Australia have themselves to blame

Australia could have well won this game. They didn’t and they only have themselves to blame. They didn’t play the aggressive, positive, fast paced cricket they were used to playing – instead they had a safety first, defensive approach and yet Ponting says

We were the only ones in the game trying to take the game forward. We played aggressive cricket. I am not surprised by the way they played, the Indian team do play a lot of drawn games.

Let me point out a couple of things –

  • In the first innings, Australia scored 430 runs in 150 overs at the run rate of 2.86 and the majority of its runs were scored by the top order of Katich, Ponting and Hussey. Compare that to India where the lower order scored a good percentage of the runs and yet ended up with a run rate of 3.02. Ahem, but could you point out who played more aggressively, please?
  • In the second innings, the Australians wanted to make sure that they were in a position where they couldn’t lose the game and decided to bat out the overs scoring at a run rate of under 2.5 for over 50 overs of the game. Over fifty overs! And very rarely in their innings did the strike rate ever get to 50 or over. 

A safety first approach is fine, but saying that they were the only ones trying to take the game forward is a bit rich. In fact, a safety first approach is exactly what the Indians did too. Without a win in sight and on a fifth day pitch with variable bounce set with an unlikely target of 299 of around 80 overs, they decided to shut shop and play for a draw. And the Australians would have probably done the same too. The Australians never for once in the entire game reached an over all run rate of 3.75 and yet, they think the Indians should have gone for it on a fifth day pitch? Get real.

Ponting’s statement probably is a response to Zaheer Khan’s claims that this was the most defensive he has ever seen the Aussies play. This statement has a bit of truth in it, though. The Australians used to be the trend setters in scoring runs fast and forcing results. Playing slow is what other teams (including India) do. But in this game, they’ve gone back to the slow grinding run accumulation and defensive mode of play that was more reminiscent of the test cricket played by the Aussies before they started to dominate World cricket.

And for the most part on day 4, Australia played as if they didn’t really have a plan on what total to set and when to declare. This allowed India to keep its hopes alive for a draw or even a minor chance of victory. The dominant Aussie teams of the past wouldn’t have done that – it is no accident that the Australian team(s) of the past hold the record for consecutive successive wins.


12 responses to “Australia have themselves to blame

  1. Perhaps you should rename this blog the “Anti Australia Blog” as you seem possessed by the need to denigrate Australia relentlessly. Perhaps that’s why no one has yet left a comment, they aren’t interested in yours! Perhaps you could analyse why, with the “Fab” Four plus Kumble India has never threatened Australia’s position as the supreme World Team. Why not keep your inadequacy complex private and look up the word “objective”?

  2. @blogesh: Spot on, in my view. This is entirely in line with my earlier post on “new age cricket”.

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  4. Mahesh,

    By your description of Aussie second innings of the first 50 overs only and not the last 23 overs–you have convinced me that you are a very clever magician, mathematician and a statistician, all rolled in one !

    Strictly speaking, Aussies batted , for the entire match, 222 overs and 5 balls. And had an average–for the match of 2.99 runs per over.
    India batted 192 overs and scored at an average for the match of 2.72 runs per over.

    However, Ponting, Zak, Mahesh and Mohan are forgetting that TEST cricket is not that simple.
    We can sight any number of IFS , BUTS, IF ONLY situations in this match or any match to argue either point of view–who was slower or faster, committed or not committed.

    If Hayden hadn’t been given out or got out that early

    If Sehwag hadn’t played that rash shot chasing the ball outside and starting the mini collapse in the first innings

    If the same Sehwag hadn’t played too early and got a leading edge
    If the two umpires had given some not outs as outs and vice versa

    If Sachin had concentrated a bit more on the next delivery, instead of the Umpires’ version of visibility

    If Kumble had taken the two–albeit–difficult- caught and bowled chances

    And the list goes on

    Players from both sides are into denial and love themselves too much

    We, punters have to take their statements with a pinch of salt

    Otherwise, Test matches will lose their aura and meekly succumb to the “bang, bang , Thank you M’am farce of Twenty 20 or Ten 10 or Five 5 cricket!!!

  5. A good work of hiding a full pumpkin in a handful of cooked rice!!!

  6. Peter Della Penna

    Several other sites have made the point that you choose to ignore. Even though Ponting did not attack as much as he could have, his captaincy made him look like a relentless taskmaster compared to Kumble, who did absolutely nothing. This was never more evident than when Dhoni started the second innings in charge for India on day 4, perhaps the most exciting part of the match. When Kumble came back out, the match started to suck again.

  7. @rext


    All I did was criticise the way the Aussies played in this occasion and the post was initiated by what Ponting actually said.

    Funnily enough, most of the post was high praise to the way they used to play their cricket – aggressive, fast paced and focused on results. I actually thought Australia should have won the game after dominating the game for the most part – but didn’t because of the lack of aggression. May be you should re-read the post. Or, maybe you just don’t get it.

    In either case, I couldn’t care less – These are my opinions and more often than not the blog tends to be more critical of Indian cricket than other teams. But if you can’t take any criticism of Aussie cricket, then you should find places in the blogosphere that has nothing but praise for it, no matter what they do.

    You will only find praise here when it needs to be given – we won’t dish it because it is an Indian – or an Australian for that matter. The same applies to criticism.

    Oh, thanks for your diagnosis of my inadequacy complex. Aren’t you happy that your copy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Psychology came in handy?


  8. @Peter Della Penna

    Agreed. Kumble’s captaincy could have been a lot better. But I was mainly trying to focus on what Ponting said…which I couldn’t agree with.

  9. @Sampath Kumar,

    I couldn’t help but think of one of Sidhu’s quotes – “Statistics are like bikinis – they reveal more than they hide” or was it the other way around? 🙂

    In any case, I am neither a mathematician, statistician or a magician 🙂

    The point I was trying to make was that had the Aussies scored at a faster pace through out the game , they could have beaten India. Of course rain, bad light (or claims for bad light), bad umpiring decisions and countless other things could have come in the way – but at least Australia’s chances of winning would have been higher had they been aggressive.

    Scoring 658 overs in 223 overs is not aggressive cricket as Ponting claims…

  10. Indian Test Cricket Team has no killer instinct!

    When challenged by Australians with the target of 299 runs in 83 overs, why Indian team decided to not to win the test? What stopped them from accepting the challenge bravely and execute the innings with modest target of 3.60 runs per over? Who strategized to go for a draw than trying to win? How can you afford to waste one whole day with no target in mind? Are you so incapable? Why these cricket analysts, media guys and experts went on saying that this is what Indians need to do? Are you afraid of competition? Did you fear losing wickets quickly for sure in case of taking up the challenge? Then, which best batting line-up in the world you are talking about? Where’s the question of ‘moral victory’?

    Buddies, games are played to win. It doesn’t matter even if you end up losing a match. But the positive approach and the guts would take Indian team to the next level and instill true sportsman spirit in every Indian. You play for five days and millions of fans watch you just defending your wickets with same old and sick defensive batting techniques? Can’t we understand that you guys are simply trying to secure your position in the team by taking up risk-free approach? Cricket is all about proving that you can score more runs and thereby winning the matches, that’s it. Please send these guys home for being such non-sportive and zero-spirited. So dumb! Bring in people who are dying to win, and there are too many available and please kick out our present strategists and advisors.

    Please stop using highly technical jargon to convince people simply because every one knows cricket is not a rocket science. It is just a game and games are played to win. If you are playing to draw the match, sorry, you are a time-waster and unfit to be in the team. The game of Cricket exists for fans not the other way round. Millions of fans wasted hundreds of hours watching these jokers playing without any mission. Let anyone say I am wrong in my views and I have answers since I am one of millions of fans in India, desperately looking for victories. Try to look at the game from my point of view.

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  12. Pingback: Positives and Negatives for the teams from the 1st Test « i3j3Cricket :: A blog for fans of Indian cricket…

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