Anorak News | Good As Gold

Good As Gold

by | 16th, May 2003

‘FOR the second time in the space of six months, the Australians have failed at the final hurdle to register a whitewash series victory against one of their oldest rivals.

”And this stump’s for Darren Lehman…”

In Sydney, they were outplayed for pretty well the whole game by an England side inspired by the batting of Michael Vaughan and the absence of Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath.

In Antigua, the West Indies overhauled a record fourth innings total to complete a remarkable Test win and salvage some pride from the series.

Is it a coincidence that Australia seem so often to fail in the last match of a dead series?

History suggests not – which is good and bad news for the teams trying to bridge the gap between Steve Waugh’s team and the rest of the world.

The most favourable interpretation suggests that the difference between Australia and the rest is not actually as great as it seems.

Even the Aussies cannot win Test matches playing at anything less than 100% intensity – and they do not always respond when under pressure.

The less favourable interpretation holds that the Aussies can always raise their game when they really need to.

It is only in dead rubbers – like the ones in Sydney and Antigua – that they are vulnerable.

Before the West Indies get carried away by this lone success, it is worth looking at the difference between the two sides over the series.

For Australia, all six top-order batsmen averaged comfortably over 50, with Ricky Ponting averaging 130 and Steve Waugh and Adam Gilchrist averaging over 70.

For the West Indies, only Brian Lara and Omari Banks averaged over 50.

Five Australian bowlers averaged under 40; only one West Indian did.

It is always great to see the Australians beaten and it is good to see the West Indies showing their mettle again, but one Test hasn’t changed too much.

All we do know is that, good as they are, this Australian side is made of the same flesh as the rest of us. They are not invincible.

Posted: 16th, May 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink