Legendary Australian cricketer Ian Chappell believes Australia's heavy defeat by an innings and 132 runs to India in the first Test at Nagpur has exposed their frailties against good spin bowling on turning pitches and warned the visitors' to adapt quickly to avoid suffering the fate which other touring teams have got in the past.
Australia's vulnerability exposed
"The first Test has exposed Australia's weakness against good spin bowling on turning pitches. If they can ensure this setback doesn't mean their mental capacity to cope in India is not dented, it will keep them in the series. If they waver, they are in big trouble."
"The reality is that India have developed into a very strong side all round the world, with a special feel for how to win at home. If Australia, who have a weakness against spin in India, don't adapt to conditions quickly, they are going suffer the same fate that has befallen other visiting sides," wrote Chappell in his column for ESPNCricinfo on Sunday.
In the build-up to the Nagpur Test, there were huge allegations of the pitch being doctored. Now, Chappell has pointed out that the pitch wasn't a difficult one to play for Australia. "The noise was exactly that in the case of the pitch. Not unexpectedly, it turned out to be nothing more than a fairly typical first-day Indian red-soil wicket."
"It was by no means impossible to play on, as Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith showed, but Australia failed to post a testing first-innings total. The media making allegations about pitch-doctoring is nothing new."
"Players need to ignore this little game or else it has a debilitating effect on the visiting team. Far too much emphasis is put on how pitches are going to play and on doctoring. It's worth remembering that both teams have to play on the same pitch."
Questions over team selection
Chappell further questioned the selections made by the Australian team for the Nagpur Test, especially the omission of left-handed batter Travis Head, while hailing debutant off-spinner Todd Murphy for taking seven wickets on debut.
"The selections in this match were a mixture of brave choices and one that was a head-scratcher. The omission of Travis Head, despite his troubles against good spinners, was difficult to fathom. The choice of offspinner Todd Murphy in his first Test after only seven first-class games was brave. Nevertheless it also displayed great faith in Murphy's skills."
"Murphy was economical but also took wickets and he was unafraid to bowl a leg-stump line to contain the Indian batters. The problem was Australia's lack of first innings runs, which meant the bowlers had to perform the most difficult of tasks: take wickets while also containing the batters."
"In the end the choice Australia made, to favour economy over wicket-taking potential, quickly took its toll and India capitalised on bowlers tiring from a heavy workload."