Australian Batsmanship – Charting the Collapse
“Disgraceful”, “Horrible”, “Unnaceptable”, were the terms used by Australian Captain Michael Clarke to describe the 2nd innings capitulation in Cape Town on Thursday.
Australian cricket supporters could perhaps describe it in other terms – “all too familiar”.
While the shameful scoreline of all out for 47 represents a nadir for Australian “batsmanship”, it is also the 3rd time in 18 months that Australia have failed to reach 100 in an innings.
The scale of the decline in Australian batting over the past 4 years is illustrated below – the blue line shows average runs per wicket on an innings basis, while the orange shows the 10 innings rolling average runs per wicket.
At the end of the 2006/07 Ashes, the 10 innings rolling average stood at a mammoth 59 runs per wicket. By the time Australia was touring the West Indies in mid 2008, the average had fallen to 40 runs per wicket. It remained at around this level until Mid 2010. Since then, series defeat in India and annihilation in the Ashes have seen the average fall to the high 20’s.
The occasional amazing collapse can be tolerated, and the humilation soon forgotten, if the usual performance is huge scores and winning totals. But to suffer three such performances in 18 months speaks of a larger malaise, and hints at a lack of mental toughness in the current aussie top 6.
For a nation who until very recently joked that ‘English batting collapse” was somewhat of a tautology, these are concerning times indeed.