HYDERABAD: Head coach Mickey Arthur admits Australia’s batting line-up has become a “one-trick pony”, saying Shane Watson in particular needed to lift to provide much-needed support to captain Michael Clarke.
Australia are reeling from a defeat by an innings and 135 runs to India in the second Test inside four days and, on what was supposed to be the fifth day, have returned to the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium on Wednesday to train.
Clarke, with scores of 130 and 91 in the first two Tests, is the only member of the Australian top six to have tackled the challenges of facing India’s spinners in their own conditions and there is heat on Watson, given his experience in the subcontinent, to lift to game.
The vice-captain has averaged only 25.2 in Tests in the past 18 months and is without a century in more than two years and 37 innings. The third Test, to start in Mohali next week, is in fact the site of his last hundred, in October 2010.
Arthur believes Watson, who is not bowling on this tour, is only one big score away from a run of good form but says Clarke, and Australia, desperately need him to perform amid an otherwise inexperienced batting order.
“I don’t think it’s a technique thing at all,” Arthur said. “Every time he has gone to the wicket, he has looked brilliant. But he’s been getting out for 20s. I just pray every time he goes to the wicket there’s a big score because I think once he gets that one big score, that will unlock the shackles. And the truth be told, we really need Shane Watson firing now.
“Michael Clarke needs a lot of support in the batting. We can’t be a one-trick pony and we need other guys to stand up. We really do.” Watson was out for nine, giving him a total of 77 runs for the series to date at an average of less than 20. Even Clarke said after Tuesday’s defeat that he was not sure how to get the best out of his under-performing deputy.
“I don’t know the answer to that, I’m not sure,” Clarke said. “You probably have to ask Watto that question.
“I’m there to help him like every single batter, if there’s areas he wants help, I’m there to support him. He’s a very good player, he’s a senior player in our team and like all of us we need to be scoring more runs.” Arthur said the Australians were keen to take advantage of conditions on Wednesday at the ground on which they were thrashed.
They have already resumed training, with eight days to prepare for the third Test in India’s north. They will be given a two-day break after flying to Mohali on Thursday.
“I think it’s important we do that, we train today because it’s not every day you can get use of a centre wicket and we’d be silly if we gave up that option,” Arthur said.
“We will put the guys in those conditions again and then we have a travel day. It really is important having two days off to mentally refresh.
“I can’t fault the work ethic of the guys out here, they have trained the house down, they have done everything required.
“I feel they need two days of refreshing and mental refreshment is as good as anything. Then we have four days on the training track to get it right for arguably one of our most important Test matches in a while. We will give them every opportunity to be ready for that.”
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.