The Australian team and its struggle against spin bowling have continued in the Border Gavaskar Trophy. After giving away 52 out of the 56 wickets to the spinners on their last tour of India, the Ausssies have so far given 32 wickets out of 40 to spinners and once again Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are the chief wreckers.
Last time the spin duo of Jadeja and Ashwin shared 46 Aussie wickets among them and this time around, they have so far taken 31 in the first two Tests.
Why have Australia struggled against spin so much?
The Aussies played no tour games as they thought that playing practice matches against low-quality spinners before facing the high standards of Ashwin and Jadeja would dampen their practice. What they did not realise was that match practice is different from what closed-door or net practice could be. They tried to decipher the Indian spinners through videos and simulations in the net but failed to decode the spin on the pitch.
Playing the wrong line
In the first Test, Marbus Labuschagne was settled at 49 and so was Steve Smith, but out of nowhere, Labuschagne decided to charge down to Jadeja and ended up getting stumped. That is one incident out of many which come to mind straight away. There have been many cases of playing the wrong line from the Aussies and it has caused them a lot of harm too.
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Preparing to play one spinner and forgetting about the other
Aussies searched for an Indian bowler who could simulate Ashwin’s action and then practised with him in the nets s for quite a few days before the first Test. However, it was Jadeja that became the problem for the Aussies as they played for the turn and it were the quick straighter ones from the left-arm orthodox Jaddu that got the Aussies out.
By the time they figured this out in the second innings of the first Test, Ashwin had come into his elements and then once again turn did its effect and Ashwin picked up a five-for as the Kangaroos played for the straighter ones from Jadeja.
The selection blunders
Indeed, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc are not available for selection for the Aussies and hence they played Scot Boland in the first Test even though they had the raw pace of Lance Morris available to them. Andrew McDonald-led think tank also preferred to play Matt Renshaw instead of Travis Head and both decisions backfired.
While Head was restored to the playing 11, the Aussies went with a lone pacer in Pat Cummins in the second Test and played Matthew Kuhnemann, a left-arm spinner in place of Boland. The latter could not make much difference either.
Now with two matches to go and Mitchell Starc and Cameron Green fit to be picked and out-of-form David Warner out of the series, Australia could look to at least make the right call as far as selection is concerned. With hardly six days of play in two Tests combined, one would look to see some fight from the Aussies in the upcoming two Tests.