Australia may be basking in glory, but what awaits the subcontinent will be a far more formidable force, having lost just one home series in the last 30 home series. So how can we beat India?
Australia drew a test but learned a valuable lesson for an Indian tour where audacity must start in the selection room.
Sometimes you have to risk something to earn something.
It may not have changed the outcome but Australia could have used an extra pace bowler (Scott Boland) at the SCG which would have meant softening the punch a bit by promoting Alex Carey to sixth.
Beating the goalkeeper at six is a move Australia have been reluctant to make for more than 100 years, but it’s a concession that makes sense on occasion.
The Selectors had a fine summer and this is more of a blot than a black blot, but it was a timely reminder that they must be ready to roll the dice if they are to beat India.
India’s record of losing just one of their last 30 home series is staggering. Not only does India usually win home series, they rarely lose a test these days.
They’ve only lost two Tests in their last 15 series – one against Australia – but this Aussie team is good enough to shake up the series vigorously.
If Cameron Green is available, the test site pretty much chooses itself.
But if his broken finger keeps him out of early Tests, Carey should go up to six and Australia should bowl five.
This Sydney test – like unfortunately so many Sydney tests – was a mind-numbing affair. Rain and deck flatness won—again.
Australia may finally have the team to beat India. Not because they have a snarling tiger, but because they don’t have one.
Veteran journalist Bharat Sundaresan feels this Aussie team has the right attitude to compete with India.
“It’s actually a bonus for Australia that they’re such a nice team,” said Sundaresan.
“India never lose if someone upsets them at home. You’re unbeatable when that happens, but I don’t see anyone doing that this time.”
True, when Australia were beaten 2-1 by India in 2017 they lost a series and a war, with Virat Kohli enjoying his role as an antagonist on and off the field in several clashes with Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell.
Despite hitting poorly, Kolhi got the crowd and his teammates in high spirits.
Calm and relentless is Pat Cummins’ team motto and it will certainly help ensure nobody poke the bear in India.
Hopes were high that the SCG deck would be a recreation of the fierce gymnasts that Australia might face at venues like Nagpur.
But it never quite arrived. Had it been a real five-day game, things might have gone differently.
The biggest myth in Australian cricket is that Sydney is a true spinner deck. That may have been the case in the 1980s, but it’s not the case now.
In the 1970s, spinners at SCG averaged 26 per Test wicket and over the four decades that number rose to 31, then 35 and 39 and 50 between 2010 and 2020.
This summer, despite all the bells and whistles, was nothing more than a starter before the main course from India to India and England to England.
Australia have only won once in India since 1969, but this time they have a real chance.
Big Bash Revival: And now for the real game changer
As Australia prepares to grind South Africa to dust and despair, a one-sided summer of testing has left the game with plenty to think about.
Well-trained and cool-run Australia deserves everything it gets, and this year’s test tours of India and England promise some of the biggest competition we’ve seen since the 2005 Ashes tour.
But before we move on, let’s highlight areas the game can learn from, like…
THE DIM VIEW
Cricket must learn to put the fan first. The game just isn’t hard enough on its own.
Covers that do not cover completely. Light meters who have trouble reading artificial light. It’s embarrassing.
Allan Border often says that there hasn’t been a single time in his career, when he ran away from bad light, that he couldn’t have stayed on the ground and kept playing. Not much has changed.
It’s true, pink balls need to be engineered for tryouts, but let’s not make this a quest for perfection. They won’t be as good as red balls, but give them a whirl. The game robs its fans.
As great as Australia have been, it’s just alarming to see South Africa play so poorly.
The once-great nation has committed to just 28 tests over the next four years lest they get worse before they get better…if they ever do.
The Proteas are taking the T20 cue ball route, looking for enough money to fund their survival.
It is sad. Test cricket must be more than Australia, England and India playing each other.
The game must do whatever it takes to help the struggling Test nations stay competitive.
BIGGER AND BETTER
The Big Bash is showing strong signs of a revival after a few years of weakness.
The number of spectators is high, the ratings are good, the games are balanced and the interest is high.
It’s time to reinforce that progress with a clause in Cricket Australia’s new contracts insisting players take part. This is the case with most player contracts from other nations.
Big series like Australia-South Africa should have an eternal trophy with a famous name.
It’s not good enough for Pat Cummins to be presented with the untitled “cheeseboard” after Sunday’s game.
We like the thought of the McGrath-Donald Trophy after Glenn McGrath and Allan Donald, who used to try to hit each other’s milestones and became great friends.
Australia simply slaughtered South Africa’s attack this summer, but it must still remain alert for new Test batsmen.
The extraordinary trio of Steve Smith, Usman Khawaja and David Warner will soon be gone, and there are few standout options to replace them. Australia need to think hard about what formats suit their best young players.
THE UGLY DUCKLING
50+ internationals has become a format that looks old and stale. Hopefully next year’s 50th World Cup in India will rejuvenate the game’s unloved middle son. But don’t bet on it.
Fans aren’t stupid. They sense that the players don’t mind much and have caught this mood.
The bowler’s controversial ending should be accepted as an orthodox dismissal without any stigma whatsoever.
Batsmen have been repeatedly warned to remain in their court until the ball is released. It is not that hard. Just do it.
If they want to walk the tightrope and take a chance at stepping out of their fold, they deserve what they get.
Originally published as Robert Craddock: Why Selection Room Brav will be the Aussies’ trump card on the subcontinent
https://www.codesports.com.au/cricket/robert-craddock-seven-things-we-learnt-from-aussie-summer/news-story/fb7c5e89856b9050dbf978ae6ee1d776?nk=861f73dbf0ce2f2bd7e31dbcd35b9d8b-1673164988 Cricket 2023: Australia’s tour of India, secret weapon lies in the mindset