Australia have been the most consistent team in Test cricket in the 21st century. The Aussies, led by Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting, tormented the rest of the teams and were at times invincible in the early part of the 21st century. Under Steve Smith, Australia have transitioned well after a few jitters.
However, the Indian sub-continent is the only place where the Australians have struggled. From Waugh to Clarke and now to Smith, all Aussie captains focused heavily on conquering the sub-continent but have had little success.
Why have the sub-continent nations proved so difficult for the Australians? What stops the mighty Aussies from exhibiting their prowess in this region of the world?
#5 Lack of quality openers
Runs from the openers are crucial in the sub-continent. The best time to bat on these surfaces is when the ball is new and the pitch is fresh. As the Test progresses, the pitch deteriorates and batting becomes difficult. It's harder getting runs off the older ball.
Hence, the first two or three sessions is when runs come in plenty and the onus of scoring these runs is on the openers. Over the years, Australia has produced world-class openers, but most of them have struggled to survive the new ball in the sub-continent.
The Aussie openers are effective against the seaming ball and are habituated to play deliveries that come onto the bat quickly. However, the slow pitches in sub-continent mean the ball stops while coming onto the batsman and the bounce is also low.
Plus these openers have poor technique while facing the spinners and it is a major reason for their failure.
The lack of runs by the openers adds pressure on the middle order who have to deal with the spinners as well. The result is not enough runs on the board.
Except for Matthew Hayden, all Aussie openers have had their fair share of misery in the sub-continent. Hayden is the only opener who averages more than 40 in the sub-continent Tests.
Justin Langer, who tagged with Hayden to form one the best opening pairs in Test cricket, averages 34.12 in the subcontinent and has only two centuries in 31 innings. David Warner, Australia's premier batsman of the current era, has an abysmal record in this part of the world. In 22 innings he averages a mere 25.04.