Australian coach Justin Langer says his team will begin the process of reviewing its shock series loss to India, admitting he and the side are “hurting” after the result at the Gabba.
- Justin Langer said Rishabh Pant’s match-winning innings for India reminded him of Ben Stokes’ efforts at Headlingley
- Langer said he had no regrets in picking the same bowling foursome for each of the four Tests
- The Australian coach identified poor opening partnerships and a lack of middle order runs as the greater problems during the series
Langer also admitted Rishabh Pant’s match-winning rampage triggered an unpleasant sense of deja vu, taking him back to Ben Stokes’s masterful chase in 2019.
Pant secured India a 2-1 series victory at the Gabba by reeling in a target of 328, making a mockery of the hosts’ star-studded attack on a day-five pitch.
It was the highest successful chase from 63 Tests at the venue, snapping Australia’s undefeated streak in Brisbane that stretched back to 1988.
Pant finished 89 not out, keeping calm amid a chaotic finish.
The parallels with Stokes’s unbeaten ton at Headingley, which dragged his side past 359 and completed England’s highest ever chase, were not lost on Langer.
“Pant’s innings reminded me a bit about Ben Stokes at Headingley,” Langer said.
“So what can we get better at? Maybe how we approach left handers who come and take it back at us.”
For the second straight Test, Australia’s highly regarded bowling attack failed to bowl India out on the final day of a Test to claim victory, with Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc particularly ineffectual with the ball.
But Langer said he had no regrets about sticking with the same foursome throughout the series.
“I’m really proud of the fact that those four guys, they all stood up for the whole series,” he said.
“I would have been a brave man coming into this Gabba Test match and not selecting those four bowlers. I mean, would you have?
“Tell me who you wouldn’t have picked — Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc or Nathan Lyon? With the series on the line, which one wouldn’t I have picked?
“I would have picked them every single day.”
Langer said the team’s greater problems came with the bat, especially at the top of the order which saw several opening partnerships trialled with little success.
“Ultimately our opening partnerships throughout the summer [were a problem],” he said.
“You can imagine how passionate I am about opening partnerships and the top. Marnus [Labuschagne] has done a good job at three, Steve [Smith] came good in the end at number four, but we didn’t nail our opening partnerships.
“Our middle order got a lot of starts, all the things that are so obvious, but we just need to find reasons why it’s happening.”
Despite remaining characteristically upbeat, Langer admitted the team was bitterly disappointed to have lost the series in such a manner.
“It’s been a tough series,” he said.
“We’ll be thinking the same thing as everyone else … I can’t tell you how much it will hurt the 11 guys.
“There’s been a lot of mud thrown at our Australian cricket team, but we’ll learn from it and get better.”