Saturday, November 1, 2008

3rd Test 4th day report

OK, interesting.

Australia made 577 in respone to India's 613/7 declared, India are 43/2 at stumps on the 4th day and lead by 79 with a day to play.

This has been a massive couple of days for Australian cricket. And I have to say that I'm impressed. We got done in Mohali - absolutely destroyed, if truth be told - and after conceding 613 in the first innings every non-Australian cricket journalist was pulling out the old "end of an era for Australian dominance" chestnut.

But we stood up. We not only avoided the follow-on, but we actually challenged the Indian total - were it not for my mozz in Tony's comments (scroll down to about a third of the way down), we could have passed it. And we did it not by dominating, but by grinding out a total. We batted as a team, no-one came to our rescue particularly (there's an argument for Michael Clarke there, but he didn't score that many more than Ponting or Hayden), we made good partnerships, and everyone contributed. What more can you ask for? Now we're actually in a position where we have not only saved the game, but we're the only team that can win it, too. At the end of Day 2 no-one would have expected that to happen. This is a fantastic result for a side that have been on the back foot for just about nine straight days of Test cricket, and a massive psychological achievement in the context of the rest of the series. Save this one? We can still draw the series and retain the trophy. Even if we only draw the next match, a series loss of 1-0 to India on their own turf for a side without a full-time spinner is pretty decent going.

There's no question that we are not as good a side as we were a few years ago. The likes of White, Haddin, Johnson and Watson just do not stack up against names like McGrath, Warne, Gilchrist and Langer. But performances like this show that there's no reason to expect it all to come crashing down any time soon. I have every confidence that we will continue to be very hard to beat, and a very tough, professional unit. We will continue to win matches any other side would draw, and we will continue to draw matches we should really be losing. We're not going to be as spectacular, but we're still going to win more often than not, have no doubt.

And that's the way I like it.

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