Pat Cummins has admitted Australia went over the top with their aggressive approach during the second innings of the second Test against India. The tourists suffered a horrendous collapse of 9-48 to be all out for 113, with India chasing down the victory target of 114 with six wickets to spare.
Six of Australia's 10 dismissals came via the sweep shot, with Steve Smith and Matt Renshaw trapped lbw, and Cummins, Alex Carey and Matthew Kuhnemann all clean-bowled. The Aussies seemed to make their minds up that every ball had to be swept, which brought about their undoing.
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Speaking to reporters after the match, Cummins admitted the Aussies were far too aggressive. The Aussie captain's dismissal came under heavy scrutiny after he played a rank slog across the line and had his stumps destroyed first ball.
“Disappointed, we were ahead of the game but we slipped,” Cummins said after Australia suffered a second-straight Test loss inside two days. “Everyone controls their own game, some balls just have your name.
“But I think there will be a review. Shot choice, did we go about it the right way?”
Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne put the Aussies in a good position at stumps on day two, with the batters showing an aggressive approach could prove fruitful. However it all went wrong in 60 minutes of calamity on day three.
“I thought they bowled really well, it’s not easy out there, but perhaps some guys went away from their methods,” Cummins said. “Each batter has their own way to go about it.
"I don’t think there’s any one size fits all rule. Unfortunately, quite a few of us got out with kind of cross-batted shots, which might not be our preferred method.
"I'm probably as much to blame as anyone else there. Two big things we talk about is the tempo of the game and the method.
"Maybe at times a little bit too high tempo. I'd rather be high tempo than low tempo though, if those wickets are being difficult, but maybe the method went a little bit away from what we planned to do at times."
When asked about Australia's tactics after the match, India captain Rohit Sharma said the sweep shot was “not a very good option”. He added: “Stepping out to the spinners was probably the safer option. That is my view.”
India hero Ravi Jadeja, who took seven wickets in the second innings to destroy Australia, also had a telling response when asked about Australia's sweep-happy tactics. When asked if the sweep was a good ploy, he responded: "Not on this wicket."
Are our batters thinking this through some of the shot selections were atrocious
Reverse sweeps are high risk low reward and We don't expect the skipper to score runs, but that was a rubbish shot first ball from Cummins !!! #AUSvsIND
— Bernie Coen (@berniecoen) February 19, 2023
— Mark Gottlieb (@MarkGottlieb) February 19, 2023
Pat, this isn't backyard rules. You can get out first ball.
That was just disgusting. #INDvAUS
— Lachlan McKirdy (@LMcKirdy7) February 19, 2023
Cummins swings through the line and misses. This is pathetic and stupid batting. @RaunakRK pls bring Ian Chappell to the show.
— Mayank (@kmayank9) February 19, 2023
Can Australia still draw the series 2-2?
While Australia were completely outplayed in the first Test in Nagpur, they were right in the game after the first innings in Delhi. The tourists made 263 while batting first - an improvement on the 177 and 91 they made in Nagpur.
However Cummins believes they left too many runs on the field and should have made 300. "Looking back on it, 300 would have been fantastic," Cummins said. "260 was OK, but if we really want to drive home the advantage we were a few short."
India holds an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-Test series and have already retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy. However Cummins believes the Aussies can still draw the series 2-2, while the tourists are still chasing one more victory to secure their place in the World Test Championship final.
"Absolutely, it's still a series to draw," Cummins said. "That'd be an amazing effort over here in India. So that's all to play for still."
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