Australia's Achilles Heel: Their frailties in the Indian subcontinent
Cricket has increasingly become a game of home advantage. Teams make best use of home conditions, even as they find the going tough overseas. The ever dominant Aussies too have had their share of issues in the Indian subcontinent recently.
At the end of the tour of Sri Lanka, Australia had lost 13, drawn 4 and won just 1 of the 18 Tests played in the subcontinent since 2008. In Allan Border’s reign, the Aussies won only 2 of 22 Tests in Asia, and this recent performance is only a continuation of a history of non-performance; a period in the early 2000s when they won 10 out of the 12 Tests under Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist being an aberration.
However, this 3-0 clean sweep of the Aussies by a rebuilding Lankan team, only their second series defeat in the island nation, asks pressing questions of the former’s preparation ahead of the gruelling Indian summer.
Let’s have a glance at their top 5 weaknesses in the subcontinent:
#5 Faulty Batting Technique
Their major headache in the subcontinent almost entirely revolves around their batting travails against quality spin bowling. With technique suited to playing spin on wickets back home, providing true bounce and turn, Aussie batsmen in general, are at sea against variations of turn, bounce, trajectory and pace offered by dry turners in this part of the world.
Amongst the many Aussie batsmen who couldn’t weather the sub-continental conditions, Damien Martyn, a key figure in their historic series victories in India and Sri Lanka, was probably an exception. On several occasions during the just concluded Test series in Lanka, they were guilty of either planting their foot in the line of the ball, playing inside the line fending at deliveries spinning away or playing away from the body leaving bat-pad gap.
The height of wrong judgement was their indecision, even against the ball that goes on straight; the defining moment being Usman Khawaja’s generous leave to a ball from Dilruwan Perera that kept its line and picked his off peg in the 2nd innings of the 2nd Test at Galle.
With testing times ahead against India, the sooner their batsmen reorganise their technique, specifically to smother the sub-continental challenge, better their chances.