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    Default Australians themselves to blame for pathetic Sydney Test performance: Roebuck

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    Noted cricket columnist Peter Roebuck has said that the Australian team has only themselves to blame for the pathetic performance they had on the first day of the Sydney Test against Pakistan.

    Roebuck said that none of the top-order or middle order batsmen showed the required tenacity to face a quality Pakistani attack.

    "Phillip Hughes was as sketchy as Rolf Harris. His brief innings contained numerous flaws, including uncontrolled cuts and drives executed without any discernible movement of the pegs. It was the innings of a young player caught between yesterday and tomorrow. Fortunately, Test cricket gives batsmen a second chance," Roebuck wrote in a syndicated column for the Sydney Morning Herald.

    "Ricky Ponting''s batting was sadly lacking in its customary clarity. Injuries can cloud the mind. All sorts of things can affect a cricketer''s thinking. Batting captains are loath to elect to bowl because it makes them appear reluctant to walk into the den. Nursing a wound, Ponting was torn between tempers and the skipper paid the penalty," he added.

    Roebuck also said that the track at the Sydney Cricket Ground provided a balance between the bat and the ball, where batting was not impossible.

    "Flat tracks and tame attacks have inflated batting records. In the 1990s Test wickets cost an average of 31.65 runs apiece. In the past decade, that figure rose to 33.79. Global warming cannot compare with that. In the 1990s, only four batsmen averaged over 50, a mark widely regarded as a reliable definition of greatness," Roebuck said.

    "In the decade completed last week, the figure rose by leaps and bounds to 21. It is an astonishing change that long ago ought to have alarmed those responsible for retaining the vital balance between bat and ball. They cannot all be great, or else the word has been stripped of meaning," he added.


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