Sydney, Jan 7: The Australian media on Saturday suggested a reality check on the hype surrounding the much-vaunted Indian batting line-up after the visitors’ humiliating innings defeat in the second Test, saying that they should ponder over whether the ageing stars can still deliver for the team.
The famed Indian batting line-up came a cropper in the two Tests against Australia in the ongoing four-match series and the local media wondered whether the ageing stalwarts were still an asset.
“On paper India boasts one of the most formidable batting line-ups ever seen in Test cricket, but reality suggests age is starting to overpower the benefits of their experience,” the Australian Associated Press said.
“Dravid and Tendulkar are approaching 39, Laxman is 37 and India’s recent whitewash against England and 2-0 deficit against Australia indicates something is significantly wrong.
Writing off champion players is always fraught with danger, and India’s big three, as well as Virender Sehwag and M.S. Dhoni, have shown patches of their prowess over recent months,” it said.
According to the write-up, India’s recent rise to No. 1 spot in Test before England dethroned them were due to the huge partnerships among the experienced but ageing players.
“India became No.1 team in Test because their stars had a knack of firing together and combining for huge partnerships to bat teams out of matches. That isn’t happening at moment, and the question is whether their ageing heroes are in a position to see them back to top of world rankings,” it said.
The media said the perception that India’s famed batting line-up will deliver at SCG, Sachin Tendulkar’s “favourite” ground abroad, in second Test was exaggerated.
“Rumours of an Indian pulse in Sydney had been greatly exaggerated. Inevitably, the tooth fairy (mythical creature of bounty) was revealed to be a fraud,” a write-up in ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ said.
“While Tendulkar and Laxman were still at crease after lunch, there remained the faint belief the unsalvageable might be salvaged. The tourists’ back was broken early afternoon with the dismissals of Tendulkar for 80 and Laxman for 66. The rest of afternoon was a victory lap for Michael Clarke’s side,” the write up in ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ said.
‘The Australian’ focussed on Tendulkar falling to the slow left-arm bowling of Australian captain Michael Clarke, which triggered the visiting side’s collapse in India’s second innings, leading to their innings and 68-run defeat in the second Test at the SCG.
Under the heading ‘Indian cobras charmed again by Michael Clarke’s tweaks’, the newspaper wrote, “What is it about Indian batsmen and that Australian slow left-arm and occasional orthodox spinner? The sweet slicing artists of the subcontinent have made mincemeat from the finest rumps of Australian tweakers.
“Shane Warne has been reduced to a shivering mess at times and if it happened to him you can imagine how mere mortals fare. There is something about Michael Clarke, however, that an Indian batsman does not love.
“He only took one wicket but it may as well have been five, for when Sachin Tendulkar falls a trapdoor opens beneath the innings,” it said.
‘Herald Sun’ praised the Australian team for winning the second Test also in four days after taming the highly-rated Indian batting line-up.
“For the second time in as many weeks, Australia twice disposed of the game’s most feared batting line-up inside four days,” it said.
Meanwhile, captain Michael Clarke got most of the credit from the local media for his 329 not out and dismissal of Tendulkar which triggered Indian batting collapse in the visitors’ second innings.
Under the caption ‘Pup tops Sachin, Clarke outshines Indian legend’, ‘Herald Sun’ wrote, “Few people have ever upstaged Sachin Tendulkar. No one is likely to do it more completely than Michael Clarke did in this 100th SCG Test.
“Is there nothing Clarke can’t do as captain? A triple century one day, the prized wicket of Tendulkar the next.
Clarke’s fairytale continued the Little Master’s frustration,” a write-up in the newspaper said.
“Just when it appeared no one was going to dismiss Tendulkar this week, or perhaps next, and his 100th international century looked a certainty, Clarke delivered a handful of kryptonite. And that was that. Tendulkar’s last appearance in a Test at the SCG was over for a well-constructed 80,” it said.
‘Daily Telegraph’ praised Clarke for not going for individual glory by declaring Australia’s first ininngs when he was unbeaten on 329 and pooh poohed how the famed Indian batting line-up failed to deliver once again.
“Clarke’s triple century in his hometown will be remembered for a long time -- as will his decision not to pursue Matty Hayden’s Australian record of 380 -- while Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey whacked timely centuries,” the newspaper said.
The media said Clarke earned respect as captain with his monumental effort with the bat and with his leadership skills.
“In just three days -- the time it took to score 329 runs at the SCG -- Australia’s cricket captain has shed his image as a tosser and found what he craves most: respect. Pup is the toast of the nation. He has India on the ropes, his future assured and a new woman at his side.”