Looking back on a 2-1 home series defeat to India, Australia captain Tim Paine said that his team “couldn’t quite get through” the big moments.
Paine was a little vague about what those big moments were. We can exclusively reveal that 1,251 of them were deliveries bowled to Cheteshwar Pujara that didn’t result in his dismissal.
But while Pujara was a very big part of India’s success, wearing Australia’s four-man attack down to a little nub over the course of the series (he bought team-mates further down the order a lot of runs), it’s also true that India simply had more depth – albeit so do most puddles.
Here are some points to dwell on.
India’s batsmen made five hundreds. Australia’s batsmen hit five sixes.
Only three Australia batsmen averaged over 30. Marnus Labuschagne topped the table of home batsmen with 38 runs per dismissal.
Marnus Labuschagne made 38 runs in the series.
The other two semi-competent Aussie batsmen were Marcus Harris and Travis Head who were playing despite averaging 35 and 36 in first-class cricket.
Fox Sports commentator Kerry O’Keeffe recently made light of Mayank Agarwal’s first-class performances, suggesting that, “he got his triple-century against Jalandhar Railways Canteen Staff.”
Agarwal made two fifties in three innings this series. We eagerly await an Australia tour match against Jalandhar Railways Canteen Staff to see what Harris and Head can do.
Pat Cummins was the only Australia bowler to average under 30. While the worst average – Mitchell Starc’s 34 – isn’t too horrifying, it’s striking that only four Australia bowlers took a wicket. Hell of a workload for those guys.
In contrast, India shared their bowling labour out rather better. Much has been made of the effectiveness of their pace bowlers – and it’s true they took the bulk of the wickets – but three of the six India bowlers to average under 30 were spinners and all of them took at least five wickets in a match.
Are Australia shit? Maybe the batting is a bit, but that kind of thing tends to be much more apparent when you come up against a very strong opponent in a decently-long Test series.