Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Australia goes all in... and loses!

The end of a long summer and India have never been fresher than ever. Instead of turning up in the airports as injured wrecks (both mentally and physically), they breeze into it like Gazelles ready for a race. Indeed the much touted tough land of Australia had been left whining while the Indians can chuckle.

From the most inauspicious of beginnings- a drubbing in the 1st test at Melbourne, and a heart-wrenching loss at Sydney that was scarred with controversies, they came back 180 degrees at Perth and made the Aussies tentative and hesitant to make moves in the 4th test and rounded off a great series. If not for the umpiring errors in the dreaded 2nd test, India could well have got a 1-1 or even a 2-1 result in their favor.

The Indians were considered tough opponents in tests- what with three consecutive series victories accompanied by Sachin, Sourav and Laxman stiking form, the emergence of Zaheer and RP Singh to form a strong pace attack, along with the evergreen Kumble's spin they always had a good chance to put up a fight.

But everyone knew that come the ODI series, and the Indians were in for a beating. After all, the Aussies had won the World Cup for the 3rd time in a row in the most facile manner just a few months before. And the fact that the T20 World Champions were crushed like peanuts by a Bulldozer at the one off T20 match at Melbourne didn't augur too well for India.

However, the fact that they came back strongly to finally pip Australia, actually beat them comprehensively in the Finals to win the gruelling CB Series was a fairy-tale turnaround.

India had a lot of positives to take from the tour- both from the tests and ODIs but sadly the Aussies were left with nothing but broken pride. In fact, they are now far from vulnerable- they are only as good as the next team (and by that I don't mean England or West Indies).

Lets look at what treasures the teams unearthed after this tour:

Australia: I'll start with Australia first as they have so little to show. Jacques flaws were exposed- he is a good batsman perhaps, but nowhere near Langer. His dream start of consecutive hundreds was cut short by a sobering slap into reality by the Indian bowling attack. Australia understood that replacing someone was going to be a tough job indeed. In fact, Jacques has so many batting errors that he might not actually fit the bill for an opener. He plays the horizontal bat shots well- the cut and the pull. But his sense of driving is not sound, and he definetely doesn't have the cool head of Langer.

With the loss of Gilchrist Australia find themselves having to rush Haddin into the Tests and ODIs which would be quite taxing on him. He wasn't particularly good in the series against India a few months back, and didnt get to play in the CB series. So he is an untested product.
With the loss of Hogg to retirement, and Mcgill to injury Australia find that hole left by Warne is biggest they would need to fill. Its so huge and gaping that you could send an elephant through it. And with indefinite suspension of Tait, Australia's bench strength doesn't look so strong as it seemed in the Sri Lankan tour.
Only Hopes seems a good prospect for the future, along with Johnson who is consistent. Lee is lethal, and perhaps the best bowler right now, but I wouldn't say he could be as deadly as Mcgrath. As for Bracken I cant think of him excelling in tests. His pace variation and cutters and smart bowling can only get him so far.

So suddenly, after all the raving about how the Australian domestic system produces the best players, and that Australian supremacy will last forever unless other nations adopt this domestic structure, we find that their bench strength is most thin!
So much for crying out loud! The heavier (in the head) they are, the harder they fall!

Part 2 follows- India unearthes riches.

1 comment:

Amaya said...

You write very well.