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India's super long tail must improve

Updated: Apr 13, 2019

After collapsing twice in Perth, India's bowlers must find a way to contribute with bat in hand.

Australia celebrate getting the last Indian wicket at Perth. Source: India Today

By 1991 the great West Indian era was closer to its end than its beginning. Gordon Greenidge and Viv Richards were close to retirement, and Malcolm Marshall was playing in his final home series.

Australia sensed they could beat them. They had a good top order and a handy fast bowling unit with Merv Hughes, Craig McDermott and Bruce Reid a part of it. 

The West Indies won the series on the back of some great cricket, and part of that was how ruthless they were to Australia's tail.

In the first test Australia lost their last five wickets for 14 runs. In the third test Australia lost their last 4 wickets for 1 run. 

They lost 5 for 34 and 5 for 8 in the fourth test. The series was over as Australia went 2-0 down with a test to play. 

Patrick Patterson helped clean up Australia's tail in the 1991 series. Image: Cricket Australia

The West Indies had developed a pattern of having Australia 6 for and then all out very quickly. There was no frustration in the field with a nuisance tail order batsmen holding up an end whilst the bowlers got annoyed with it all. They just got the tail in and out, and allowed their batsmen to get on with business.

What happened to India's tail twice in Perth will always make it difficult to win test matches. Sure the bowlers are there primarily to take wickets, and batsmen like Rahul and Vijay, who have both been having a summer holiday in Australia to date, need to stand up.  But the tail cannot be so brittle.

At the moment they are a walk in the park for the Australians. After Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane had got India to touching distance of Australia's first innings total, the last four batsmen contributed a total of 10 runs. India conceded a first innings lead where batting was always going to be a difficult assignment batting last.

It didn't get any better second try for the final four Indian batsmen. Between them they managed a total of 2 runs. Australia came home with a wet sail to level the series.

The top teams find ways to dig themselves out of trouble. On many occasions a Paul Reiffel or a Jason Gillespie helped Australia right their way out of a corner. Malcolm Marshall or a Dale Steyn had also done it for their respective teams. There has to be some fight. There has to be some resistance.

To fall over and surrender will only make it harder as India attempt to make history by winning in Australia for what would be the first time.

Their lower order have more than a week before the third test starts to get to the nets and pick up a bat as well as a ball.

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