Australia remain adamant that their top order is not vulnerable to spin bowling despite glaring statistics from the World Twenty20 that highlight their weakness.
Australia were bounced out of the tournament in feeble fashion following losses to Pakistan, West Indies and India, suffering spin-triggered collapses in all three defeats.
But in the wake of the 73-run defeat to India, key allrounder Shane Watson supported coach Darren Lehmann’s assertion that Australia have no concerns about slow bowling.
Across the three matches, Australia’s top five lost 14 of their 15 wickets to spinners, and on each occasion suffered early setbacks that hindered their ability to post big totals.
Only India seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who dismissed Cameron White for a two-ball duck, was able to break the spin dominance of Australia’s top five.
But when asked if Australia’s spin competence had plateaued since last year’s 4-0 Test mauling in India, Watson – who was dropped during the infamous homework saga during a shocking tour – said the current troubles were unrelated.
“I wouldn’t take anything from where we were from our 4-0 loss in India,” Watson said.
“Obviously we lost to spin but there were obviously a few other issues going on with our team at that stage.
“That’s certainly not the case now. I’ve tried to blank that stuff out of my mind to be fair.”
Watson said the team had improved since then and lauded Lehmann as a coach.
“He knows how to coach us better to be able to play spin and we have been playing better, even in the one-day tournament in India in October. We played their spinners very well,” Watson said.
“We’re getting better. This tournament has just been not so good.”
While admitting Australia struggled against India duo Ravi Ashwin, who claimed 4-11, and Amit Mishra, who has been arguably the best bowler of the World T20, Watson said it was in fact the seamers did the damage.
“I wouldn’t say spin played an absolutely huge role,” he said.
“There’s no doubt their quicks bowled very well first up.
“Dave Warner and Aaron Finch are as dynamic an opening (partnership) as there is in the world. But they bowled very well with that brand new ball and made it very difficult to score.
“There’s no doubt (the Indian spinners are) bowling very well at the moment. Especially Ashwin and Mishra are bowling beautifully at the moment.”