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Australian Cricket: Poor shot selection costs Aussies

Australia suffered more humiliation in India when losing the second Test by six wickets and with it the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

The Baggy Greens needed a response after a crushing defeat in the first Test and they looked up to the task after going toe-to-toe with India in the first innings. However it all went horribly wrong in the second innings as Australia suffered another batting collapse.

This time they were all out for 113 runs. India did not waste the opportunity and made 118 runs for the loss of four wickets to wrap up the Test and take a 2-0 lead in the four-match series.

Australia have two Test matches to try and salvage a draw but on current form it looks as though they will do very well to avoid a series whitewash. India are priced at 4/9 to win the third Test, Australia are 7/2 while the draw can be backed at 13/2.

Now the aim is to try and avoid that and restore some pride in the process. However with players returning to Australia for one reason or another the camp looks to be in turmoil and the heat is on coach Andrew Macdonald and captain Pat Cummins. So let’s take a look at the fall-out from another nightmare for the Aussies, this time in Delhi.

Poor shot selection

Australia had done so well in the first innings when putting on 263 runs with Usman Khawaja and Peter Handscomb scoring 81 and 72 not-out respectively. Cummins also played a skipper’s innings with 33 runs lower down the order.

However it all came tumbling down after that and the way the Aussies threw away their wickets was a very bad look indeed. Apart from Travis Head (43) and Marnus Labuschagne (35) not one batsman reached double figures. They fell from 65/2 to 113 all-out.

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The shot selection was shocking with too many batsmen getting out while attempting to sweep. Including Steve Smith who had a Test match to forget. Alex Carey also had a nightmare when as the last recognised batter he also decided to sweep and got himself out when the Aussies needed him to hang around.

And if Cummins played a captain’s innings in the first he didn’t in the second, bowled first ball when attempting to hit it out of the ground. Cummins admitted after the game that the Aussies paid the price for poor shot selection and players moving away from the way they usually bat.

There needs to be a huge improvement in the third Test but it is hard to see where the runs will come from. Labuschagne is priced at 9/2 to be the top batsman in the match.

Players returning home

To make matters worse a number of Australian players are returning home to leave the struggling squad even more threadbare. David Warner is one such player. Yes Warner has failed to deliver in India but his return to Australia through injury is a setback nontheless.

The opening batsman suffered a concussion and fractured elbow in the second Test and will play no further part in the series. On top of that fast bowler Josh Hazelwood also returns to Australia having not played a minute of action because of an Achilles injury that has refused to go away.

Cummins has gone back home because of family issues but the captain is expected to be back in India for the third Test. However one of the biggest surprises is Western Australian spinner Ashton Agar being allowed home after failing to play any part in the series so far.

The decision not to use him has been blasted by many a former player and pundit. It is hard to fathom how Agar could be a part of the squad and not get a chance. Particularly after the shocking efforts from those who played in the first two Tests. 

Australia opted to go with another left-arm spinner Matt Kuhnemann who was flown in to India. This despite the fact Agar has more experience and can also bat a bit. 99 runs is his Test match high.

Starc and Green to return

The good news for Australia is the fact that all-rounders Cameron Green and Mitchell Starc look set to return for the third Test. The duo have both been ruled out with finger injuries.

Australia have been lacking true all-rounders in the first two Tests and these two returning is massive. They can support two spin bowlers while Head and Labuschagne can also bowl.

That has been another big criticism of Cummins – his failure to utilise the latter two in the second Test match. That has to be a big takeaway from what went wrong in Delhi.

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