Action: fifth Test January 4, 2007

Where is Australia's fortress?

At the start of this series, there was much talk about Brisbane being Australia's fortress
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At the start of this series, there was much talk about Brisbane being Australia’s fortress. In mid-series, something similar was said about Perth. Both were right, but they didn’t tell the whole story. Australia’s fortress is … Australia.

Since the turn of the millennium, Australia’s record in home Tests looks like this: won 34, lost 2, drawn 7. So the 5-0 whitewash that only a miracle can now avert is merely a little better than par for the course. The only reason they haven’t done it more often is that most visiting teams play three Tests. Pakistan have lost their last six Tests in Australia; West Indies have lost their last eight. Only India and England have won one.

Australia’s average score at home, as a team, is 488; their opponents’ is 275. England’s average in this series is 274. Par for the course. Where England have flopped worse than other teams is with their bowling: Australia have romped to 520 per completed innings, helping themselves to an extra 32.

When the Aussies go abroad, they are still way ahead of the rest, but not by quite such a massive margin. The score moves to 26-8, and the team averages to 395 and 281, so other teams have a chance – though the Aussie bowlers are just as clinical. It’s like football: playing at home makes a bigger difference than it should. This season, in the English Premiership, only three teams out of 20 have picked up more than half the points in away games.

It doesn’t excuse England’s performance – they’re second in the world, and should have pushed Australia harder – but it does put it in context. And it means that visiting teams need to think much harder about how to steal victories on Australian turf.

Today, it was largely Shane Warne who turned parity into dominance. Like Justin Langer yesterday, he found the farewell cheers acting as a shot of caffeine and went off at a ridiculous lick. Warne’s personal home Test record is quite something: won 48, lost 7. Glenn McGrath’s is even better: won 52, lost 5. Together, they haven’t tasted defeat in a home Test since February 3 1997, when West Indies, who had just lost a series in Australia for the the first time in ages, picked up a consolation victory in Perth.

McGrath has lost one home Test since then – Melbourne, 1998-99, against England, when Warne was injured and Dean Headley had his day in the sun. Australia have lost two home Tests since, one to England and one to India, and each time, both Warne and McGrath were missing. Australia have been a great team, no question; but their twin peaks have been the two bowlers who bow out this week.

Tim de Lisle is the editor of Intelligent Life magazine and a former editor of Wisden

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • gizmojones on January 7, 2007, 18:32 GMT

    "And that to walk or not to walk would make a good blog."

    Batsmen who walk are crazy. The reverse face of walking would be a bowler calling a batsman back after a blooper in his favour. How many times have you seen that?

  • gizmojones on January 5, 2007, 18:42 GMT

    All this stuff about not having a spinner to replace Warne is unbelievable. Warne was a giant, but Stuart MacGill more than matches him in every statistical department except average, where he still matches every other contemporary spinner with a legitimate action. He won't always get to bowl on the SCG, where most of his good stats have been realised, and he won't completely replace Warne, because nobody could, but he'll still be miles ahead of every other straight-armed spinner in the world, Kumble excepted.

    As for walking: at the beginning of my modest career in social cricket, I resolved to walk in return for every time a bowler called me back after a manifest dudding. That is, I never walked once.

  • snoopthedoop on January 5, 2007, 15:34 GMT

    Gosh I was getting worried until I got to the last posts.

    Ok - my take;

    1. Replacment Spinner? - MacGill, lazy 200 wickets at an average of what 27 odd strike rate 50 odd in tests....thats off the top of the head but around Warne. Thank god MacGill is old. Us Aussies need a "Dad's Army" (thanks Beefy and Fleet St makes it all the sweeter).

    2. Warne "not out" vs Gilly's "out". Hey? Did not Gilly just hit 100 off 50 balls 2 tests ago. Tim (and others) are you suggesting you would rather Warne be out and Gilly not out?

    Moot point I know as the whole series is done and dusted but really...Warne vs Gilly as a batsmen??? Wow, I will take that bet anytime.

  • Jon on January 5, 2007, 13:31 GMT

    Avik:

    When Warne Retired from ODI's everyone was saying who would step up in the spinning department.... Up steps, Brad Hogg averaging just over 27 with the ball and 20 with the bat.... I would say after Murali, he the next best ODI spinner in world cricket (easily better than the overated Kumble or the Turbanator).

    In my opinion Australian cricket has enough depth to beat any international side in a test series(in Australia) with any of the the current state teams (South Australia not included.. ha).

    To put it another way - Its like Australia is in the premier league or champions league; and Eng, Pak, SA, Ind, SL, NZ, WI are in the Championship... Ban in Div 1.... Zim and Kenya in Div2.

  • JII on January 5, 2007, 8:41 GMT

    I feel sorry for the forgotten man of Australian cricket. His support bowling was equally (if not more) responsible for Australia's dominance as McGrath's & Warne's. And, he was the wrecker-in-chief when Australia conquered the final frontier in India in 2004/05. And I don't see his name being mentioned even once in these discussions. I'm talking of one Jason Neil Gillespie.

  • UMW on January 5, 2007, 3:20 GMT

    Tim :

    Ok, I'll take your other points.

    But,

    four half chances??

    haha that's a joke.

    the ones to pietersen in the deep, the very hard and low ones to mahmood off his own bowling and anderson at short mid off, were NOT what you would call half chances. Maybe 1/6th chances.

    The point is that gilchrist NEVER looked troubled by the bowlers. All the events I described above were shots that were smashed and the fielders happened to make an outstanding stretch or run 20 metres and then stretch out, before still only getting one finger to a very very hard hit shot. And Pietersen's one STILL didn't even carry to him.

    Ok the top edge off harmison which landed in the middle of nowhere was lucky, but still he wasn't troubled by the delivery. He more like chose to take on a delivery that shouldn't have been pulled, or pulled better.

  • Peter on January 5, 2007, 0:39 GMT

    There's no need to even mention Terry Jenner. When I think of Australian spin-bowling in the years BW (Before Warne) I think of Tim May and Peter Taylor. May was a decent test match bowler (75 wickets in 24 tests at an average of 34). Taylor took almost 100 wickets in his 83 ODIs at an average of 28).

  • Odie on January 5, 2007, 0:21 GMT

    I think you've missed the point there, Tim.

    Regardless of whether Warne made 71 or not, there is serious distinction between a wicket keeping batsman who has a demonstrated ability to dismantle an attack in short time being given out in such poor circumstances and a spin bowler who proves generally adequate with the bat surviving a close one.

    Seems you're quite happy to bleat like a wounded goat whenever one of your English pretenders gets a poor decision (regardless of how many good ones they get, which, by your own rationale, should thereby then cancel out all the bad ones).

    Yet, you are quite happy to dismiss an obviously poor decision against the opposition under the poor justification of some arcane form of your own hopeless mathematics.

    Once again Tim, you prove that you seriously cannot take an impartial view of the game...no matter how much you pretend to do so.

    As for gloating. I don't think we're going to see anything more stomach turning than the drunken stumblings and misguided awarding of MBEs that took place in '05.

    Do you Tim?

  • Nath on January 4, 2007, 23:31 GMT

    Spot on comment by Mohan. These statistics should have been considered by the 'experts' prior to the series, rather than dragging them out now in an attempt to somehow make England's inept performances look not so bad.

    And Rich, I wouldn't be talking about Aussies kidding themselves. After all the statements from the English press and fans prior to this series (which have now turned to how they're going to smash Australia in 2009 hahaha), it's true that supporters of one country may be kidding themselves. But I don't think it's the Australian supporters. Rich also says that Cullen (among others) is barely good enough to play state criket?! 43 wickets in his debut season at an average of 30.3 (as an offie against Australian batsmen in Australian conditions) indicates that he is more than good enough for first class cricket. And I notice Rich didn't even mention MacGill. Sure, he may only have a year or two left (which will be a good bridging period to allow Bailey, Cullen, Casson etc to develop further), but he is a guy with nearly 200 test wickets, who probably would have taken 400 if he was born in any other country. I don't think anyone's saying Australia's spin stocks are overflowing, and Warne will obviously never be replaced, but the cupboard certainly is not bare and there are reasons for Australia's optimism in this department.

  • Nick on January 4, 2007, 23:25 GMT

    How can you forget Ray Bright? Maybe the best bearded slow left-armer of recent times until Monty came along. Actually Tim May was a decent spinner, well he used to give it a rip anyway.

  • gizmojones on January 7, 2007, 18:32 GMT

    "And that to walk or not to walk would make a good blog."

    Batsmen who walk are crazy. The reverse face of walking would be a bowler calling a batsman back after a blooper in his favour. How many times have you seen that?

  • gizmojones on January 5, 2007, 18:42 GMT

    All this stuff about not having a spinner to replace Warne is unbelievable. Warne was a giant, but Stuart MacGill more than matches him in every statistical department except average, where he still matches every other contemporary spinner with a legitimate action. He won't always get to bowl on the SCG, where most of his good stats have been realised, and he won't completely replace Warne, because nobody could, but he'll still be miles ahead of every other straight-armed spinner in the world, Kumble excepted.

    As for walking: at the beginning of my modest career in social cricket, I resolved to walk in return for every time a bowler called me back after a manifest dudding. That is, I never walked once.

  • snoopthedoop on January 5, 2007, 15:34 GMT

    Gosh I was getting worried until I got to the last posts.

    Ok - my take;

    1. Replacment Spinner? - MacGill, lazy 200 wickets at an average of what 27 odd strike rate 50 odd in tests....thats off the top of the head but around Warne. Thank god MacGill is old. Us Aussies need a "Dad's Army" (thanks Beefy and Fleet St makes it all the sweeter).

    2. Warne "not out" vs Gilly's "out". Hey? Did not Gilly just hit 100 off 50 balls 2 tests ago. Tim (and others) are you suggesting you would rather Warne be out and Gilly not out?

    Moot point I know as the whole series is done and dusted but really...Warne vs Gilly as a batsmen??? Wow, I will take that bet anytime.

  • Jon on January 5, 2007, 13:31 GMT

    Avik:

    When Warne Retired from ODI's everyone was saying who would step up in the spinning department.... Up steps, Brad Hogg averaging just over 27 with the ball and 20 with the bat.... I would say after Murali, he the next best ODI spinner in world cricket (easily better than the overated Kumble or the Turbanator).

    In my opinion Australian cricket has enough depth to beat any international side in a test series(in Australia) with any of the the current state teams (South Australia not included.. ha).

    To put it another way - Its like Australia is in the premier league or champions league; and Eng, Pak, SA, Ind, SL, NZ, WI are in the Championship... Ban in Div 1.... Zim and Kenya in Div2.

  • JII on January 5, 2007, 8:41 GMT

    I feel sorry for the forgotten man of Australian cricket. His support bowling was equally (if not more) responsible for Australia's dominance as McGrath's & Warne's. And, he was the wrecker-in-chief when Australia conquered the final frontier in India in 2004/05. And I don't see his name being mentioned even once in these discussions. I'm talking of one Jason Neil Gillespie.

  • UMW on January 5, 2007, 3:20 GMT

    Tim :

    Ok, I'll take your other points.

    But,

    four half chances??

    haha that's a joke.

    the ones to pietersen in the deep, the very hard and low ones to mahmood off his own bowling and anderson at short mid off, were NOT what you would call half chances. Maybe 1/6th chances.

    The point is that gilchrist NEVER looked troubled by the bowlers. All the events I described above were shots that were smashed and the fielders happened to make an outstanding stretch or run 20 metres and then stretch out, before still only getting one finger to a very very hard hit shot. And Pietersen's one STILL didn't even carry to him.

    Ok the top edge off harmison which landed in the middle of nowhere was lucky, but still he wasn't troubled by the delivery. He more like chose to take on a delivery that shouldn't have been pulled, or pulled better.

  • Peter on January 5, 2007, 0:39 GMT

    There's no need to even mention Terry Jenner. When I think of Australian spin-bowling in the years BW (Before Warne) I think of Tim May and Peter Taylor. May was a decent test match bowler (75 wickets in 24 tests at an average of 34). Taylor took almost 100 wickets in his 83 ODIs at an average of 28).

  • Odie on January 5, 2007, 0:21 GMT

    I think you've missed the point there, Tim.

    Regardless of whether Warne made 71 or not, there is serious distinction between a wicket keeping batsman who has a demonstrated ability to dismantle an attack in short time being given out in such poor circumstances and a spin bowler who proves generally adequate with the bat surviving a close one.

    Seems you're quite happy to bleat like a wounded goat whenever one of your English pretenders gets a poor decision (regardless of how many good ones they get, which, by your own rationale, should thereby then cancel out all the bad ones).

    Yet, you are quite happy to dismiss an obviously poor decision against the opposition under the poor justification of some arcane form of your own hopeless mathematics.

    Once again Tim, you prove that you seriously cannot take an impartial view of the game...no matter how much you pretend to do so.

    As for gloating. I don't think we're going to see anything more stomach turning than the drunken stumblings and misguided awarding of MBEs that took place in '05.

    Do you Tim?

  • Nath on January 4, 2007, 23:31 GMT

    Spot on comment by Mohan. These statistics should have been considered by the 'experts' prior to the series, rather than dragging them out now in an attempt to somehow make England's inept performances look not so bad.

    And Rich, I wouldn't be talking about Aussies kidding themselves. After all the statements from the English press and fans prior to this series (which have now turned to how they're going to smash Australia in 2009 hahaha), it's true that supporters of one country may be kidding themselves. But I don't think it's the Australian supporters. Rich also says that Cullen (among others) is barely good enough to play state criket?! 43 wickets in his debut season at an average of 30.3 (as an offie against Australian batsmen in Australian conditions) indicates that he is more than good enough for first class cricket. And I notice Rich didn't even mention MacGill. Sure, he may only have a year or two left (which will be a good bridging period to allow Bailey, Cullen, Casson etc to develop further), but he is a guy with nearly 200 test wickets, who probably would have taken 400 if he was born in any other country. I don't think anyone's saying Australia's spin stocks are overflowing, and Warne will obviously never be replaced, but the cupboard certainly is not bare and there are reasons for Australia's optimism in this department.

  • Nick on January 4, 2007, 23:25 GMT

    How can you forget Ray Bright? Maybe the best bearded slow left-armer of recent times until Monty came along. Actually Tim May was a decent spinner, well he used to give it a rip anyway.

  • Ross Smith on January 4, 2007, 23:11 GMT

    In all the glory spare a thought for poor old England. All they could manage was to come a distant fourth in a two-horse race and they still gotta face their own nasty tabloids back home.

  • Tim de Lisle on January 4, 2007, 22:15 GMT

    Sorry to butt in again guys, but I just want to fend, Chris Read style, at a couple of short-pitched deliveries.

    UMW: Warne added 61 after that let-off. You're blithely declaring that Gilchrist would have added more. Well, that would have taken him to 123, which would have been 30-odd more than anyone else had managed on this very sporting pitch. He had already given four half-chances. Let's be generous and apply the rule of thumb the spread-betting firms use: add the player's career average. That's another 48. Still not 61. And didn't Warne look guilty, just as Gilchrist looked innocent? He spun round with the air of a man who has just been caught sending an inappropriate text.

    Rich: Ponting & Gilchrist's joint record would certainly be very good. But both were there when India won a Test in 2003-04 (Ponting made 242 and finished on the losing side), and also when England won the year before. So their record wouldn't be as good as Warne & McGrath's. To go nearly ten years without losing a home Test is quite something.

    Neil: Terry Jenner?? That's the sound of a barrel being scraped. He took 24 Test wickets. His destiny was to be a great mentor.

    Meanwhile, in Sydney, it's all over bar the gloating.

  • Rich on January 4, 2007, 21:41 GMT

    Tim - vis-a-vis McGrath and Warne's interesting joint record - I'd be prepared to bet a bit that the joint record of, for example, Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist would be pretty interesting too. There's probably quite a few cases like that. Craig McDermott and Bruce Reid's, for example, wasn't bad - unfortunately, that also extended to spending as much time off the park as on it in both cases.

  • Neil on January 4, 2007, 21:39 GMT

    Rich you claimed Australia had no spinners between Benaud and Warne? Have you not heard of Terry Jenner? Played late 60's early 70's some ability. J.Higgs was amother(OK couldnt bat to save his own life)

  • ramesh warrier on January 4, 2007, 21:37 GMT

    I'm in full agreement with the fact that Australia is by and far away the best team in both forms of cricket for quite some time now.

    What i want to point out is a more blunt assessment of Shane Warne's record. I find that against India he has a very poor average indeed. He averages over 47 in Tests and over 52 in one day Internationals against India !!! He has claimed 5 wickets in 6 matches against India in Australia and 15 wickets in 18 OD's at over 52 apiece !!! In the only test in India that he took more than 5 wickets in the match, he was overshadowed by Anil Kumble with 13 wickets or so- Chennai-2005 ! He was badly hammered by Navjot Singh sidhu before Tendulkar & other Indian batsmen took him to the cleaners in the test series in India which i saw .Also Shane Warne did'nt play against India during 1993-98 period if i'm not mistaken.

    In my books atleast Shane Warne is not the best spinner that i've seen by a long way !

  • Andrew Deacon on January 4, 2007, 21:14 GMT

    I think we can safely assume Australia will plug the gaps left by Warne and McGrath with more than adequate replacements, such is the strength of the Australian domestic game. But one thing I do wonder - if English first-class cricket was also condensed to just half a dozen teams, to what level might that raise the quality? 18 first-class counties seems like a lot in comparison.

  • UMW on January 4, 2007, 20:46 GMT

    Tim, I don't think you can equate warne's appeal to gilchrist's because gilchrist would have got more runs than warne did with the tail, and in a more convincing manner too.

    Also, gilchrist's one was clearly not out, while warne's one was very very close. How hard is it for the umpire to pick up a tiny nick off the tip off the right-hand thumb? I think they needed ch9's "hot-spot" to pick that up. The thumb in question was behind the bat and the other hand, so it was out of view too.

  • Tim de Lisle on January 4, 2007, 19:36 GMT

    Thanks everyone. A quick response to Shane: the reason I didn't discuss the decision Gilchrist got was because it was cancelled out by Warne's reprieve when he was on 10. I quite agree that it was a bad decision. And that to walk or not to walk would make a good blog. A word to KD: of course I wasn't attributing Australia's run to two players. The others you mention are all giants too. It's just that Warne and McGrath have an interesting joint record. And they're a bit more topical.

  • avik on January 4, 2007, 17:51 GMT

    Now and then australia have a blip or two in the one dayers. I think now that will happen in the test arena too. I haven't seen any promising spinner in the one day arena. They play with four bowlers. So until and unless they have a proven top class spinner as one of their 4 four bowlers as they do have now australia won't be that formidable.

    As for England is concerned I thought Flintoff is far too defensive. At 200/5 he should have got monty and stop all the singles. You need different type of field settings for the large grounds of australia and Flintoff isn't used to that given the tiny grounds back home.

  • Rich on January 4, 2007, 16:17 GMT

    These Aussies who kid themselves about the level of spin-bowling talent in their country beggar belief! In the time between Benaud's last hurrah and Warne's establishment on the NZ tour in 1993 (that's 221 Tests excluding games during the Packer Schism, over a span of nearly 40 years), Australia had 1 passable Test-class spinner - just 1, and even he only had 24 good games - Ashley Mallett.

    Does the fact that White, Bailey, Hauritz, Casson, Cullen et al are clearly barely even good enough to play State cricket (as bowlers - White clearly can bat) seriously not register?

    Australia might - and only might - have a few decent seam bowlers coming through the ranks, but to claim the spin cupboard is overflowing is ridiculous in the extreme!

  • Sean on January 4, 2007, 15:23 GMT

    Gerard Gleeson - I agree that domestically Australian cricket is very strong, and that we are in 'safe hands'.

    However, I can't agree with your assertion that Cameron White is a top class spin bowler. In five first-class matches this season White has bowled 105 overs, picking up 7 wickets at an average of 50 and a strike rate of 90.

  • Slip on January 4, 2007, 14:33 GMT

    Tim I feel it is not just the dominance of the average scores but the speed at which Australia scores its runs that contributes greatly to their win loss ratio. So often they they take the other option of playing for a draw completely out of the equation by having so much time to bowl out the opposition in the 2nd inning. This test is a classic indication, they scored 102 runs more in seven overs less and the series even more starkly indicates this. Australia have only one batsmen, McGrath, scoring at under 50 strike rate. Engaland have one scoring above 50.

  • Mal on January 4, 2007, 14:21 GMT

    What an extraordinary record. It is a great testament to John Buchannan, his staff, the players and all those who contribute to the team, and to domestic Australian cricket in general. Has there ever been a greater team?

  • Shane on January 4, 2007, 13:53 GMT

    Gerard

    Top class spinner, seriously doubt. Can hardly get a wicket for the Vics. Very good bat though. He is a real chance to play in the World Cup but until he starts getting wickets will struggle to get a game in Test matches.

    Tim

    No umpire complaints today. Could you imagine how much Gilly would have made if he hadn't been given out by B Bowden.

    I thought a blog on 'to walk or not to walk' would be a good one today. As Ponting and Waugh have said if you walk you never benefit from any bad decisions.

    Shane

  • Richard Woolley on January 4, 2007, 13:45 GMT

    Tim, interesting statistics indeed. Also, remember during the 2005 Ashes what happened after McGrath got injured at Edgbaston. The only 2 Tests England won that series (Edgbaston and Trent Bridge) were when McGrath wasn't playing and neither were convincing victories (2 runs and 3 wickets respectively). Just goes to show what might have happened had McGrath not fallen on a stray ball before the start of the 2nd Test that summer. Australia have not lost a Test series at home since 1992/93. The only team which has really challenged them in that time was India in 2003/4 when they drew the series 1-1 and came close to winning the final Test but there was no Warne or McGrath in that series. It's not just England who have been hammered by the Aussies in that time but also Pakistan, West Indies, South Africa, India and New Zealand. It's a sad reflection of the state of international cricket in the last decade or so that no team has come close to winning in Australia while Warne and McGrath have been in the side. I think other sides have shown them too much respect. The only side I can think of which could have beaten the Aussies on their own turf is the 1980s West Indians. Marshall, Garner and Holding may have proved too much for Australia's batsmen (I would love to have seen how someone like Gilchrist would have fared against Holding bowling fast short balls at his ribs and how the openers Hayden and Langer would have coped with the brilliance of Marshall and relentless accuracy of Garner) and I think that the likes of Greenidge, Richards, Richardson and Lloyd would have played the likes of Warne and McGrath far better than many international batsmen have in the last 13-14 years. Can you imagine them allowing McGrath at his medium-fast pace to settle into good line and length or playing Warne in a defensive mode. Only a truly great side like the mighty 1980s West Indians would have been able to win in Australia in the last 14 years. Sadly there have been none hence Australia's dominance at home.

  • KD on January 4, 2007, 12:47 GMT

    Nearly a good blog at last :-) One thing not included was the losses that were dead rubbers in series already one. I agree Shane Warne & Glenn McGrath are massive losses & I really believe their experience, International success & knowing how to win are massive losses to this Australian cricket team. There is some talent & experience to pick up the slack but take Ponting, Gilchrist & Hayden out of the equation & the team is much lighter in experiencing International success. You attributed Australias run to two players. I think the following may feel a little hard done by: Steve Waugh, Mark Waugh, Adam Gichrist, Matthew Hayden, Ricky ponting etc etc etc

    The series is a few wickets away from five zip. I want to draw a few comparisons while so many want Flintoff replaced as captain. Take scoreline out of it but 2005 was shortly after Ricky Pontings appointment & he lost. Michael Vaughan in 2003 was a real thorn in Australias side & accumulated runs at an incredible rate in a losing side. Next Ashes 2005 as newly appointed captain didn't make any where near the runs actually from memory there was alot of talk through much of series how he couldn't get runs. Ricky Ponting was far from his best 2005 shortly after his appointment in the ashes as well. I think England should take some heart from this series despite loss to me. I think under much duress the batsmen without making big scores anywhere enough have shown something. Strauss & Cook until this match seem to always get a start. Bell has shown enough Collingwood maybe the only doubt if you take his 200 out of equation, Pieterson to my mind maybe except for Ponting has been batsmen of series & is in no doubt an incredible talent Flintoff has shown not so much in this series but he can do it with the bat down the order. The bowling has been the problem this series I am sure with Jones back some of the gap will be narrowed but to me thats where England can improve. In 2005 the bowling was good & able to expose out of form Australian batsmen.

    2009 hopefully should England recover from this off shore crushing promises to be hopefully something like 2005 except victor being Australia

  • dino on January 4, 2007, 12:40 GMT

    Yes great stats for a far superior team. Id like to hear from all those so called cricket experts who believed Australia could not win this series. This result was so predictable it wasn't funny. Old maybe but way to good. I predicted 4 nil, looks like I under estimated this team as well...

  • Gerard Gleeson on January 4, 2007, 12:37 GMT

    Interesting point Raju,

    The success of visiting teams does indeed depend on their ability to remove Australian batsmen on Australian pitches. The only real bowlers capable in the past 10 years have been Harbajhan Singh and Shane Bond. I agree that before touring sides consider their chances in the post Warne/McGrath era, they first need to come up with some decent field settings and plans to take the required wickets.

  • Gerard Gleeson on January 4, 2007, 12:31 GMT

    Well the numbers say it all don't they. Over here in Australia, all the talk has shifted from the series at hand, to lengthy discussions of new team balance and line-ups and such. Most of the talk is centred around the apparent gaping hole that one S.K Warne will leave.

    Obviously the bloke is irreplaceable. The best cricketer since Bradman is a hard act to follow. Posible replacements being thrown around are Stuart McGill (198 test wickets at 25 as a second tier spinner is an embarrasment of riches), however his longevity, fitness and commitment are questionable,given that he is already 35 or so.

    South Australia has produced two very promising young spinners in Dan Cullen and Cullen Bailey, but their wares at the top level are yet to be tried.

    What I find bizzare is the complete lack of talk about the young captain of Victoria Cameron White. At 23, he shows maturity and class well above his years, has natural ability to burn(he is currently in the form of his life, rattling off hundreds at state level at will), but further to this, he is a top class spin bowler.

    All the talk surrounding Shane Watson and Andrew Symonds fighting it out for the All-rounder position is fine, but I feel that there is another contender, and a serious one at that.

    Whether Australia can continue their era of dominance (and kep up with the stats mentioned above), will depend largely on maintaining a good team balance post Warne/McGrath. From what I've seen in State cricket, I think Australian cricket is in safe hands for quite some time.

  • Raju on January 4, 2007, 12:26 GMT

    Interesting Tim. How many tests have Australia won without Warne or Mcgrath since the turn of this century?? You will find that they have not lost much in australia irrespective of personnel. so before every team starts fancying their chances in Australia (especially england) we need to understand that it is the inability of visiting teams to take 20 Aussie wickets that is the key. I am pretty sure that the replacements for Warne & McGrath will be adequate to take 20 opposition wickets.

  • Mohan on January 4, 2007, 12:10 GMT

    Pity the media (including the Cricinfo bloggers) didn't bother to look at these stats when building up all that hype about this series.

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  • Mohan on January 4, 2007, 12:10 GMT

    Pity the media (including the Cricinfo bloggers) didn't bother to look at these stats when building up all that hype about this series.

  • Raju on January 4, 2007, 12:26 GMT

    Interesting Tim. How many tests have Australia won without Warne or Mcgrath since the turn of this century?? You will find that they have not lost much in australia irrespective of personnel. so before every team starts fancying their chances in Australia (especially england) we need to understand that it is the inability of visiting teams to take 20 Aussie wickets that is the key. I am pretty sure that the replacements for Warne & McGrath will be adequate to take 20 opposition wickets.

  • Gerard Gleeson on January 4, 2007, 12:31 GMT

    Well the numbers say it all don't they. Over here in Australia, all the talk has shifted from the series at hand, to lengthy discussions of new team balance and line-ups and such. Most of the talk is centred around the apparent gaping hole that one S.K Warne will leave.

    Obviously the bloke is irreplaceable. The best cricketer since Bradman is a hard act to follow. Posible replacements being thrown around are Stuart McGill (198 test wickets at 25 as a second tier spinner is an embarrasment of riches), however his longevity, fitness and commitment are questionable,given that he is already 35 or so.

    South Australia has produced two very promising young spinners in Dan Cullen and Cullen Bailey, but their wares at the top level are yet to be tried.

    What I find bizzare is the complete lack of talk about the young captain of Victoria Cameron White. At 23, he shows maturity and class well above his years, has natural ability to burn(he is currently in the form of his life, rattling off hundreds at state level at will), but further to this, he is a top class spin bowler.

    All the talk surrounding Shane Watson and Andrew Symonds fighting it out for the All-rounder position is fine, but I feel that there is another contender, and a serious one at that.

    Whether Australia can continue their era of dominance (and kep up with the stats mentioned above), will depend largely on maintaining a good team balance post Warne/McGrath. From what I've seen in State cricket, I think Australian cricket is in safe hands for quite some time.

  • Gerard Gleeson on January 4, 2007, 12:37 GMT

    Interesting point Raju,

    The success of visiting teams does indeed depend on their ability to remove Australian batsmen on Australian pitches. The only real bowlers capable in the past 10 years have been Harbajhan Singh and Shane Bond. I agree that before touring sides consider their chances in the post Warne/McGrath era, they first need to come up with some decent field settings and plans to take the required wickets.

  • dino on January 4, 2007, 12:40 GMT

    Yes great stats for a far superior team. Id like to hear from all those so called cricket experts who believed Australia could not win this series. This result was so predictable it wasn't funny. Old maybe but way to good. I predicted 4 nil, looks like I under estimated this team as well...

  • KD on January 4, 2007, 12:47 GMT

    Nearly a good blog at last :-) One thing not included was the losses that were dead rubbers in series already one. I agree Shane Warne & Glenn McGrath are massive losses & I really believe their experience, International success & knowing how to win are massive losses to this Australian cricket team. There is some talent & experience to pick up the slack but take Ponting, Gilchrist & Hayden out of the equation & the team is much lighter in experiencing International success. You attributed Australias run to two players. I think the following may feel a little hard done by: Steve Waugh, Mark Waugh, Adam Gichrist, Matthew Hayden, Ricky ponting etc etc etc

    The series is a few wickets away from five zip. I want to draw a few comparisons while so many want Flintoff replaced as captain. Take scoreline out of it but 2005 was shortly after Ricky Pontings appointment & he lost. Michael Vaughan in 2003 was a real thorn in Australias side & accumulated runs at an incredible rate in a losing side. Next Ashes 2005 as newly appointed captain didn't make any where near the runs actually from memory there was alot of talk through much of series how he couldn't get runs. Ricky Ponting was far from his best 2005 shortly after his appointment in the ashes as well. I think England should take some heart from this series despite loss to me. I think under much duress the batsmen without making big scores anywhere enough have shown something. Strauss & Cook until this match seem to always get a start. Bell has shown enough Collingwood maybe the only doubt if you take his 200 out of equation, Pieterson to my mind maybe except for Ponting has been batsmen of series & is in no doubt an incredible talent Flintoff has shown not so much in this series but he can do it with the bat down the order. The bowling has been the problem this series I am sure with Jones back some of the gap will be narrowed but to me thats where England can improve. In 2005 the bowling was good & able to expose out of form Australian batsmen.

    2009 hopefully should England recover from this off shore crushing promises to be hopefully something like 2005 except victor being Australia

  • Richard Woolley on January 4, 2007, 13:45 GMT

    Tim, interesting statistics indeed. Also, remember during the 2005 Ashes what happened after McGrath got injured at Edgbaston. The only 2 Tests England won that series (Edgbaston and Trent Bridge) were when McGrath wasn't playing and neither were convincing victories (2 runs and 3 wickets respectively). Just goes to show what might have happened had McGrath not fallen on a stray ball before the start of the 2nd Test that summer. Australia have not lost a Test series at home since 1992/93. The only team which has really challenged them in that time was India in 2003/4 when they drew the series 1-1 and came close to winning the final Test but there was no Warne or McGrath in that series. It's not just England who have been hammered by the Aussies in that time but also Pakistan, West Indies, South Africa, India and New Zealand. It's a sad reflection of the state of international cricket in the last decade or so that no team has come close to winning in Australia while Warne and McGrath have been in the side. I think other sides have shown them too much respect. The only side I can think of which could have beaten the Aussies on their own turf is the 1980s West Indians. Marshall, Garner and Holding may have proved too much for Australia's batsmen (I would love to have seen how someone like Gilchrist would have fared against Holding bowling fast short balls at his ribs and how the openers Hayden and Langer would have coped with the brilliance of Marshall and relentless accuracy of Garner) and I think that the likes of Greenidge, Richards, Richardson and Lloyd would have played the likes of Warne and McGrath far better than many international batsmen have in the last 13-14 years. Can you imagine them allowing McGrath at his medium-fast pace to settle into good line and length or playing Warne in a defensive mode. Only a truly great side like the mighty 1980s West Indians would have been able to win in Australia in the last 14 years. Sadly there have been none hence Australia's dominance at home.

  • Shane on January 4, 2007, 13:53 GMT

    Gerard

    Top class spinner, seriously doubt. Can hardly get a wicket for the Vics. Very good bat though. He is a real chance to play in the World Cup but until he starts getting wickets will struggle to get a game in Test matches.

    Tim

    No umpire complaints today. Could you imagine how much Gilly would have made if he hadn't been given out by B Bowden.

    I thought a blog on 'to walk or not to walk' would be a good one today. As Ponting and Waugh have said if you walk you never benefit from any bad decisions.

    Shane

  • Mal on January 4, 2007, 14:21 GMT

    What an extraordinary record. It is a great testament to John Buchannan, his staff, the players and all those who contribute to the team, and to domestic Australian cricket in general. Has there ever been a greater team?

  • Slip on January 4, 2007, 14:33 GMT

    Tim I feel it is not just the dominance of the average scores but the speed at which Australia scores its runs that contributes greatly to their win loss ratio. So often they they take the other option of playing for a draw completely out of the equation by having so much time to bowl out the opposition in the 2nd inning. This test is a classic indication, they scored 102 runs more in seven overs less and the series even more starkly indicates this. Australia have only one batsmen, McGrath, scoring at under 50 strike rate. Engaland have one scoring above 50.