The world number one side were crushed inside three days on a bone-dry pitch on Saturday, outclassed by spin twins Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. Australia’s second innings total of 91 was its lowest-ever in India.
“Pat Cummins‘ side has been humiliated in the first Nagpur Test match,” The Australian broadsheet wrote. “There’s no blaming the wicket when the opposition post 400, but there’s potential to blame the state of mind the Australians approached the game in.”
It said questions must be asked about the decision to drop Travis Head, one of their standout players during the home summer, and over how much longer veteran opener David Warner can remain in Test cricket after failing again.
The Sydney Morning Herald said Australia had been dealt “a brutal reality check in their quest for world domination by India’s spin masters”, while Sydney’s Daily Telegraph urged change.
“The axing of Travis Head looked silly on day one and positively stupid on day three after Australia’s dreadful performance,” said the Telegraph. “He must return. But Travis Head alone would not have raised the Titanic.”
Former captain Allan Border said the team should be “embarrassed” and would be left with “so many scars”.
“I hope our players are embarrassed by that performance. It’s just poor all around. It’s hard to believe it’s happened so quickly,” he told Fox Sports. “It seems like we over-thought this particular tour and who should be there, who shouldn’t be there. We’ve started as badly as we possibly could. Hopefully that’s rock bottom.”
Mark Waugh, a selector during Australia’s 2017 campaign in India, also said Head and allrounder Cameron Green, if fit, should be recalled for the second Test in Delhi.
“There have been too many bruises from this game to move forward (with the current side),” he said. “If Cameron Green is fit, he has to come in and Head has to come back in.”
That would likely see Matt Renshaw dropped, with Scott Boland also at risk if Green were to return.
Mitchell Starc could also be an option, with the pace spearhead expected to link up with the team this week after recovering from a serious finger injury.
(With inputs from AFP)