as Kuldeep Yadav takes the caught and bowl play.
Head needs to have the head still and stature tall so he can execute the cover drive with the open bat face.
The way Head lunged forward & lose balance by half whacking the cover drive is a wrong thing to do by any batsman to lose his wicket.
Let’s go to No.6, and his name is Peter Handscomb.
Yes, he’s the man who replaced Mitchell Marsh after sitting out the 3rd Test in Melbourne through two poor Test performances in the middle.
Despite questions about Peter Handscomb’s unusual technique, he does stay tall and keeps his game simple by going deep knowing where to block or whack the ball.
This Sydney pitch suited him because Handscomb can handle the spinners very well.
Yes, Handscomb can attack the ball very nicely, and score runs off an open bat face on all areas.
But once again, his defense needs improvement.
He can’t jump and let his bat try to block far from the pad having taken the eyes off the ball.
Once he tried to block the ball when shaking his head, Handscomb doesn’t know where it went which knicked the stumps.
Handscomb may feel very frustrated to whack his pad after getting bowled by Jasprit Bumrah.
However, it does mean that he has to defend better and keep his technique simple to ensure that Handscomb can play Test Cricket.
At the moment, I’m not sure.
Tim Paine has done well with the glovework of two catches from Virat Kohli & Ajinkya Rahane.
With the bat, he fired with one boundary for four before he quickly got out just after tea from Kuldeep Yadav.
It’s a shame that Paine couldn’t get the cover drive right by not moving the feet & putting his head down.
And he didn’t know where the ball went as it exploded when it pitched from the middle to angling towards the off-stump.
Sure he’ll recover well and be at his best next time both bat and the gloves.
For now, he’ll continue making plenty of fun when a journalist called him during the middle of a press conference.
Plus Paine successfully convinced Rishabh Pant to have the photo taken alongside his wife and two kids before the 4th Test began a few days back.
Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc have picked up wickets in hand having executed the short ball well.
They’re able to make it bounce by changing the variation with some spice towards the stumps.
But for most of the time, they’ve given some freebies plus a lack of straight ball plays such as yorkers or in-swingers towards the stumps.
It’s only the catches that have done the job well from short-pitched bowling.
Next time, if Starc, Cummins & Hazlewood wants a 5fer, then some wickets need to come from the stumps and LBWs in addition to catches.
Let’s go back to batting for a brief time.
The reason why I mentioned this part on the post because their performances have surprising contributed okay.
They blocked a couple of good balls and scoring runs such as a few boundaries for four off a straight bat.
The same goes from Cummins who hammered the basics well and batted like a proper batsman with the ball in hand at No.8.
And Cummins can score runs quickly having collected six fours.
So they’ve used their time well off the huff and puff from the Indian bowlers.
It’s just the lack of time needed to build under pressure from the mess that the top & middle order suffered earlier on in the 2nd Innings.
The lone spinner who done well with four scalps is Nathan Lyon.
He knows how to attack by pitching up some turn with the right length before angling in between the off-stump & Paine’s gloves.
That makes the ball add the revs on to make the delivery straight as four of the batsman’s mistakes comes from whacking too early.
Apart from that, the second spinner should be full-time rather than gambling with a part-time leggie.
Out of the 16 overs, Labuschagne bowled, it’s a waste of space with 76 runs conceded and no wickets taken.
If he was to come in as the second spinner, then bat a 6 to get the workload right and not sticking to one thing to another.
Otherwise, the likes of Adam Zampa or Jon Holland or even Fawad Ahmed would’ve easily got the job done.
So Labuschagne should entirely stick on batting well at No.3 or 4.
Conclusion Part 1
Unfortunately, they’ve lacked aggression and no fire throughout this series.
The shot selection comes from a lot off the air as well as the defense too thick to be hesitant.
They should keep their technique simple and don’t move the head at all because if you do, you don’t know where to hit the ball.
How can they perfect their intent and placement to move the feet and whack off runs off an open bat face without following those two important basics that the batsman should do to keep their wicket?
It’s like batting blindfolded, and they can’t do that.
That’s why their batting performances went to the wrong side of history so far for nearly a year.
Conclusion Part 2
Plus the bowling didn’t add spice where the only wickets from the stumps have taken from the spinner of Nathan Lyon.
So that means the quicks need to change the pace and types of deliveries they pitch up to pick up as many wickets as they can.
Attack, Attack, Attack.
That’s the only word to make the batsman hard to score runs off the middle of the crease or make them jump from the short-pitched play.
Everyone rarely saw a few of those good balls that the Australian seamers couldn’t do unlike the Indians have all series.
If they can share wickets off a few catches, stumps & LBW, then like scoring 100s, any team has a greater chance of winning matches.
Conclusion Part 3
After losing the series to India for the first time at home in 71 years, Cricket Australia Management needs fixing.
If you want your players to do well, then look at the Shield Cricket stats & players on who’s batting well right now.
The inside knowledge they picked up through scoring consistent runs should deserve a chance at Test Cricket.
The selectors must use this talent pool of regular Shield run machines through merit.
Why not pick them?
One of these guys can become Australia’s own Cheteshwar Pujara or Mayank Agarwal by backing up Test 50s & tons.
That way there’s a chance that Australia can prevent Sri Lanka to sweep the two-match series & become the 2nd Asian team after India to win here.
If not, Cricket Australia is ignoring the best gift of talent that the State teams have produced the next generation of players for many years.
And the change to give some of the best Shield players in the country a chance to bat well for Australia should begin now before they prove India wrong that their first-class system isn’t dead.
For now, they have a fortnight to sort their squad out ahead of the two-match series v Sri Lanka.
The 1st Test will be at the Gabba in Brisbane on January 23-27, and it will play under lights.
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