Lanka just handed Australia a white-wash in the test series. Are the current Australian batsmen so worse on turning tracks? Or have the new breed lost that super aggressive attitude on the field? It’s the fact Australians were never adept at playing quality spinners on rank turners. Many times we have observed it, be it the Mumbai Test of 2004 or the struggle against Harbhjan in the 2001 series. Whitewash against India in 2012, the test series against Pakistan in Sharjah/Abudhabi. And the plight continued in the currently concluded Lanka series where they appeared, absolutely, clueless against dead slow Herath.
The spin champions
In the era when Australia were basking in the glory under Steve Waugh, they had many skilful players of the stature like Steve Waugh himself, Damien Martin, Hayden, M. Clarke. Steve Waugh, being an astute player, knew when to use sweep, when to play defensive shots, when and which spinner to attack. Damien Martin and Clarke were lightning fast on their feet and would not allow ball to spin by reaching to the pitch of the delivery. Hayden’s sweeps and lusty blows dancing down the wicket would negate turning effects of the pitch. With this strong and high calibre bunch, baring two-three cases, Australia hardly found shaken or in a state of disarray.
Since renunciation of these revered players Australia has been finding it difficult to cope up with the phobia of playing quality spinners on dusty tracks. Except Steve Smith, who uses his feet quite often, other players lack reading the flight. While playing defensive shots, the players commit mistake of playing for the line rather than covering the spin. On slow flighted deliveries, they play hard drives despite knowing the ball would turn. They are often falling, or fell, prey to the subtle bowlers like Herath, Ajmal, Ashwin who vary the flight and slowness of the deliveries.
Feeble spin bowling
At the bowling front after the legend Shane Warne and McGill, Australian spin bowlers have invariably failed to take advantage of spin-friendly tracks. Though they manage to pick up wickets, the avg is at higher side which eventually makes a big difference in the outcome of the match.
Dare to prepare turners:
To conclude this, Asian teams have started to lift their game on fast and bouncy track, but Australia, S. Africa and New Zealand seem far behind in adapting themselves on slow turning tracks. So now, will these teams, being ranked at top, prepare turning tracks to endure their supremacy even in the subcontinent?