Australian coach Andrew McDonald opens up on Delhi disaster as key players head home

Australian coach Andrew McDonald has admitted his side ‘got the balance wrong’ in the second Test against India, following a horror batting collapse in Delhi.

After some strong showings from Usman Khawaja and Peter Handscomb helped the visitors to a first innings lead, a day three capitulation saw the Aussies defeated by six wickets with over two days to spare. 

Multiple players were dismissed attempting sweep or reverse-sweep shots, with skipper Pat Cummins and Steve Smith playing extremely ordinary shots given their level of experience and the situation. 

Speaking to the media after the loss, McDonald opened up on his disappointment regarding the huge turnaround after putting themselves in a commanding position.

MORE: Pat Cummins laments tactical downfalls in Delhi defeat

“We got ourselves into a really strong position and felt like we were controlling the game,” he said.

“To go out there and pretty much throw the game away in an hour is really disappointing.

“We’ve got to be better than that, that’s the bottom line and we’ve got to own it.

“We’re not here to shy away from the fact it wasn’t good enough.”

The series went from bad to worse on Monday, with Cummins set to head home due to personal reasons, while fellow quick Josh Hazlewood has been ruled out for the series.

David Warner is also under an injury cloud and may return to Australia, after a short-ball barrage from the Indian quicks left him with a concussion and an elbow issue.

But the issues for the Aussies stem from their lack of composure at the crease and straying away from their game plans, which McDonald admitted was a concern during an interview with SEN Radio.

“I think it will take a little bit more than 24 hours to get your head around it, it happened awfully quick,” he said.

“Frantic is probably the word [to describe it]…it felt like we were sort of rushing towards a total, we were in a really strong position at 2-85 and driving the game.

“As happens in the sub-continent, you give an inch and they’ll take a mile. They got a little opening and they drove it to their advantage.

“We don’t necessarily have team batting plans, it’s more individual batting plans. You’ll hear us talking about method and how individuals go about it, so to say it was a team plan to go out there and play that way would be false. 

“Michael De Venuto and the coaches do a fantastic job in gearing up the individuals for the way they want to play. I think a few players got away from what makes them really good players in that moment.

“Was it pressure or was it perceived pressure…it’ll be a combination of factors, but ultimately there were some poor decisions in that batting unit and we have to own that.

“There’s always a balance between attack and defence, we saw Usman Khawaja in the first innings go on the attack and was quite successful and got the game in our control using sweeps and reverse sweeps.

“Then on the flip side of that, for some of the batters who are good sweepers to be criticised for doing that, it’s a balance…probably got the balance wrong.”

Australia will have close to two weeks to prepare for the third Test in Indore, but will go into the clash with an unassailable 2-0 deficit that will see the Indian side retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. 

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