Are India brilliant? Are Australia shit?

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Cheteshwar Pujara (via BT Sport)

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 India brilliant? Well, they have the best overseas attack they’ve ever had, while the presence of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja means they’re as strong as ever at home.

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.


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  1. Here in Australia there have been 3 main talking points amongst my friends, family and colleagues:
    “That Bumrah chap seems quite decent”
    “Pat Cummins is a champ”
    “Jeez I hate Kohli “

    Occasionally people mention that our batsmen might not quite be all that good but there seems to be a bit of denial about it all knowing that we only have to deal with a fairly crap Sri Lanka team before 2 massive holes in the batting lineup can be filled again. Then the team can go from being bad to merely mediocre and we can just pretend the whole thing never happened.

    1. Not in my household or workplace is it. It’s.

      “Shit, India have actually got fast bowlers now”

      “The nation of India is getting richer by the day and a billion people to choose from”

      “The Local A grade legend could bat better then these clowns”

  2. Kohli was asked for advice for AUS batsman in forthcoming ashes

    he said something like as below

    just imagine if you are shit in aussie conditions using kookaburra ball
    then what will happen to you when you face Anderson, Broad, & Stokes, using the Duke ball, in a wet day in Manchester !

  3. Currently Australia are shit in Australian conditions, because the batting line up is shit in the absence of the Sandpaper Three and the bowlers are ineffective with a Kookaburra ball in the absence of sandpaper.

    Australia should be more challenging in England next summer, if they can keep their pace bowlers fit for the whole of the English summer.

    India are a very good team at the moment, even away from home. India underperformed in England last summer and/but performed much better in Australia these past few months.

    England are a good and improving team which should prove too challenging for the visiting Aussies next summer, but don’t count on it.

    1. Ged, I never, ever, count on England to be good in the Ashes, and I hope you don’t either. Expecting the team you support to be good, even to win, is fundamentally not what being a British cricket fan is all about.

      1. England bowling is the best for their conditions
        batting is another story (as KC says it is Total bits and pieces cricket)

        coming back to bowling: (as per cricviz)

        Indian trio (Bumrah/Ishant/Shami) most ACCURATE (nagging persistent line)
        Australian trio (Starc/Cummins/Hazelwood) most fast (VELOCITY)
        English trio (Anderson/Broad/Stokes) most seam MOVEMENT

        even with Warner & Smith back, I expect AUS batsmen to struggle

      2. Expecting the team you support to be good, even to win, is fundamentally not what being a British cricket fan is all about.

        There is a worrying amount of optimism around the one day side as well leading into the World Cup, I’m really not sure why people aren’t bracing for a first round exit.

    2. I initially read “Sandpaper Three” as Sandpaper Theory, and imagined it as the belated Australian answer to bodyline,

  4. Winning in Australia is hard, really bloody hard. Even the Aussies often look at the end of their tethers at the end of series, as such it’s unsurprising that only South Africa (probably the best all round test team this decade) have ever been able to go toe-to-toe with them regularly.

    Australia were (at least nominally) weaker than their 2010/11 vintage and even then managed to mug India at Perth.

    So while Australia were shit, beating them on home turf is definitely a big deal for any team.

  5. Almost certainly too much to ask for and somethat will blow up in my face for even thinking it but…. wouldn’t a whitewash in England be nice.

    (To England)

    (I’ve just ruined our chances.)

    1. Cloudy day at one of the Northern grounds, Australia win the toss and bowl, England all out for 100 (not for 60, they’d have to be really terrible to make only 60), Starc with a 7-fer.

      All on you Bradders.

      1. As soon as England get all out, the play is stopped for bad light

        next day when it is Australia’s chance to bat, it is bright sunshine
        so hot that, most of the male spectators have removed their top and the mercury crosses 15 degree celsius

      2. …they’d have to be really terrible to make only 60.

        I went to a match where that happened once. I know that everyone knows that it happened once, but I wasn’t sure if you all knew I was there.

  6. Shane Warne averaged 26 in tests in Australia. Glen McGrath averaged 22.

    In all this talk of how difficult bowling is in Australia, it’s worth occasionally reminding ourselves of just how good those two were. It was horrible at the time, but with hindsight we were lucky to have been able to watch them play.

  7. Bert – yes, I heard a vague rumour that you were there on 6 August 2015. Strangely, I was reskimming my Ogblog piece about it earlier this week, as I am writing a little performance monologue which features Paul – the chap I didn’t meet up with that day:

    My above piece also links to Bert’s masterpiece about that day.

    Totally agree with your point, Bert, about how good McGrath and Warne were and how privileged we are to have witnessed them play.

  8. It’s very pre-mature… but I request your majesty to consider Che Pujara for LMOG for 2019.

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