Hyderabad: Chennai - Australia lose just nine overs into day five. Hyderabad - Australia plummet to defeat in under four days. Over to Mohali? No. The Aussies choose to stay in Hyderabad and use the second-Test pitch for practice against spinners.
To win in India, teams need to bat well in their second innings, and on their two attempts so far, Australia have been found wanting with scores of 241 and 131. "This performance is unacceptable," Michael Clarke said, stating the obvious, after the Hyderabad defeat which was Australia's tenth-worst ever.
Australia's final practice session in Hyderabad on Wednesday was focused, quite naturally, around handling spinners. Clarke, though, went a step further. He got the innocuous left-armer Xavier Doherty, untested leggie Steven Smith and unfortunate offspinner Nathan Lyon (dropped in Hyderabad) to bowl at him on the Test-match pitch with rough at both ends and gaping cracks.
Clarke, Warner and Watson chose to practice on the second-Test strip in Hyderabad after the match got over inside four days.
David Warner and Shane Watson followed suit to spend considerable amount of time batting against the spinners on the pitch used for the second Test here. That made it pretty obvious that the coach Mickey Arthur expects the bulk of the runs to come from Clarke, Warner and Watson, despite the twin half-centuries scored by Moises Henriques on his Test debut in Chennai.
"Any day, we would like to practice on a day-five wicket (and) practise a huge amount on that. As I have said earlier, Watson and Clarke are among top-eight batsmen who have experience of playing here. So more the boys get a chance to practise on a fifth-day track, better it will be for their careers," Arthur said, explaining the reasons to make use of the second-Test pitch for practice. "We want our batsmen improving against spin bowling, just like whenever India comes to Australia, we take them to WACA [Perth]."
But the third Test is in Mohali - where the track historically suits fast bowlers. So are the Aussies falling into another trap here?
(With inputs from PTI)