Opening the batting in a Test match is indeed a difficult job. The pacers would be quite fresh and would be raring to have a crack at the batsmen. The opening batsmen will have an arduous task of negotiating swing and bounce. They need to survive the opening bursts from the pacers and lay a solid platform for the middle order batsmen.
The Indians have toured Australia eleven times, excluding the current one. But they have not managed to win even a single Test series in Australia. One of the main reasons why the Aussies are successful against the Indians at their own backyard is because of the valuable contributions made by their openers.
The Aussies have the policy of picking players based on their current form. They do not look at the longevity of a player’s International career.
After 2004, India toured Australia in 2007, 2011 and 2014. On each of those occasions, the Australian selection panel had picked a new opening batsman in Tests. Though each one of them had only a short stint in their International career, they had a very successful tour against the Indians and played an important role in ensuring that the Aussies had won the Series. Let us delve into the performances made by each of the three openers.
1) Phil Jaques (2007-2008 Border Gavaskar Test series)
Australia had won the 4 match Test series 2-1.
A left-handed batsman, Phil Jaques was a member of the Australian team, during the 2007-2008 Test series. He acted as an ideal foil for Matthew Hayden and made useful contributions in that series.
He was sublime in his technique and scored mainly through square of the wicket on both sides. He did not allow the young, inexperienced Ishant Sharma to settle down and was particularly severe against RP Singh whenever he was offered the slightest of width.
Throughout the series, he made useful contributions and he did not show any signs of nervousness while batting. His calm and composed approach made it easier for Hayden to play his natural game.
International career record
Matches:11 , Innings:19, Runs:902, Average:47.47
2007-08 Border Gavaskar Test series
Matches:4, Innings:7, Runs:243, Average:34.71