Former Australia batsman Michael Hussey has expressed concern at the technique adopted by Australia’s batsmen against Indian spinners on Day 1 of the MCG Test on Saturday. Hussey credited R Ashwin for his returns of 3/35, saying India benefitted from using the off-spinner in the first hour of play when the ball was hard, but feels the ploy used by Australian batsmen while facing him and Ravindra Jadeja could have been a lot better.
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“Australia’s technique against the spin – a lot of them are pushing hard at the ball and that brings those close in fielders on the leg side if there’s any turn. He got bounce and that was due to him coming on early. The ball was still hard and that’s what worries the Australian batsmen. There’s plenty of natural variations as well. It was a quality performance once again,” Hussey said on ESPNCricinfo.
Hussey spoke about Ashwin’s dismissal of the dangerous Steve Smith for a duck. After getting him out for 1 in Adelaide, this is the second time in the series that the India off-spinner has dismissed the former Australia captain for a low score. This was only the fifth duck for Smith in Test cricket but he has now been dismissed by Ashwin five times – twice in Australia and three times in India.
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“He [Ashwin] has got some wood over Steve Smith and that was annoy him. It was a strange shot from him… he seemed to have poked at it. It was almost as if he was giving catching practice. He wasn’t the decisive Steve Smith that we are used to seeing against spin. There’s obviously something unsure about him when he’s facing Ashwin,” Hussey pointed out.
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This is Ashwin’s third tour of Australia and Hussey believes the India off-spinner has grown by leaps and bounds since his first trip Down Under in 2014/15. One of Ashwin’s strongest criticism has been his performance overseas, but with returns of 4/55 and now 3/35 in consecutive Tests, Ashwin seems to be finally burying the ghost of his performances outside the sub-continent.
“What I’ve admitted about Ashwin is that he’s improved every single time he’s come to Australia. In the first two tours, he didn’t perform very well at all,” Hussey added. “But he’s a very good thinking cricketer and he’s learnt his lesson every single time he’s come to Australia and just got better and better. He’s evolved his game and he’s been very effective in the last couple of times in Australia. I’ve loved watching his variations, he makes the batsmen keep guessing all the time.”