One the eve (more or less) of the important Test series between South Africa and Australia, there is a rare opportunity for Australia to take a sideways glance at a couple of other matches. Both of Australia’s recent combatants – India and New Zealand – are in action again. There are traps in measuring how you are travelling but looking at other matches but I think it is worthwhile.
Australia may be happy with flogging New Zealand. However, in a rain affected match, New Zealand barley kept the lowly West Indies at bay, at home. Then again, the West Indies were rescued by a freak innings from Windies number eight, Jerome Taylor. He made 106 and the hundred came from just 97 balls. Also note that the West Indies and New Zealand are doing decision challenges.
England and India are playing in India. India are set to snatch a remarkable victory needing just 30 runs to reach a target of 387, with six wickets in hand. Up until then, the Poms had not faired badly. Thanks to Strauss (123 and 108) who held both innings together, assisted by Collingwood (108) in the second innings, England posted two respectable totals. Something Australia struggled to do. In the first innings, the opening stand was 118 runs. Something Australia struggled to do. England dismissed India for just 241 in India’s first dig. Something Australia simply couldn’t do. England looks like they will not be able to dismiss India a second time and will lose the match. Australia did manage to do that. India were set up by a stunning Sehwag onslaught (83 from 68 balls) and everyone but Dravid has chipped in. For Dravid (3 & 4), the curtain must be about to fall.
Closer to home, Stuart Clark is out for the season and possibly the rest of his career. Bad for most Australians, except for one – the guy who takes his place. The word is that Krejza with play and I find that surprising. I’d prefer four quicks in Perth – I’m surprised that the selectors would give up the “horses for courses” policy just because Watson whinged. Or is that BECAUSE Watson whinged – it may be Watson who misses out.
The Test in Perth starts on Wednesday.