Eden Gardens loss prolongs Australia’s overseas ODI agony
Australia have lost 10 of their last 12 ODIs played away from home and the Eden Gardens defeat against the Indian cricket team is a continuation of several factors that have contributed to their woeful performance.india vs australia 2017 Updated: Sep 22, 2017 20:36 IST
Australia’s nightmare in India continues. Their 50-run loss in the second ODI at Eden Gardens was their 10th in the last 12 overseas matches since beating Ireland in Benoni in September 2016.
These losses have underlined how far the reigning World Cup winners have fallen since claiming victory under Michael Clarke at home in 2015.
Speaking after the Kolkata ODI, captain Steve Smith pointed to frequent batting collapses as the major reason behind Australia’s current poor run. “It’s happening a bit too often for my liking. We’ve had a lot of collapses that we need to stop,” Smith said.
Smith is right that Australian batting collapses are getting frequent. However, there are some key factors that have led to the situation the team finds itself in.
Chronicles of a collapse
During the five-game series against South Africa in 2016, Australia suffered batting collapses in three ODIs. In the second match in Johannesburg, Australia lost five wickets for 36 runs to lose by 142 runs in pursuit of 362.
In the fourth ODI at Port Elizabeth, the innings was reduced to 49/5. In the final game, chasing 328, Australia were 229/4 but lost four wickets for 32 runs.
The trend continued in the Chappell-Hadlee series in New Zealand this year. In the first ODI at Auckland, Australia were reduced to 67/6. In the third game at Napier, Australia lost three quick wickets for 25 runs to lose the game and series.
Batting collapses have continued in the Champions Trophy and in the India series. In the England game at Edgbaston, Australia lost five wickets for 15 runs in the death overs. In the Kolkata ODI, they lost four wickets for 10 runs as Kuldeep Yadav claimed a hattrick. The worrying aspect in this whole period is that the collapse is all over the line-up, be it the top, middle or the tail.
Australia’s horrendous run in Tests in the sub-continent has been their inability to play left-arm spin. Against Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh, Zulfiqar Babar, Rangana Herath, Ravindra Jadeja and Shakib Al Hasan have ensured Australia collapse like a pack of cards.
In ODIs, the left-arm bogey has extended in the form of Kuldeep Yadav, a Chinaman bowler. The variations employed by the 22-year-old have exposed Australia’s technical deficiencies against spin.
Resting Mitchell Starc
For a certain period now, Australia have rested key players to manage their workload. Pace spearhead Mitchell Starc is an example. Back from injury, he was rested for the ODI series against South Africa as Cricket Australia wanted him to be fresh for the home summer. Starc was left out of the current series against India to be ready for the Ashes series starting on November 23.
This is not the first time a strike bowler has been rested for a series. Mitchell Johnson returned home from India in 2013 with the ODI score-line 2-2 to prepare for the Ashes series.