The battle for test top spot

Obviously there has been two major test match results over the last 24 hours, not surprisingly England beat Australia, that game was all over after Day 1 really. But down in South Africa there is a real contest is taking place and with India winning the 2nd test to level the series, it has just got really exciting.

Although India are rightly ranked at No.1, there are some doubters out there. To really put the argument to bed they have to go and win (or not lose) test series in places like South Africa and England.

India showed real character and fighting spirit to beat South Africa after losing the toss and having to bat first against Steyn and Morkel in testing conditions, especially after what happened at Centurion last week.

It was no great surprise to see VVS Laxman take the Man of the Match honours, I wrote on Tuesday that if India win the match it would mainly be down to his outstanding contribution.

These are the sort of results teams need to grind out if they want to be Number 1. The obvious problem India have though, is that Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman can’t go on forever. Maybe Dravid could go sooner than the other two, but VVS and Sachin will be impossible to replace.

While India are probably at their peak at the moment. South Africa and England are steadily improving teams with plenty of young talent in them. England’s win over Australia might not have been a surprise to a lot of people, but I think the manner of the victories has been.

England have retained the Ashes with plenty to spare, the pool of talent that the selectors currently have was proven by Stuart Broad’s injury, he hasn’t even been missed. We also have the worlds best player in the dressing room clogging up our batting line up, so there is room for improvement there too.

If England can kick on and build on this success, then there is exciting times ahead, hopefully starting in Sydney next week. It would be a major injustice if Australia win that test and level a series that they have been hammered in. It would also send out a powerful message if England can be ruthless and really put Australia to the sword.

Although I do hope that Australia can become competitive again after Sydney despite currently loving their demise. As a test cricket fan, I think the game is all the better with a strong, competitive Australia.

South Africa also have a relatively young side along with a wealth of experience, it looks to be a very good blend. I get the feeling watching them, that they have got better days ahead as well. They have a strong batting line up and in Steyn and Morkel a decent bowling attack, if they can find some bowlers to complement those two, they really will be a force to be reckoned with.

It will be interesting to see how the 3rd test goes in Cape Town next week, as will the England V India series next summer. At the moment India are top dogs, but with an ageing batting line up and two younger and hungry sides chasing them, it promises to be an exciting battle over the next couple of years for test match supremacy.

5 thoughts on “The battle for test top spot

  1. Anonymous says:

    “At the moment India are top dogs, but with an ageing batting line up and two younger and hungry sides chasing them, it promises to be an exciting battle over the next couple of years for test match supremacy.”

    Completely agree. India’s batting is close to its peak right now…only the No.6 spot can get stronger as Pujara gains experience. But 2-3 years down the road…with probably no Dravid , Laxman or Tendulkar, India will not be the same batting force. Fortunately, the bowling can get stronger as Sreesanth, Ishant and Ojha have room to grow, while Harbhajan and Zaheer still have many years to go.

    So I too feel that based on currently visible talent and average team age, SA and England might be the top 2 sides in 2 years time, if not sooner.

    For now though…I’m glad India are #1! And that the top 4-5 sides are actually very closely matched.

    -BP

  2. Thats true, the top 5 sides are quite closly matched, I don’t think the Aussies are as bad as they are currently being portrayed, yes they have been awful against England, but just a few weeks back they were running India close.

    A team can’t change that much in such a short space of time.

    I know that it is almost impossible to replace Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman. But have India got any top quality youngsters coming through?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Yup…I agree on the Aussies…they’ve really not done justice to themselves in this series. Though of course, credit to England for performing at a high level and relentlessly keeping them under pressure. I also think Australia really missed a fully fit Bollinger…their best bowler over the last 12 months… and Nathan Hauritz, who was so unfairly dumped given the latitude shown to North and Hussey. Although their batting would still have been crap I suppose! 🙂

    As for India, the 3 most likely replacements in the middle order will be Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and possibly a young 20-year old Manish Pandey. All 3 seem to have some good raw talent…and have done pretty well in 1st class cricket in the last year…but whether they possess the character, temperament and drive of the current Big 3 remains to be seen. And the ability to stay focused on cricket…in the face of fame and big money.

    But I remain optimistic that our batting will remain competitive…if not imposing…there’s just too big a talent pool in the country…and India remains a batting country! Meaning every kid dreams of becoming a Sachin, Sehwag or Laxman! 🙂

    -BP

  4. This is the Indian team I would love to see two years down the road:
    Sehwag-Gambhir-Pujara-Kohli-Rahane-Raina-Dhoni-Harbhajan-Zaheer-Ishant-Sreesanth
    If India want to remain number one for longer, it will be critical for them to persist with the likes of Rahane and Raina..and develop a good bench strength in the bowling…Otherwise, their reign will be short-lived after Sachin, Dravid and Laxman leave.

Comments are closed.