The Aussies have had a bad day with the ball in the first Ashes Test match, they want to change things around in the second Test match. They win toss on a flat-looking Adelaide track. They decide to bat first. And have the opportunity to bat the English team out of the contest.
Instead, what did we have. The first 13 balls of the innings saw the side lose three wickets for almost next to nothing. The rest of the Australian batsmen had to struggle to keep the side afloat and despite a concerted effort they could get to only 245. A paltry total given the pitch conditions and lack of bowling penetration.
This is, but an evident proof of the state of the Australian minds. The teams of the yester-years were those who instilled fear in the opposition’s minds. Those who made the opposition panic, self- destruct and even implode. Not any more.
In fact, it is the other way around. There is a mental block. Losing has become a habit. Collapses have become a way of life. Sustained bowling of lines and lengths a rarity. Far too often have the fields being spread even when the batsman is new to the crease. And Ricky Ponting's captaincy has been anything but innovative.
The first day of the Adelaide Test epitomised a lot of that. It was a perfect batting track. One on which the first day should have seen not more than four or five wickets go down. And one in which the second day should have then seen them have the lower-order batting with one main batsman at the top to get to at least 400-450, if not more.
Instead, it is a joke that the first over of the game should see the opening pair run themselves out. No, it wasn’t their first game together. They have been batting for at least two years together now. Getting a run-out in the first over reeks of the lack of confidence. Ricky Ponting followed soon after, but to be fair, it was a delivery that would have got the best of the batsmen out.
However, it was the dismissal of Michael Clarke that would have caused more concerns. He seems to be a batsman who looks to have lost much more confidence than anyone else in the team – the back and the front foot goes almost nowhere. He was softened by a bouncer and he managed to edge the ball away to the slips off another that was pitched up.
Michael Hussey played a lone hand but it never ceases to wonder why Marcus North’s in the side. Continues to fail and despite scoring a 100 every 4-5 innings for now, the other knocks get him nowhere beyond 10. No, he needs to go out. A proper batsman needs to play. Period.
There are a lot of things that are going wrong with the team and one gets the sense that a loss will see a sea-change in the squad. On a very permanent basis.