Excellent performance by South Africa. It was a marvelous fightback to win by such a huge margin. There is no doubt that Australia’s batting under Steve Smith has been below par in last 4 Tests. Losing all four games.
If one has to pin point and find out where their batting failed. I believe it is batsmen spending less time at the crease.
Although under Smith’s leadership(15 tests/27 inns) they have the best batting average than any other captain since 1998- nevertheless under him they also have the second highest number of(20.08%) batsmen getting out within 3 overs!.
It means from the time a batsman comes to the crease and gets out, irrespective of how many ball he has faced….
….and in last 4 Test which Australia lost, there is a rise (28.75%) in this indicator. This is the reason why they are having regular collapses, especially after getting a rollicking start.
Now, if they have to improve their batting they can look at two games where they fought hard.
1- At Pallakele, the first test in Sri Lanka earlier this year, where for 8th wkt Nevill & O’Keefe batted for 29.4 overs and scoring only 4 runs.
2- At Perth, the concluded first test v South Africa. In the second innings the last three wickets(8th, 9th & 10th)batted for 36 overs.
Here is how their batsmen performed(Batting XI) in last 4 Tests. Over all they batted for 610.1 overs out of which the openers batted long enough.
In below table the last two columns are
a) < 3 overs @crease : A batsman spending less than 3 overs, irrespective how many balls he has faced. The figure in below table is percentile. E.g Bat No. 2 was dismissed thrice within 3-over period, and No.4 was dismissed 4 times within 3-over period, suggesting they are getting out quickly!.
b) Total overs at crease – (in-over minus end-over). The time a batsman comes to to bat till the time his inning’s ends, either getting dismissed or remaining not out.
|Last 4 Test||Inn.||Runs||Centuries||Avg||Balls/wkt||Scoring rate||Boundary rate||<3overs@crease||Total overs at crease|