Watto the matter


Across the four Test innings they have batted in so far on this tour of India, Australia's top four have combined to score 325 runs at an average of 20.31. David Warner, Ed Cowan, Phillip Hughes and Shane Watson have each batted four times, and only one of those 16 efforts has produced a half-century.

Perhaps nowhere else in the world could such low scores be allied to the following statistic: 12 of those 16 innings were terminated by spinners. The conditions and the experience of facing spin with the new ball are wholly unfamiliar to Warner, Cowan and Hughes, who have never before played Test cricket in India.

On Wednesday, Australia coach Mickey Arthur reiterated this point: "You can't buy experience only 3 of this squad have played Test cricket in India. They will be stronger and better for the experience."

The three Australians who have toured India before are skipper Michael Clarke, left-arm quick Mitchell Johnson and Watson. Clarke has been Australia's best batsman on the tour, Johnson hasn't featured so far, and Watson has scored 28, 17, 23 and 9.

Unlike the three left-handers who batted above him in Chennai and Hyderabad, Watson's run of scores cannot be explained away by inexperience or any glaring weaknesses against spin - he has scored a hundred and three fifties in his two previous India tours. It's a vexing issue, acknowledged by Arthur in his Wednesday morning press conference.

"The truth be told, we really need Shane Watson firing now. Michael Clarke needs a lot of support in the batting," he said. "I don't think it's a technique thing at all. Every time Shane has gone to the wicket, he has looked brilliant. But he's been getting out for 20s. I just pray every time he goes to the wicket there's a big score because I think once he gets that one big score, that will unlock the shackles."

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