Unless Australia can find real, bonafide options for positions four to seven – minus wherever Clarke bats – it's all looking rather Down Under for them, at least for the time being.
Australian players didn't play enough balls on the field or show enough off it. They let down not only their countrymen but also fans in India who have grown up admiring the Australian Way: tough, spirited, and overflowing with self-confidence.
As a key member of the Delhi Daredevils in the IPL for the past 5 seasons, Kotla is home to Warner, it is a ground he knows almost as well as Virat or Ishant.
It's even more difficult, one can safely imagine, for an already established and one-time successful player to watch on from the outside as his mates do battle in the middle. Harbhajan Singh must surely be reflecting back on the times when he was the young turk and, when India played overseas, he was the preferred spinner, even ahead of Anil Kumble.
Every single day, right up until those manically scampered winning leg-byes in the post lunch session on Day 5, was balanced on a knife's edge. For the final 3.2 overs of India's second innings, after Ishant Sharma had become the ninth wicket to fall, it was literally a one-ball game.
When a team is doing well, nothing succeeds like success. Nothing succeeds like failure too, as the Indians discovered in Australia and their rivals are discovering in India now. The emergence of a bunch of exciting players in one team has to be seen against the background of poor player management and the mental disintegration – ironically a phrase favoured by former captain Steve Waugh – of the other.
This was in stark contrast with India. Yuvraj and Mohammad Kaif, as well as Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh, or even Laxmi Ratan Shukla, had all been fast-tracked into the Indian team after their Under-19 success – as Irfan Pathan, Virat Kohli and others would be later. Part of my job as an Indian cricket journalist, obviously, was to spot future stars. Needless to say, with his headline-grabbing performances, Dhawan topped that list.
Some of those men were also brilliant fielders. Border had a superb throw, Warne had great hands in the slips and Boon pouched some stunners at short leg. As long as your shape doesn't noticeably impact on your on-field performance, it shouldn't be an issue. There are several young players who spend inordinate amounts of time in the gym, with little to show for it in terms of athletic or fielding prowess.
Australia have been a team in transition for a while now, and it has been fascinating watching them begin to get their act together under Clarke. From being in transition to disintegrating on a tour of India has been a startling change. The cliche 'can't bat, can't bowl, can't catch' has been extended with the addition of 'can't think'.
A little later, however, is the bit that resonated the most personally. With Dent finding himself at Lord's and in possession of a cricket ball, he feels the irresistible urge to bowl one ball in the centre. The decision taken, Dent stands at the top of his run-up and, as Adams writes, "He was going to do this properly." The ball is polished against his hip, spat on, tossed lightly from one hand to the next, and the ground pawed before he runs in.
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