Australia head coach Justin Langer said he was disappointed that the four points docked from them during the second Test of their series against India turned out to be crucial in Australia missing out on a place in the World Test Championship (WTC) final.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) had fined Australia 40 per cent of their match fee and docked four WTC points due to their slow over rate on the third day of the Boxing Day Test which they lost to India by eight wickets in December. They went on to lose the series 2-1.
“We’ve played some great cricket. Losing to India at home that was really disappointing, but we got docked two points for a slow over rate, and that cost us,” Langer told SEN Radio.
“That’s how close it was and how often do you get docked points in Test cricket these days? Rarely. We have that in our control, that’s an attitudinal thing, at the time we probably thought ‘oh it’s not that big a deal’, but that cost us the WTC after what had been two really good years when we were ranked No. 1 again. The things we can control we have to control, and we can’t for a second relax in Test cricket,” he further said.
Australia trail New Zealand by just two percentage points in the WTC table and would have still remained in contention despite the defeat to India had it not been for the four points that were docked. Langer said that it was “real slack” on the team’s behalf.
“Our manager Gavin Dovey had gone home … for Christmas with his family in England, and it wasn’t until after the game that we realised our over rate was down. That’s really slack on our behalf, but I remember we were in the team room afterwards and I spoke to Painey and Dene Hills, our analyst, about it. I was a bit grumpy about it and I thought ‘imagine if this cost us the World Test Championship’,” said Langer.
“And I mentioned it to the players afterwards that two overs down could cost us the World Test Championship. And so, we have to get better at that and make sure it doesn’t happen in Sydney and Brisbane. It didn’t, but we also couldn’t bowl out India twice and we didn’t make enough runs. It was relevant at the time, and it certainly became incredibly significant over the weekend,” he said.
Australia would have still had another shot at making the cut in the two away series against Bangladesh and South Africa. However, the two series never got underway because of complications related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It’s disappointing for a couple of reasons – one we didn’t get to play in South Africa to have another crack at it after the India series and it’s disappointing for me because this Test Championship goes over a couple of years, we were in the box seat for a lot of it,” Langer said.