Australians are sitting ducks, says Shastri

Australian batsmen have been described as sitting ducks by former Indian captain Ravi Shastri.

Shastri, speaking even before Tuesday's farce, described the tourists' experience in this series as a ''nightmare''.

''This could well turn out to be one of the weakest Australian sides to have visited this part of the world. The visitors are in disarray,'' Shastri said.

''The top order is woefully ill-equipped to play spin. Ugly sweeps and hoicks are taking them nowhere.

''They can't bring themselves to leave the crease and, without it, they are no better than sitting ducks.''

Humbled and hurting, Australia's players will be given a break to clear to their heads and go their separate ways before the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series resumes in India's north next week.

Australia's embarrassing capitulation on Tuesday morning was the low point of a grim campaign in the subcontinent. A huge defeat, by an innings and 135 runs, leaves the visitors 2-0 down in the series and bereft of answers.

The third Test does not begin in Mohali until Thursday week and the team will take a break, of two or three days, from training and team commitments.

It was a strategy employed by the squad captained by Adam Gilchrist in 2004 that became the only Australian team to win a series in India in the past 40 years. That team, however, entered the week-long gap between the second and third Tests holding a 1-0 lead, a far cry from the grim situation Michael Clarke's side is in.

''Steve Waugh had said the conditions in India could be draining and taxing, physically and mentally,'' Gilchrist told Indian media. ''What we did during that series was give ourselves a week off …

''Some of the guys went to Doha for a beach holiday, some flew to Mumbai. Whatever it was, the idea was to get some free time and stay away from each other and away from cricket. And then we came back together, re-energised for the third Test in Nagpur. And it showed in the way we played. We were fresh in Nagpur and it seemed like a new tour.''

Whatever is decided now in this regard, it is clear there is much work to be done in the practice nets between now and next week. It has already begun. Less than an hour after their defeat on Tuesday, the Australians were back in the middle of Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, bats and balls in hand, training.

''We've got nine days to do everything in our power to get better,'' Michael Clarke said.

''It's OK to go to training and say I practised today, but if you don't go there with a plan, with a goal of trying to improve, it's a waste of time. It's not necessarily about quantity, it's about quality.''

This story Australians are sitting ducks, says Shastri first appeared on Canberra Times.