Shane Warne says there is pressure on multiple Australian stars to keep their places in the side after a stunning series loss to India — and rightly so.
The tourists secured a remarkable 2-1 victory by chasing down 328 in the fourth innings in Brisbane to hand the Aussies their first defeat at the Gabba since 1988.
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Whereas last time India visited these shores in 2018/19, leaving with the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and outclassing an Australian team minus Steve Smith and David Warner, this time there are no excuses.
India was decimated by the injury curse from hell, leading to it fielding a bowling unit in the final Test with a combined four games of experience, and still the Aussies couldn’t take advantage.
It means serious questions will be asked about what went wrong.
“I think there’ll be a huge fallout from this,” Warne said in commentary for Fox Cricket. “There’s not too many times that you lose to the second or third (choice) side.
“That’s not taking anything away from those Indian guys that played but their first selection side, there’s probably only two or three players in that side who would play.
“Australia being beaten 2-1 by India’s B-side (is disappointing).
“Their tactics will come into question, and they have to. Bowlers will come into question, people’s spot in the team will come into question. It has to.
“You can’t just deflect it and flick it off and say India were too good for us.
“Yes they were, but Australia had so many chances in this series to bury it and crush India, but they couldn’t do it. They just couldn’t do it.
“There’ll be a big fallout from this.”
While the bowlers couldn’t land the necessary knockout punch in Sydney or Brisbane, the batsmen were hardly blameless, as only Marnus Labuschagne averaged above 50. Thanks to form woes and injury there were three different opening combinations in four Tests, Matthew Wade may well be discarded after going the entire summer without making it to 50 and Marcus Harris failed to make the most of his lone start in Brisbane.
That Australia still couldn’t find a winning formula after Joe Burns and Travis Head were dumped is cause for concern, although Cameron Green showed promise at No. 6 and Will Pucovski will return to the side when fit after debuting at the SCG.
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Tim Paine carries a heavy burden as a captain and wicketkeeper expected to make runs at No. 7. He bungled some chances in the last two Tests, including a missed stumping and a drop in Brisbane to go with three drops on the final day in Sydney.
Legendary Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist says Paine’s personal burden will be one to look at as the post-mortem commences.
“Tim Paine said that they’re going to have to look at a few things. They’re going to have to take a strong assessment on what’s happened,” Gilchrist told Fox Sports.
“There are areas that will come under the microscope and one of those areas may well be his situation, with all that he’s trying to take on as captain, keeper, batsman.
“There’s going to be a lot of introspection. It probably starts immediately.”
But Paine has no intention of going anywhere. He wants to be on the plane to South Africa for a Test tour in February, and denied he has too much on his plate.
“I don’t think so, mate,” Paine said when quizzed if his many responsibilities were taking a toll.
“I think I had a pretty ordinary day in Sydney, I copped that on the chin. As a sportsman you have more good days than bad days. It doesn’t always go your way.
“I’ve said many times in the last two or three years, I don’t look past the next series.
“I’m loving doing my job. It’s a difficult job and at times like this it can be bloody hard work. But that’s what I signed up for. I didn’t play my best cricket at times in this series.
“I’ll go away and look to get better, improve parts of my game and I won’t be looking past that game.”