If India suffer a rare Test series loss at home to Australia they will rue “negative” batting in the Dharamsala decider, according to Michael Clarke.
Former Australia captain Clarke was shocked with India’s tactics during a rollercoaster second day of the fourth and final Test. The hosts will resume on Monday at 6-248, still trailing Australia by 52 runs.
Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane both looked set during the post-lunch session, during which the hosts only added 89 runs. It came after they scored 64 runs in Sunday’s morning session.
India’s pre-lunch struggles were a result of inspired fast bowling from Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, who made good use of the new ball. India opener KL Rahul dubbed it the toughest session he had ever faced.
Clarke felt there were no such excuses for India’s run-rate after lunch, opining that India had the best batting conditions either side will enjoy in the game.
“If India do lose this Test match, I’ll tell you where they lost it – it’s 30 minutes before tea on day two,” Clarke said on Star Sports.
“It was so negative with their batting. Australia bowled spin from both ends, they sat on the crease and blocked and blocked and blocked.
“They’ve lost two quick wickets (after tea) … they’re under enormous pressure.
“If India can’t get a decent total in this first innings, batting last here is going to be extremely tough (if they are) chasing 200 runs.”
Australia’s only Test series win in India during the past 47 years came in 2004, when Clarke made his debut. India have lost a single series at home in the past 12 years.
The ongoing series is level at 1-1. The visitors will retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy if the final Test ends in a draw.
Former Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin echoed Clarke’s sentiments.
“India have to win the Test match and I don’t think you’re going to get better batting conditions than in that session,” Haddin said on Fox Sports.
“I was bit shocked that Pujara didn’t try to move the game forward a little bit. It looked like he put a lot of pressure on Rahane, then he’s sort of got bogged down in his shell a bit too.”