Australia’s inadequacies in playing spin in Asian conditions will take time and hard work to put right, Cricket Australia high performance chief Pat Howard said Tuesday.
Captain Michael Clarke admitted his team had not learned their lesson against spin after crashing to their sixth straight loss on the sub-continent against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates on Monday.
Pakistan inflicted a 356-run defeat in the second Test in Abu Dhabi — Australia’s third heaviest loss in all matches — to take the two-match series 2-0.
Howard said moves were in place to rectify the problem with spin pitches installed at CA’s Aus$29 million ($25 million) training facility in Brisbane.
He added that CA would continue to use external spin consultants, such as Sri Lanka great Muttiah Muralitharan, and undertake developmental sub-continent tours that expose Test candidates to the foreign playing conditions at an early age.
“All of those things will bring about improvement, but in no way are they an overnight solution,” Howard said. “It will take time and hard work.”
Australia were embarrassed by Pakistan, struggling to bat on the same pitches that were made to look easy by their hosts, who have been forced to play all “home” matches on neutral turf since the 2009 Lahore terrorist attacks.
Australia have now lost 10 Tests out of their last 15 in Asia since 2008, winning just one against Sri Lanka and drawing the remaining four.
“To be a great side, we have to be able to win consistently on the road and it’s clear that we still struggle to cope with dry sub-continental conditions,” Howard said.
The Australians were routed 4-0 in a series in India early last year.
“We’re not looking for excuses for what happened … no one is blaming a coin toss or the pitches,” he added.
“Batting, bowling and fielding were well below par.”
Former Test captain Allan Border told News Corporation newspapers the sub-continent struggles warranted a formal review, similar to that conducted into Australia’s team performance in 2011, but CA said this was not likely.
Howard said the batting performances of David Warner, Steve Smith and Mitch Marsh were some of the “very few positives” to take from the series against Pakistan.
“Given they’ve all got long careers in front of them, they have showed that they can succeed in those conditions,” he said.
Australia can still reclaim the top ICC Test ranking if they defeat India 3-0 or 4-0 in the December-January four-Test series at home.