PATIENCE is a virtue that Australia’s national cricket team seems to lack. And impatience does not serve one well in Test cricket as the results from the first two matches against India indicate.
Australia has not merely lost, it has been humiliated. When the first Test ended early, with India registering an eight-wicket win, it looked bad. But given the nature of the wicket, some blame could be placed on it
But worse was to come when India thrashed the Australians by an innings in Hyderabad, on a wicket which was much better than the one in Chennai. It was all over and done with after one session on day four.
The Australian batsmen do not lack basic skills. They are well coached in these skills and know how they should play.
The problem stems from the fact that many have grown up on Twenty20 cricket and have gained habits from that version of the game which do not serve players well in Tests.
Cross-bat strokes and impatience are virtues in T20; in Tests, one has to dig in and be prepared to play with a straight bat. A total of 200 batting first wins a game of T20 more often than not; in a Test even a total of 500-plus in the first innings does not guarantee victory.
Two inexperienced Indian batsmen showed the way on day two of the second Test, playing patiently to the extent that they scored just 49 runs in the first two-hour session. But as they gradually wore down the bowlers in the searing heat, the runs began to flow. A further 106 came in the two hours between lunch and tea and the final session was a feast with 151 being added.
And during all this time, not a single wicket fell. It was enough to demoralise Australia.
There are two Tests left in the series, both of which Australia will have to win if it wants to retain the trophy for the series. The last time the teams met, in Australia, the home team won all four Tests. India will be looking to do the same.