Posts Tagged ‘Sydney Cricket Ground’

Chandrasekhar Jayaramakrishnan

So we enter another chapter of the Gregorian calendar with the Australian team poised to enter the Sydney Test with as much optimism as confidence, given that their young bowling attack is not only steering the visitors’ batting out of Aussie shores, but loving the challenge of it. It is the quality that distinguishes great teams from other mortals – teams that possess enough ammo to grab twenty wickets consistently.

Even during tough times, especially after defeats to South Africa and New Zealand, there seemed a resilience and determination that promised perseverance. And the Boxing Day Test wrapped up those beliefs, although cynics would argue that the result of the first test had more to do with India’s self-aggrandizing interests, and some dreadful decision making. No wonder ‘Pigeon’ McGrath’s crystal balls predict a 4-0 whitewash this Australian summer, albeit his share of grossly incorrect predictions in the recent past.

It only seemed logical that Michael Clarke decided to stick with the same eleven he fielded in Melbourne, given that a four man pace attack on a Sydney wicket would not only break tradition, but deprive Nathan Lyon to execute his reworked methods based on the learning imparted during the first test. Given that he, by far, looks the most likely of spinners from Australian soil to pick up wickets consistently in the big stage, the petulance of an average outing against the Indians can be excused knowing that even the great Shane Warne didn’t have his share of success.

Australia’s batting, on the other hand, still has a few significant question marks that require addressing. Cowan’s grit in the first innings, Ponting’s flashes of brilliance, and Hussey’s determined second innings knocks, coupled with strong performances with the bat from the tail, aren’t strong enough to support the batting foundation that has enough to claim bragging rights. You would have been forgiven for thinking that Marsh probably didn’t play the Test. To rely on to old veterans to steer the ship isn’t a great sign for the future – an issue that even the visitors are facing in parallel.

Clarke will need to score runs to ease the burden on the ageing Ponting and Hussey © TopNews

Skipper Clarke’s magic with the ball at the SCG Test towards the end of Day Five last tour brought one of the more controversial Tests to have ever been played to a nail-biting finish. Given that his contribution with the bat would hold more value in a lineup that clearly lacks experience and numbers, excepting the two veterans, his quasi-purple patch of late will demand more runs from his willow. As would Brad Haddin’s contribution with the bat – although Tim Paine, touted to be the next in line for the job behind the wickets, is out injured.

The Aussie public, without doubt, will be relishing the prospect of witnessing an eleven with the currently injured Cummins and all rounder Shane Watson, whose potential slot in the batting order is a matter of endless debate. But that is a discussion for another day. Meanwhile, the likes of the ‘stop-gap’ members would well bring out performances to ensure that they don’t find themselves in the shoes of the promising Hughes and Khawaja.

One can only hope that this year’s Sydney test is a lot more exciting, and a lot less controversial than its own course of events last tour.

You can read the match preview from the Indian perspective here