Lack of quality spinner a question on Oz system
A day was bound to come when an aspect of Australian cricket would come under scrutiny, and the lack of a match-wining spinner does ask questions of our system, writes Steve Waugh.cricket Updated: Oct 22, 2008 23:51 IST
There is no doubt that Australia were totally outplayed by a committed, well-led Indian team. However, the crucial factor that separated the teams was the superb performance of Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma. It was a coming of age game for both these bowlers who were exceptional right through the Test. They surprised the Australian batsmen with the amount of pace and movement they generated on the pitch because Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson did not get similar returns from the wicket, and it was clear which side was better in the pace department in Mohali.
A lot is being made about the lack of quality spinners in the Australian attack, but I don't think that was a reason for this massive defeat. When the Aussies set up victory streak, there was a feeling that our systems were perfect, and every slot in the team had plenty of takers. A day was bound to come when an aspect of Australian cricket would come under scrutiny, and the lack of a match-wining spinner does ask questions of our system. But we must be patient with Cameron White, after all, he has just started out his career, and it's too early to jump to conclusions. However, I was surprised that Beau Casson, who was pretty good in the West Indies, did not make this tour. It was decided that leg spin and a finger spinner were better options. They picked Jason Krejza because they thought it's better to try him out rather than to die wondering.
I just feel they came against an Indian team that was really on top of their game. Sachin Tendulkar led the way for the hosts, taking them out of a tricky situation, once he got going, the others fed off his confidence. Sourav Ganguly also played an innings that was crucial for the team, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni's knock ensured his team was in an unassailable position.
It's unfortunate that Lee has been a bit low on form. I have seen Lee over the years, and he is not too far from his best. There is talk about him being dropped for the next Test, but I don't think that's going to happen — you never write off champions, and there is no doubt that Lee is a champion bowler. I was surprised that Ricky Ponting did not use Simon Katich. He is a handy option and has been a partnership breaker in the past. When Australia batted, some of the shot selection was off the mark, but as mentioned earlier, the Indian pacers set things up beautifully for Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra.
I would not be too critical of the Australians for going for their shots in the second innings. That's the Australian way — the thinking is always that it's better to lose while trying to win rather than while saving a game. It did not work out at Mohali, and now they are really up against it in Delhi and Nagpur, where they are certain to play on turning pitches.