Sydney: Former Australia batsman Dean Jones has called for a radical shift in the way Australian batsmen play spin after yet another humiliating Test defeat in Asia, suggesting that they practice facing spin bowling without pads to teach them to play with their bat in front of their leg.
Pakistan beat Australia by 221 runs to win the first Test in Dubai Sunday and take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series. Set an imposing target of 438 runs, Australia were bowled out for 216 in their second innings, succumbing to the spin threat of Zulfiqar Babar (5-74) and debutant Yasir Shah (4-50).
The Australians lost 15 wickets to spin in the Test, and a repeat in the second and final Test, starting Thursday in Abu Dhabi, would be a huge impediment to the visitors levelling the series.
"If I was 'Boof' (coach Darren Lehmann) now, I'd be asking the boys to practice with no pads to spinners in the nets, I'll allow thigh pads," Jones was quoted as saying by Sydney Morning Herald Monday.
Jones is regarded as one of Australia's finest players of spin in the 1980s and 90s and made a famous double century in the tied Test in Chennai in 1986.
"We have a tendency to lunge with our foot first and then our hands. These guys (Pakistan) get their head and their hands at the ball. We have a tendency to go head, foot, hands. They've got to get their hands in front of the pad.
"The Indians, who are the best players, go head, hands with the ball. They keep their feet out of it. They back themselves on hitting the ball and not using the pads."
Jones said this bat-first technique would work in Asian pitches where the bounce of the ball after pitching is traditionally low.
"It's completely different. We're the English way, with bat and pad together, and that works at home to counteract the bounce. Here, it doesn't bounce that much," he said.
Sunday's loss was Australia's ninth defeat in Asia in the last 14 Tests, having lost eight to India since 2008. Their only win came in Sri Lanka in 2011.
Jones' advice is similar to a tip batting great Rahul Dravid gave Kevin Pietersen on how to tackle spinners.
Jones, now a commentator for a local broadcaster, said the Dubai pitch was no "spitting cobra" and accused the Australians of being in denial regarding their frailties against spin.
"The thing that worries me the most is not one of the guys has really been bowled out properly. We've missed straight ones; it's not what we call spitting cobras and being caught off gloves and at first slip. There hasn't been any of that," the 53-year-old said.