Are Australia in the midst of an unbelievable run and playing above themselves, or are they the real deal? I suppose we will find out over the next two test matches.
Personally I think that they just have the best cricketer in the world on current form, and that Mitchell Johnson is just simply unplayable at the moment.
That aside, and I’m not yet convinced Australia are the real deal for a couple of reasons.
First, the batting isn’t good enough (thankfully for everyone else). They aren’t scoring big runs in the 1st innings. They are scoring decent totals, but they are not batting the opposition out of the game. They don’t seem to have the strongest batting line up in the world, only Michael Clarke is world class.
They are a decent unit though, who are scoring competitive totals and then relying on a bloke to blitz the opposition batsmen.
Second, I haven’t seen them properly tested yet. All of the last six tests have been pretty much the same, apart from England at Melbourne.
Melbourne was the only time Australia went into the second innings in arrears, and in fairness they came through that quite easily in the end. By that time though, England had gone, they were a spent force.
The question I would like to see answered now is, what will happen if South Africa bat first and score 400 runs?
Will the Aussies stand up and be counted, or will they wilt? They hammered England, but have only beat South Africa once (so far). If South Africa can put up a better showing in the 2nd Test, we will get the chance to see if Australia are the real deal.
If South Africa can hold off Mitchell Johnson and put runs on the board, I’d love to see how Australia will approach batting.
David Warner has been destructive when batting in the 2nd innings with a big lead, but in the 1st innings (even against England), he has struggled to construct an innings.
His last 6 test matches have seen scores of 49, 29, 60, 9, 16, 12, in the 1st innings, and scores of 124, 83no, 112, 25, 16, 115, in his 2nd innings.
In all but the Melbourne Test match, Australia have gone into their 2nd innings with a large lead, allowing them – and Warner in particular – to play a far more attacking game (which they look far more comfortable with), and bat the opposition out of the match, and more importantly, leaving themselves ample time to bowl the opposition out for the 2nd time….. not that they need much time with the form Mitchell Johnson is in.
They have won 5 out of the last 6 Test matches following that formula. What will happen when that formula changes? Or is it simply the case, that no team is able to change the formula, that Australia are too good?
If they come through a proper test with flying colours, I may change my mind, but at the moment I am not convinced.
In fairness to Australia, and in particular to the David Warner stats I highlighted, they seem more bothered with what a bloke can do, rather than what he cannot do. For example, if Warner isn’t patient enough to construct a Test innings in the 1st innings, but can bat a team out of the Test match in the 2nd innings, then Darren Lehmann and co seem more than happy with that.
England could do well to follow that example with someone like Eoin Morgan, instead of pigeon holing him as an ODI player, who – apparently – can’t play Test cricket.
The bookies have Australia as favourites for the 2nd Test, they are currently a best price of 7/4 with William Hill. The Draw is 2/1 with Ladbrokes, and South Africa are 21/10 with Boylesports.
Please don’t read this article and think I don’t think Australia are any good, as that is not the case. I just want to see them – and their game plan – properly tested, and then we will see if they really are the real deal.