Australians speak candidly about what went wrong in Port Elizabeth Test
Cape Town: Australia`s cricket leaders have made a series of frank admissions about what went wrong and what is lacking, and have sought a catharsis ahead of the second Test in Johannesburg on Thursday.
Vice-captain Shane Watson said the batsmen had been too bent on attack in their second innings, when they crashed for a disastrous and still scarcely credible 47.
He admitted that he and Phil Hughes had not come close to establishing an opening partnership like the one he shared with the deposed Simon Katich.
``Simon did a brilliant job for Australia for a three or four-year period. There`s no doubt we miss that in a way. But we`ve moved on. Now, me and Phil have to set up our own partnership. Unfortunately, we haven`t. I`ve been just about the first person to get out every time, so I haven`t been helping our opening relationship at all,`` a leading daily quoted Watson, as saying.
Watson admitted that he sometimes struggled with peculiar demands of the all-rounder who opens the batting.
``After getting five wickets, you don`t have any time to soak it in and re-approach your batting,`` he said.
He added: ``Before I knew it, I was back in the pavilion. It`s a balancing act to mentally switch off my bowling.``
Skipper Michael Clarke said the Australians felt they had let everyone down.
``If you don`t feel the pain here, you`ll never feel the pain and you`re playing the wrong sport, for the wrong team,`` he said.
``Throughout my career, I`ve learned from the not-so-good days more than the good days. That`s what I`m hoping everyone in that change room does: find something so when we get into a position like we did in that second innings with the bat, or with the ball, we go about it in a different way,`` he added.
But Clarke`s most damning admission about the last day was wordless.
Asked if any of the bowlers had stood up, he paused for almost 10 seconds, an eternity in a media conference.
Pressed about Mitch Johnson, whose impressive training turned to dust in the Test, he replied: ``We need him taking wickets, there`s no doubt.``
The places of Johnson, Hughes, Brad Haddin and - unavoidably - Ricky Ponting all have come under critical scrutiny.
On tour, Australia`s options are limited. The reserve batsman, Usman Khawaja, probably will be needed to replace Marsh.
Now that there is nothing to lose, Pat Cummins comes strongly into the reckoning for what traditionally is a faster pitch in Johannesburg.