The Australian cricket team is on the cusp of losing a series at home against an Asian nation for the first-time ever. After losing in Adelaide and regaining the initiative in Perth, Tim Paine’s side suffered a loss in the Boxing Day Test to ensure they would not get the Border-Gavaskar Trophy back on Australian shores. With Cheteshwar Pujara (193) and Rishabh Pant (159*) slamming centuries to propel India to 622/7 dec, Australia were further hampered by rain which washed out most of day 4. However, there was one incident which has resulted in former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting blasting the current side.
When Nathan Lyon missed a sweep off Kuldeep Yadav, he just walked away without reviewing and Ponting criticised the mind-set by saying there was just ‘no desperation’ in the side. “Why wouldn't they have had a look at that? They've still got the two reviews up their sleeve. There had to be some sort of doubt in that. Given out straight away and Mitchell Starc just puts his hand out and says 'oh well, it's not me, it's up to you to make [a call]'. Well, unfortunately, when you're out there together it's a partnership. You've got to do whatever you can to try and save your mate. And there was absolutely none of that there. And as it's shown already that would have been given not out. Slack and not desperate enough,” Ponting said while chatting with the host broadcasters.
The latest criticism comes at a time when the Australia batting and bowling are under severe pressure due to consistently poor performances.
Australia have been made to toil for 170 overs in Melbourne and here in Sydney, they were made to bowl 160 overs on a wicket which lacked the pace and bounce of previous years. Paine said the team was frustrated at the quality of pitches but added the onus was on them to perform as a side.
“It is what it is. We just have to play better than what we have. The pitch here and the pitch in Melbourne didn't make us bowl as badly as we probably we have in this test. We've just been outplayed. Both teams have had similar conditions. But from me, who also loves watching Test cricket, I'm sure guys would like to see a bit more pace and bounce in Australia. Something we've probably become accustomed to in Australia but it is what it is,” Paine said.
Australia’s approach and planning was also brought into focus after India totally outplayed them on day 2. David Saker, the bowling coach of the side, said there was ‘some confusion’ in the execution of the bowling plan, with some bowlers not happy with the tactics employed. “I think the bowlers wanted one thing, Tim wanted one thing. That's not been the case as the general rule but when you were watching from the sideline you could see there was some confusion. Last night we talked quite heavily about the day, more because we thought it was a really disappointing day and we just wanted to get our point across. Some of it was quite aggressive and that's not like me usually. I was quite animated, and I know I was not the only one. JL (Langer) wasn't happy. The bowlers know that,” Saker had told in an interview to ABC Grandstand on that day.
However, Paine dismissed those suggestions. “We always have discussion post game but in terms of being on a different page, no. I think we are pretty clear on what we're trying to do. Yesterday afternoon - and to be fair probably the first hour in the morning then the first hour after lunch we got it slightly wrong. It can sometimes look like that but we know what we're trying to do. Sometimes you don't quite execute and teams can get away from you and that's what happened,” Paine said.