Lately Australia’s Test batting has been like chalk and cheese, especially INoverseas series. They are unable to adapt to unfamiliar condition. In India one saw them change their batting line up in almost every Test, same was the case in Ashes 2013 in UK. The top order batsmen were consistently shifting their batting position.
However at home their batting showed some consistency, as they find someone to contribute with bat.
At Gabba (1st Ashes Test) there were signs of crumbling and collapsing at top order. Therefore not dropping any specialist batsmen for 2nd Test would be a wise decision for them . Media reports suggest that Bailey might be dropped and replaced by his state mate J Faulkner, but that would be a mistake, because in Bailey they have a selfless cricketer, whose 2nd inning(Gabba) batting showed his intention as a player. For him there was a clear opportunity to score a 50 or even a century, but he customized his batting according to team’s requirement and batted selflessly. And experts feel he is suspect to quality bowling, which I think all batsmen are at some point of their career, its matter of confidence, and how they adapt to various situation posed to them.
I reckon Bailey’s front leg is restricting his balance, especially when he is playing on leg side. He gets blocked by his pad, and unable to maneuver quickly, which I must say is quite noticeable when he is on back foot against off spin. He gets cramped trying to turn the ball on leg, unlike his team mates Clarke, or Haddin, who are excellent against spinners.
Nevertheless he has the ability to adapt and create opportunity to score runs. Therefore he should not be dropped from playing XI.
Since Clarke became Test captain, the middle order/low order has scored bulk of team’s runs.
Here is a list of Average runs scored by each batting position since Clarke captaincy. The top row indicates qualification (# of inns)for each batting position, with first column displaying total avg runs/position. (No. of centuries is displayed when touching each position of gfx below)
Shane Watson summoned!.
Shane Watson’s Test performance has been on a slide in last few years. Since Clarke took over Test captaincy, Watson’s Test average is 28.90, (1 x 100+ 5 x 50s). I don’t believe there is any relation, in who is leading the team, because under Clarke’s captaincy, Watson form(@42.59, St. Rate 100.32) in ODIs has been great!.
Reason for poor performance:– Since 2011, Watson batting position has been constantly shuffled. He has been posted from I to VI consistently, causing poor run scores. Here is series wise batting average since 2011-12. With No. of 50s/100s displayed is displayed when touching selected series in gfx below.
There is a pattern for his low score dismissals. Has a habit of lunging on front foot, in where he gets either trapped(L B W or bowled), or gets caught behind wickets(slips/keeper) trying to play loose vertical shots.
At Gabba, in both inns he got out on front foot trying to force pace. Nevertheless he should not abandoned his batting style, never!.
On contrary he should fine tune this particular technique, because today, he is one of few batsmen who has the ability to play horizontal bat shots successfully, on bouncy surface/fast bowlers(140+kph).
And since India’s tour, he has showed lot of maturity, and great deal of patience in accumulating his innings. He has all the batting elements a cricketer requires, a right path to achieve Test greatness. His role play has immensely improved. The role play(avg overs faced/ inn) in each series can be found when above picture of Watson is touched.
Here is a link to meaning of all ndicators/formula – http://allthatcricket.com/?p=1489