Australia are having a horrid time in Test cricket as far as 2016 is concerned. They have lost four consecutive Tests and against South Africa, they are staring down the barrel having lost the opening Test at Perth.
However, in the second Test against the Proteas at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart, Australia suffered humiliation as they were bowled out for 85 on the opening day of the second Test. Their innings lasted just 32.5 overs, making it their second shortest innings at home since the Perth Test in 1984, where they were bowled out for just 76 in 31.2 overs.
The most remarkable aspect of this innings was that out of the 85 scored by Australia, 48 of those runs came from Steven Smith. South Africa won the toss and chose to field in overcast conditions on a pitch that had a slight tinge of green. The likes of Vernon Philander and Kyle Abbott sliced through the Australian batting line-up as they reduced them to 17/5.
Only captain Smith stood tall amidst the ruins as Australia were routed for 85. Philander ended up with figures of 5/21 while Kyle Abbott finished with 3/41.
This is not the first time that Australia have suffered humiliating collapses in Tests. In 2011, in the Cape Town Test, they were bowled out for 47 after being reduced to 21/9. In 2015, in the Ashes Test against England in Trent Bridge, they were bowled out for 60 thanks to a magnificent spell of 8/15 from Stuart Broad.
With Australia on the back foot in Hobart, it will take a minor miracle for Smith’s men to bounce back. They will have to put in a better performance in the second innings if they are to prevent a hat-trick of series losses at home to South Africa.