Australia ironically let their own theories affect them as much as the Indian bowlers, and the results were there for all to see.
Nagpur: If it any consolation, there were indeed some devils haunting the Australians in Nagpur, but most were in their heads. While the much talked-about pitch at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium was always going to provide assistance to spinners (including Australians), the sheer brain-freeze that was in their batting approach in the second inning was what made it scary for the visitors.
While there will be a lot of complaining, inevitably, the Australian media will also come down hard on their batters as well for not doing the basics, like playing with the bat.
Playing for the non-existent square turn outside the line off Ravichandran Ashwin’s float and guile was something almost none of the Australian batters could get over. That was evident from the slew of leg-before decisions for Ashwin through the inning.
Had to happen when the batters were loath to use their bats more often than the pads. While there was always a little turn, it wasn’t ever enough to missing the middle of the bat and edging it, not on a regular basis for batters of the calibre that Aussies boast.
While everyone around was dismissive of all the accusations and conspiracy theories, but somewhere it did filter into the Australian mind, and they never ever got out of it. Not in the first inning, and definitely not the second.
Whatever the pitch held was normal to Indian tracks and even Australia, in the shape of Todd Murphy, benefitted from this. The massive difference was that the Indian batters, even when Murphy was making rapid inroads at one stage on Day 2, never ever panicked.
Further, their long inning and even the Indian lower order staying in the fight for long also drained the Australians and they knew by the end of the Indian knock that this one was gone.
Australia would maybe have lost anyway, after their first-inning effort, but the manner in which they surrendered was surreal, almost supernatural.
In the Australian line-up the only batter who actually looked to have found some measure of the pitch was Steve Smith, which in itself proved that there was enough in the pitch for the batters.
Australia ironically let their own theories affect them as much as the Indian bowlers, and the results were there for all to see. They’d be well served to play the pitch, not their mindset, if they have any ambitions of making a comeback in the series.