Close this search box.
Close this search box.

2nd Test: Perhaps some guys went away from their methods, says Pat Cummins on batting collapse

By Niharika Raina
New Delhi, Feb 19 (IANS) Sundays play in the second Test at the Arun Jaitley Stadium had one apt term for description: frenetic. Many fans on the way to the stadium in the morning were expecting Australia to continue their aggressive intent seen while playing 12 overs in the final session on Day Two.

But no one had an inkling that Australia would crumble like a pack of cards, falling to the mastery of Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, apart from committing hara-kiri through going excessively for the sweep shot. From the overnight score of 61/1, Australia lost nine wickets in the morning session to end up with just 113 in their second innings.

India then chased down 115 with six wickets to hand to take a 2-0 series lead. This is the second time in the series that Australia suffered a batting implosion. Australia captain Pat Cummins admitted that a few batters in the team did go away from their usual methods, which has now blown up their chances of winning a Test series in India.

“It was a combination of factors. I thought they bowled really well, their best spinners at the top of their game, on a wicket that suited them quite well. It’s not easy out there. But perhaps some guys went away from their methods.”

“Two big things we talk about are the tempo of the game and also, the method. Maybe at times, we were a little bit too high on tempo. I would rather be high on tempo than low tempo though. To be honest, those wickets were difficult but maybe the method went a little bit away from what we planned to do at times.”

“Each batter has their own way to go about it. I don’t think there’s any one size fits all rule. Unfortunately, quite a few of us got out with kind of cross-batted shots which might not be our preferred method,” he said in the post-match press conference.

If in Nagpur, Australia fell while trying to defend, they capitulated in New Delhi on being over-aggressive. If the sweep was a standout in Usman Khawaja’s 81 in the first innings, then that risky shot on a pitch with low bounce caused their downfall, as six batters, including Steve Smith, fell in a bid to sweep or reverse sweep, giving the impression that they didn’t have an iota of trust on their defensive abilities.

“Nagpur maybe we underplayed it, we probably overplayed it here at times in the second innings. You’ve got to find a way to try and put pressure back on the bowlers. They’re really, really good bowlers, especially in these conditions. Probably just at times maybe just overplayed it,” admitted Cummins.

What was more disappointing to see was Australia squandering position of strength twice in the game. On day two, they had reduced India to 139/7, thanks to Nathan Lyon’s five-fer, before allowing Ashwin and Axar Patel to stitch a 114-run stand. Then with 61/1 in 12 overs at stumps, they had an upper hand with the game being evenly poised for day three before the batting implosion happened in 90 minutes.

“I’d say just more disappointment, knowing again that over here these opportunities don’t come up all the time. Especially being relatively in front of the game, feeling like that game was there for the taking. Just missed out. Looking back on it, 300 would have been fantastic. 260 was ‘ok’ but if we really want to drive home the advantage, we were probably a few short.”

“It’s (India’s lower-order batting) probably been the difference in both games. For sure, again they batted very well. They are guys who have scored Test hundreds and batted really well. I thought our plans were pretty sound most of the time but unfortunately, they built partnerships, again.”

“A couple of those times the first two days, it felt like if you got yourself in (set), it was going to get a little easier The ball was getting softer and older as well. It’s something we will look at. It’s disappointing. Those small margins in both games end up making a pretty big difference,” elaborated Cummins.

With nine days left for the third Test to begin in Indore from March 1, Australia have fitness concerns with David Warner, who had to be pulled out due to concussion as well as a hairline fracture in the elbow. Off-spinner Todd Murphy also has a side issue but managed to take out Virat Kohli on day three.

“Davey is still a bit sore and sorry. So we’ll manage and see how he goes over the next few days. He came to the ground today for a fair while which is good. But we’ll kind of assess him over the next little bit. Todd was sore, but when he warmed up, he was fine,” updated Cummins.

He signed off by saying Australia will have a re-look at plans with the bat while hoping for Cameron Green, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood to be fully fit in time for the Indore Test.

“We’ve got a bit of time. We’ll have a good think. Have a look at different things. I think over the next day or two we’ll look at any changes in the squad as well. Mitchell Swepson has gone home, he’s a chance of coming back. Hopefully Cam Green is available, (Josh) Hazlewood, (Mitchell) Starc, we’ll manage that.”

“We’ll assess it over the next couple of days. We have probably got enough time to have a bit of a break, a bit of a refresh, and still plenty of time to roll up the sleeves before the next one.”