Where to now for the baggy greens?
Has David Warner gone too far with his latest Twitter outburst? (AP Photo/Andrew Brownbill)
There’s been one standout in India’s successive eight-wicket, innings and 35 maulings of Australia – Ravi Ashwin.
The 25-year-old offie conducted the music and the Australian batsmen couldn’t dance.
His career figures are 14 Tests for 81 wickets at 28.93, but he’s raised his performance bar in this series’ two Tests with 18 wickets at 16.78 and an economy rate of 2.5.
Very, very impressive.
And not far behind in the domination stakes were four Indian batsmen who dictated the outcome of both Tests.
MS Dhoni’s career-best 224, and Virat Kohli’s 127 at Chennai, followed by Chereshwar Pujara’s 204, with Murali Vijay’s 167 at Hyderabad.
Take those four digs out, and Australia would have been in with a big sniff.
But “IF” doesn’t win anything, so where to now for the battered Aussies?
The next Test won’t be until March 14 at Mohali, so there’s plenty of time to select from two options.
Go with what they’ve got in the 17-man squad, where Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, and Mitchell Johnson have yet to get a run.
Or tell the BCCI, India’s governing body, that Shane Watson is going home for the birth of his first child, and on the plane with him will be Phil Hughes, Matthew Wade, Xavier Doherty, James Pattinson, and Mitchell Starc.
And none of the six will return.
Hughes needs no explanation, Wade was guilty yesterday of gross disrespect to his team with a mind-blowing stupid decision (more in a minute), Doherty isn’t up to it, and both Pattinson and Starc have 10 Ashes Tests in front of them, so why risk them in India?
With occupation of the crease paramount yesterday to try and save the Test, Wade called for a suicidal single to short cover, where Ravindra Jadeja fumbled his pick-up but still had time to throw down the stumps with Moises Henriques well short and yet to score.
It was the dumbest cricket for yonks. Wade deserves the bullet.
While this lot are flying home, another plane in the opposite direction will have Adam Voges, Ashton Agar, Steve O’Keefe, James Faulkner, and 22-year-old Western Australian keeper Tom Triffitt on it, heading for Mohali.
All five will add to the overall batting strength of the tourists.
That will leave Peter Siddle, Johnson, Faulkner, and Henriques to look after the pace scene, with Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Agar, and O’Keefe the spin.
I’m still not convinced Henriques and Maxwell are Test men, despite Henriques’ 68 and 81* in Chennai, and Maxwell’s 4-127 at Hyderabad, both on debut.
But neither deserve to be overlooked, so they have two more Tests to cement their claim.
It will be interesting to see how selection chairman John Inverarity reacts to the two maulings.
If at all.