The Australian rain dance was a success
With a third test loss inevitable, all those around Australia conducted a rain dance at the end of day 3 to stop the bleeding and to keep the series score at a respectable 2-1. But was this loss respectable? Does the draw paper over the cracks? Yes, in every sense of the word. Just an hour was played in the final two days, with day 5 being completely washed out without a ball bowled probably saved us from the embarrassment of losing by an innings and then some. Allowing India to hit over 600 runs on our home deck was embarrassing in itself, and to scrape to 300 in our first innings in similar conditions was deplorable. As we will explore later in the article, the rain may have kept the scoreline at 2-1, but we all know we are in deep trouble.
India are in good stead with bat and ball
How good is it when you can bring in players who have limited test experience, and they do a job for you like an experienced veteran? Despite having their own batting issues earlier in the series, the debut of Mayank Agarwal and his first innings in the first session of Boxing Day was something that will go down as one of the crucial innings leading to India’s series win. A five wicket haul from Kuldeep Yadav meant that the absence of Ishant Sharma was virtually non-existent, and how about Jadeja’s contribution with the bat and ball once he came into the side? When Ravi Ashwin left the lineup after the first test, it seemed as if the series could have been placed right into Australia’s hands. India have depth, something Australia certainly do not. To come here in these conditions and play the way they did is testament to the mentality and the depth India have. Virat Kohli’s sly dig to Cricket Australia in his victory speech after the Boxing Day test, thanking the selectors and the cricketing board back home for the way cricket is run in his country, is something Australia need to take offence to.
Marcus Harris is probably the only shining light
In a series where no tonnes were made, and there were no wickets through LBW for a quick, it really was a bad one with both the bat and the ball. The only real positive besides Pat Cummins proving himself to be more valuable to the side than ever before, was the emergence of Marcus Harris. Despite never cracking the ton, two great scores and a few starts with the pace attack of India performing extremely well, will cement his spot in the side you would think until the Ashes. He showed maturity, great technique and the temperament that comes with playing test cricket. Even being in the helmet a few times from a couple of solid bouncers wouldn’t get Harris down – with his patience something all Australians got around over the series. His opening partner in the coming tests? It’s anyone’s guess.
This could begin another dark time for Australian cricket
With 58 test debuts handed out between now and 2008, the test struggles that we have at the moment may indeed set us up for failure for long into the future. Anybody who thinks Steve Smith and Dave Warner are going to come in and fix everything are just plain naive. We now face England in the Ashes after a two game series against Sri Lanka, where I can’t see us winning a test. A rain affected draw like this Sydney test, maybe. A likely 4-0 or 5-0 drubbing at the hands of the English will set us back further than we could have ever expected. To put our 2-1 (3-1 in reality) loss in perspective, England beat India 4-1 in England. We may be in some trouble here.
We can still beat Sri Lanka?
But before we travel overseas, a Sri Lanka side who have never really had the wood over us will come down under to try and defeat us. They couldn’t get us at a better time. Since beating South Africa at home in July, they have had a tough time in all forms of the game. Confidence may be low, but similarly to India, there’s no doubt that their mentality will be one of no fear. Realistically, even with our depleted and poor side, we should still be beating Sri Lanka on our home deck – but who knows? Expect many changes to be made from this test to that one.
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