Samir Chopra has an excellent post on why this latest defeat — India’s sixth in a row overseas — hurts:
But the problem is that even that minor comfort of disastrous novelty is not present in the current circumstances. For the Indian loss at SCG was made singlularly rank by the utter familiarity of it all: India are playing overseas; when their batsmen bat, the pitch turns green and hilly; when the opposition bats, a squad of alert groundsmen runs out, flattens the pitch and mows the grass; when India bat again, the gremlins take up their usual positions underneath the pitch…
What gets my goat is that I just don’t know why any of this is happening. I don’t mean that in the way of a victim of sudden misfortune; I mean there is no evidence to explain why such talented and in-form batsmen (like Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman) aren’t scoring. Apart from Gambhir’s noodling, I haven’t seen anything from the middle order that screams fault or failure. Over at A Cricketing View, Kartikeya explains the slump all has to do with the off-stump and how well the Australian bowlers have built pressure by hunting in a pack in that area. O.K., but how is it that a team that was able to stare down a much more attacking and well-respected line-up in 2003 (and even 2008) fail to do so again here?
So what do you do? Some people will inevitably point to age and grumble about the lethargic fielding. That needs to be qualified, given Dravid’s (and Ponting’s and Kallis’) recent efforts. And yes, these old folks aren’t stellar in the field, but I seriously doubt Jonty Rhodes or Paul Collingwood would have changed anything on Days 2 and 3 at the SCG. Hence my despair: given the record, given the evident form…why is this happening?