Sydney: Former Australian cricketer Ian Chappell has said that Australia`s poor performances in the Chennai and the Hyderabad Tests were swift and predictable, adding that it had been building up for a long time.
Stating that the team should have been warned when their top-order batsmen struggled against a modest spin bowling by Sri Lanka in the recent bilateral series, Chappell said that the problem started with Shane Watson`s decision to move away from the opener position in the sub-continental Tests series.
According to Chappell, Watson and David Warner are the best opening combination in a side, which he termed as seriously struggling, adding that Watson should have been regarded as an opener who bowled a few overs occasionally.
The former captain also listed skipper Michael Clarke`s refusal to budge from the No. 5 batting position as another death-knell for the touring squad, adding that although Clarke is not ideal for the No.3 slot, he should have played there as he is the best choice to face a side with threatening spinners.
Chappell further said that Clarke may have got away with being in the No. 5 slot, if he had Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey for support, adding that it is harder to retrieve the situation if a number of wickets are lost early.
Stating that the present condition of the Touring Oz squad was predictable with the retirement of champion bowlers like Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, Chappell said that although it was hard to replace them, Australia had managed to stay put with the efforts of Ponting, Hussey and Clarke, who, he added, were groomed under a now defunct system.
However, Chappell said that with the advent of Twenty20 and a cluttered international itinerary, although adjustments were necessary to ensure the batting and spin bowling production lines remained effective, the team and selectors unheeded the warnings, which has taken a toll on the performances in Tests in India.
Adding that the two consecutive Ashes losses was another alarm-bell for Australia, Chappell, however said that the players may get respite in the upcoming Mohali Test as the pitch there is most likely to suit the Oz quicks if they have not completely lost their confidence.
Chappell further said that the Mohali Test will offer them only a brief respite as the following Delhi Test will again assist the Indian spin attack, plus the squad will have to face two consecutive Ashes series against a strong England side.