The Australian Test team has crumbled to an embarrassing 133-year low, with the touring Indian squad exposing their vulnerability on pitches which aren’t insufferably flat.
India tied the Border-Gavaskar series 1-1 this week after securing a convincing victory at the MCG, with no Australian able to muster a half-century in the four-day contest.
The hosts have recorded team totals of 191, 195 and 200 this season, only managing three 50+ partnerships in three innings.
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Although Australia managed to clinch an eight-wicket victory in the pink ball fixture at Adelaide Oval, the triumph has largely due to an impeccable performance from the seam bowlers.
The team’s pitiful batting forced national selectors to axe opening batsman Joe Burns, the only player in Australia’s top six to have mustered a half-century in the Test series against India.
Not only is Australia expected to lose their title as the ICC’s No. 1 Test side, but as revealed by AAP reporter Scott Bailey, the team’s average runs per wicket this season (21.50) is the lowest in any home summer since way back in 1887/88.
AUSTRALIA’S LOWEST AVERAGE RUNS PER WICKET IN HOME SUMMER
1887/88 – 9.35
1886/87 – 12.30
1878/79 – 18.26
1876/77 – 18.89
1882/83 – 20.78
2020/21 – 21.50
Marnus Labuschagne of Australia.Source:Getty Images
“There’s definitely talk about rotating the strike and finding your boundary option,” Australian batsman Marnus Labuschagne told reporters on Friday.
“They’re the things we’re always talking about and trying to stay on top of, and making sure that when we come in, we are brave enough to take on those options when they arise.”
The absence of explosive opening batsman David Warner has also been noticeable, with the team’s run rate of 2.63 the slowest of any Australian summer this century.
AUSTRALIAN BATSMEN’S STRIKE RATES IN BORDER-GAVASKAR TROPHY
Joe Burns – 50.80 (career 56.39)
Marnus Labuschagne – 41.61 (career 54.92)
Matthew Wade – 39.64 (career 50.25)
Travis Head – 39.24 (career 49.65)
Cameron Green – 29.56
Steve Smith – 14.70 (career 55.09)
“Both teams have really struggled to get this scoreboard rattling along,” Australia’s assistant coach Andrew McDonald told reporters on Thursday.
“So for me that’s good planning, good bowling execution, but also the surfaces have lent themselves to slower play.
“They left some grass on it, which allowed some movement and some swing.
“There hasn’t been what we normally now assume to be flat, Australian conditions in the first two Test matches.
“I hope the surface in Sydney lends itself to having the ball at certain stages being able to dominate the bat. That makes for intriguing Test match cricket.”
David Warner of Australia.Source:Getty Images
The Australian selectors are sweating on the fitness of Warner, who is still recovering from a groin injury sustained during the one-day series against India.
The 34-year-old averages 65.94 on home soil, and has scored four centuries in eight Test matches at the SCG.
McDonald conceded Warner might play in the third Test even if he’s not 100 per cent fit.
“Look, if he’s 90-95 per cent fit and the conversation is that he’s fit enough to be able to go out there and perform his duties for the team, then I’m sure that’ll be a conversation the coach has with the player,” McDonald said.
“Most times Justin (Langer) is pretty open with the players in terms of giving them accountability around that.
“We’ll get a good steer on that when he comes into camp for the training on the 2nd and 3rd.
“Once we get our eyes on him and put him through some specific tests … I think the information will become clear. He’s very optimistic he should be ready to go, which is great news.”
The third Test between Australia and India is scheduled to commence on Thursday, January 7th at the SCG.
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