While England wallow in self pity and the Aussie’s celebrate their temporary elevation to a serious Test side, there is an interesting game of cricket taking place in South Africa.
Michael Clarke may well have talked about Australia becoming the No.1 team in world cricket again after deservedly reclaiming the Ashes, but I think if he can find the time to take a look at this series, he will realise he has little chance of achieving that with the XI players currently being used to hammer the hapless England with – that also shows just how far away England are!
Not wishing to take anything away from the Aussie victory, but they are a long way from taking on South Africa. And at the moment, India are building an exciting young team under Duncan Fletcher. I’m fairly sure Clarke realises this, and is talking about more of a long term aim with regard to becoming No.1 again, and this victory over England, is just a small part in that process.
And, Yes, I know Australia hammered India in OZ, but look what happened in the return series. Mickey Arthur, or not, I don’t see a different result to the 4-0. The point is, neither Australia or India are great travellers, and to be the No.1 side in the world, that is just one of the prerequisites required.
Moving on, and South Africa and India are probably the best two all round sides in world cricket today. South Africa have a settled, experienced, well drilled team, who are the best Test playing nation in world cricket by some distance in my view.
The Indian side is a young up and coming team. They are most probably the best limited overs team in the world, and are now building an exciting new Test team under Duncan Fletcher – now that all the old guard are gone.
This two match series in South Africa will give Fletcher the chance to measure his team, and see how they shape up against the world’s best.
Day 1 showed that India won’t be a push over. Virat Kohli stood up and was counted, and now has away centuries in both Australia and South Africa.
At 255/5, India aren’t exactly in a position of strength, but so far they haven’t capitulated. It will be interesting to see just how they get on in this series. They are notoriously bad travellers, and as they are away at the Test No.1 team in the world, I don’t expect them to get much from this series.
For me, it will be more interesting too see how India get on from a competitive point of view. If they can compete, and maybe leave South Africa with any kind of result, it could be classed as an achievement in my view.
Going into Day 2, and South Africa are not surprisingly still the favourites at 11/10. The Draw is 13/10, and India are 5/1. For any sports punters out there, www.nordicbet.com/ are currently offering a 100% first deposit bonus to new sign ups, up to a maximum of €100.
There is a bit of rain in the air, so that could work either way. Obviously there is the risk of losing time out of the game, but there is also the possibility of some good seam bowling conditions, so beware if trading the draw.