Tim Paine’s Australian side have been criticised for their defensive approach. Picture SARAH REED
Tim Paine’s Australian side have been criticised for their defensive approach. Picture SARAH REED

UnAustralian: Legends slam meek Aussies

AUSTRALIA'S meek, defensive batting efforts on day two of the first Test in Adelaide have been mocked by cricket greats Sachin Tendulkar and Michael Vaughan - who both expressed they'd never seen such an attitude from Australian teams.

Chasing India's first innings total of 250, the hosts crawled along at around two runs an over on Friday as they dawdled through Friday's play.

All of Australia's top five batsmen had a strike rate below 50, while the likes of Shaun Marsh (2 off 19) and Usman Khawaja (28 off 125) went at a snail's pace.

The go-slow approach was one employed by India's first-innings centurion Cheteshwar Pujara, who battled early on before lifting the tempo after tea - finishing with seven fours, two sixes and a strike rate of 50.

But Australia's woes were exacerbated by some meek dismissals, such as Peter Handscomb's lazy late cut to be caught behind off Jasprit Bumrah.

Australian legend Shane Warne accused Tim Paine's men of lacking intent in their approach and "batting for survival".

But it was two batsman who took Australia apart during their playing days who went one step further.

Marcus Harris gets the ball away.
Marcus Harris gets the ball away.

"India should make the most of this situation and not lose their grip. The defensive mindset by the Australian batsmen at home is something I've not seen before in my experience," cricket's all-time leading runscorer, Indian champion Sachin Tendulkar, wrote on Twitter.

"(India offspinner Ravi Ashwin) has been very effective and has played a role to help the team be on top, for now."

England's Michael Vaughan, who had one glorious summer in Australia plundering three centuries during the 2002-3 Ashes, was equally alarmed by the negative play.

"Full credit to the Indian Bowlers .. they have bowled beautifully with great skill & control .. Never have I seen a Aussie team at home play with so much trepidation," Vaughan wrote.

Warne briefly came to the defence of the batsmen and the slow scoring, but ultimately agreed that more intent needed to be shown.

"Maybe there's something in the pitch that we're not seeing from up here - maybe it's two paced as Pujara said yesterday," Warne said on Fox Cricket.

"Maybe it's not easy to drive and that's why you're seeing so many deliveries of pure survival, just trying to defend.

"I still think the Australians have lacked a bit of intent - even just dropping and running off the quicks. They're just trying for pure survival ... but India have bowled well too."

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