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Michael Vaughan highlights ugly Steve Smith truth after Aussie humiliation

The former England captain has offered his thoughts after Australia's crushing loss in the second Test against India.

Michael Vaughan, pictured here alongside Steve Smith.
Michael Vaughan has questioned who Australia has in the wings when David Warner and Steve Smith retire. Image: Getty

Former England captain Michael Vaughan has questioned whether Australia have any genuine Test batters waiting in the wings when David Warner and Steve Smith inevitably retire. The Aussies were thumped by six wickets in the second Test against India on Sunday after a collapse of 9-48 saw them bowled out for 113 in their second innings.

A second collapse in as many Tests has once again exposed Australia's frailties against spin - particularly in India. But according to Vaughan it also highlighted concerns over what Australia's team might look like if Warner and Smith were to walk away from Test cricket.

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"Waking up to see a proper collapse by the Aussies .. many teams have done the same in India .. it’s not easy .. but let’s be honest the Aussies once Warner and Smith retire have very little waiting in the wings," Vaughan tweeted.

At 36, Warner is in the twilight of his career and almost certainly won't be playing Test cricket in 2024. Opening partner Usman Khawaja is also 36, but would be reluctant to walk away from the five-day format around the same time as Warner for fear of leaving the side in the lurch.

Smith is only 33, but recently hinted that he doesn't know how much more Test cricket he has in him. "I'm enjoying it at the moment," he told reporters during the SCG Test in January. "I really can't say how long I'll play for. I'm not sure.

"I'll take it one tour at a time, just enjoy it, enjoy training and trying to get better as well. Whilst I'm doing that, I'm happy playing but I don't know how long that'll last."

Smith later eased fears about his impending retirement, saying: “I’m always very cryptic with that (retirement) stuff. But I’m not going anywhere, I’m comfortable with where everything is at, we’ve got a few good tours coming up, I’m excited, and I’m still trying to get better.

“Whilst I still have that hunger and eagerness to try and improve, particularly to help some of the batters coming through ... while I’m doing all that I’m enjoying myself and I have no plans for retirement.”

However the comments highlighted that Smith is very much looking at the next phase of his career and how it might look. They also served as a reality check for selectors and batters around the country.

David Warner, pictured here after Australia's loss in the second Test against India.
David Warner looks on after Australia's loss in the second Test against India. (Photo by Pankaj Nangia/Getty Images) (Pankaj Nangia via Getty Images)

Who is next cab off the rank for Aussie Test side?

Matt Renshaw was believed to be among the next wave of batters in line for Test selection, but has struggled mightily in India. The left-hander made 0 and 2 in the first Test in Nagpur, before another 2 in the second innings of the second Test after coming in as a concussion sub for Warner.

Australia may have found their next opening batter in the form of Travis Head, who has been batting at No.5 for Australia but made 43 in place of Warner in Delhi. Marcus Harris and Cameron Bancroft are also options to return to Test level, but their averages of 39.58 and 38.46 at first-class level don't exactly demand selection.

Harris has averaged 25.29 in 14 Test matches, while Bancroft has an average of 26.23 in 10 Tests. Will Pucovski also has experience at Test level and owns a 48.97 average in first-class cricket, but the 25-year-old's career has been hampered by a string of concussion issues.

Perhaps the forgotten man of Australian cricket, Kurtis Patterson is also an option. The NSW batter made 114 against Sri Lanka in 2019, playing the only two Test matches of his career so far. However he hasn't exactly set the world on fire in the Sheffield Shield, averaging 37.58.

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