Australia’s collapsible batting leaves Pakistan in command

Recent Test Series victories against England and South Africa has papered over one of Australia’s flaws: batting. Today – as Pakistan dominate Australia in the UAE – I present to you why nobody should be surprised at Australia’s collapsible batting.

As the memory fades, the narrative of the Australian summer is increasingly about the fallout of Mitchell Johnson’s incredible assault on England.

England’s coach, several players and administrators are now casualties of that series and more is surfacing in Kevin Pietersen’s controversial book. Australia went on to defeat South Africa 2-1 away with another brilliant and disturbingly (for batsmen) hostile performance by Mitchell Johnson.

But Australia’s batting has been – in part – carried by its bowling and – at times – top-class fielding. Sure, there were some great hundreds scored by Australia in that home series against England (mostly when turning the screws as opposed to backs against the wall when hundreds really matter) and away against South Africa.

None were better than Michael Clarke’s 161 against South Africa at Newlands. The series locked at 1-1, Clarke withstood antagonism from the field and a seriously fired up Morne Morkel who, hurtling in at 150kmph, struck Clarke on the arm, the shoulder and helmet, drawing blood and preventing the Australian captain from scoring a run for nearly six overs. It would have taken the wicket of many world class batsmen and killed most readers. But are those moments rarer than collapses?

I think so. Who remembers Durham 2013? Australia were cruising at 0/109 in their chase of 299 and were bundled out by Stuart Broad for 224, losing their last seven wickets for 58.

Fast forward to the Ashes in Australia. How many times did Brad Haddin rescue the top order?

Batting at 7, he was the second-highest run scorer in the series, with 493 at an average of 61, with five 50s and one ton.

Haddin came in to bat at:

  • 5/100 in Brisbane (scoring 94)
  • 5/247 in Adelaide (scoring 118 taking Australia to a match winning first innings score of 570)
  • 5/143 in Perth (scoring 55)
  • 5/112 in Melbourne (scoring 65)
  • 5/97 and 5/200 in Sydney (scoring 75 and 18).

Australia improved marginally in South Africa, but in the Port Elizabeth defeat they were skittled for 246 and after being 0/126 in their second dig, were rolled for 216.

Overnight Australia went from 0/128 to 303 all out. Haddin could not save them. Warner’s 133 is 44% of the team’s runs. Hats off to Pakistan. They’ve overcome the loss of Saeed Ajmal and proved that they’re a tough opponent. The next two days will be a massive challenge for Australia’s batsmen as they seek to resist a likely Pakistan victory late today and tomorrow.

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