London: Australian coach Tim Nielsen has denied suggestions that his batsmen cannot cope with the swing-friendly nature of the Dukes ball used in England.
Australia`s collapse on the opening day of the Headingley Test against Pakistan, where the Ricky Ponting-led team lost a string of wickets with little addition to the score, has been common during their recent Tests in England.
A meagre 20-run opening partnership between Simon Katich and Shane Watson was Australia`s best for the innings, as they lost all 10 wickets for only 68 more runs.
The Aussies have passed 300 in the first innings only once in their past six Tests in England, with collapses of five or more wickets in each of those instances.
"I`m not sure it`s an issue against the Duke ball. The ball certainly swung around today and that makes it difficult," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Nielsen, as saying.
"While you say we haven`t passed 300 I`d be interested to know how many times the opposition have passed 300 in the same conditions ... it`s been hard work," he added.
Nielsen further admitted that the team`s inability to halt the Pakistani bowlers` momentum was crucial.
"Any day you walk off and have 88 next to your 11 batsmen is not a good day. We just were never able to get into the contest at all. Every time we had even a smell of getting a partnership going - and that obviously wasn`t regularly when you make 88 - we lost another wicket," Nielsen said.
"They just bowled very nicely in conditions that were set up nicely for that, and we weren`t good enough to stop the rot. Once we got behind in the game we just struggled to change it," he added.