Spineless Australia having a laugh

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Enjoy Clarke in ODIs while you still can. (AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER JOE)

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Nothing is more infuriating than watching Australian cricketers having a laugh with opposition when the situation is 277 without loss, as David Warner was yesterday in Mohali.

How easy and un-intimidating Test cricket must feel for Indian debutant Shikhan Dwahan, who treated the Australian attack like they’d been pulled out of a country pub due to a player shortage.

The left-handed opener brought up his ton in just 85 balls – the fastest in history on debut – before finishing the day unbeaten on 183.

The ease at which he and Murali Vijay (83no) toyed with finger spinners Nathan Lyon and Xavier Doherty was utterly embarrassing for the pair.

However, even more pathetic is the demeanour of the Australian team.

They have about as much grit as a polished brass knob.

No, spineless is a more appropriate description.

Phil Hughes is a rabbit in the headlights. I can’t remember seeing an Australian top order batsman look so meek at the crease – his Test career looks shot.

Doherty should never play red ball cricket for Australia again after Vijay and Dwahan clobbered him for 57 off 10 overs.

There should be a Royal Commission into how he was selected for this series in the first place.

Nathan Lyon is about as threatening as Jeff the Wiggle. He and Doherty could be the only spin bowlers in India that don’t want to bowl, and these wickets are genuine turners! He didn’t look like getting a wicket.

Opening pair David Warner (71) and Ed Cowan (86) probably gave each other a pat on the back behind closed doors after their 139 run opening stand, but when are they going to learn that once you get a start you must go on and score big hundreds?

I wonder if Warner cares enough, and the problem with Cowan is once he got to 86 you still felt he was 90 minutes away from reaching a ton. He lacks intent.

There are only two Aussie cricketers who show the sort of aggression, competitiveness, fight, mongrel – call it whatever you like – that the Australian public expects from its players.

Coincidentally they’re both Victorians – Peter Siddle and James Pattinson.

Granted Siddle has been disappointing in this series but at least he bores in and looks like he cares. He shows heart. He’ll dig in when the chips are down. Most of his team-mates are downhill skiers.

Michael Clarke is a superstar and has proved himself in a crisis with the bat but the time for smiling in the field is over. A fish rots from the head and he too needs to harden up when the pads are off.

Steve Smith can hold his head high after showing positive intent at the crease for his 92, and although he got smacked when he bowled at least he showed some emotion and looked genuinely irate about what was happening.

He let fly with a few F-bombs and gave Ed Cowan a nice old spray when his overthrow at short-leg let Vijay off strike in the final session.

Mitchell Starc’s 99 batting at nine deserves praise, but the manner in which he got out doesn’t.

After playing and missing outside off stump for two consecutive deliveries, you’d have thought he’d leave the third one alone. Snick. It was dumb cricket.

India finished the day 0/283 in reply to Australia’s 408 to all but stitch up the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

If there was a mercy rule in cricket I’m tipping Australia would enforce it given the complete lack of defiance among the majority of this touring party in India.

Mark Murray is a Melbourne-based journalist and lifelong sports nut. He is currently on the subcontinent covering Australia’s cricket tour of India. Follow Mark on Twitter @markcmuzza

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