India's defensive tactics on the third day of the ongoing fourth Test against Australia came in for scathing criticism from the media Down Under which lambasted the hosts for "killing the game" and showing scant respect for the spectators with their "negative" approach.
"Towards the end of the first session the screen reported that 'of 100 balls bowled today, the Aussies have left 59'. But the message was the wrong way around. It ought to have read: 'Of 100 balls delivered this morning, India directed 59 wide of the wickets'," noted cricket writer Peter Roebuck wrote in a column for the 'Sydney Morning Herald'.
"It's hard to remember a more cynical display from a side that commands such widespread affection, a side that represents both the mightiest force and future of the game. On this evidence the Indians are more concerned with ends than means," he fumed.
Just 166 runs were scored on the third day with Indian bowlers bowling a line wide outside off stump. The tactics, however boring, handed India a substantial 86-run lead going into the fourth day.
Roebuck said if teams start relying on such a negative approach then it should not surprise anyone if people don't turn up to watch Test cricket, which is already battling dwindling fan interest.
"Does Test cricket want to survive? Does it even care? Both sides have played a boring game, aiming wide of the sticks whenever it suited them, stifling stroke play, killing the game.
"Unsurprisingly, the stands have been almost empty. It's not much fun to sit exposed to the sun for hours on end watching seamers send the ball wide of the sticks and batsmen shouldering arms, or spinners aiming into the rough outside leg stump, daring batsmen to roll the dice.