Australia in India 2008-09 November 11, 2008

Lowering the bar

Australia¹s failure in India, and their undeniable decline, mark a new level playing field in cricket
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Ricky Ponting was left with plenty to do as Australia underperformed, and leaves the series under a cloud © Getty Images
 

These two teams have fought some epic battles in their time, but this time it was different. A sense of inevitability permeated the series and it grew stronger with each match, each innings. Australia haven't been so outplayed since their dominance began, yet to many Indian fans, drawing the series in Australia in 2003-04, or even winning the Perth Test earlier this year, felt much more special. The truth is that, barring the morning session on the third day of the first Test, Australia never looked like winning.

The series lacked the drama, the tension, the twists, and the contests these two teams have provided in the last eight years. Australia came promising new-age cricket, but by the time the series ended, they looked confused, diffident, even soft. Not only did they lack bite, they were hardly able to bare their teeth. There is a sense that England are likely to be far tougher opponents for India, and that is the measure of the one-sidedness of the series just past.

Ricky Ponting, who still has a win-loss ratio of 33-6, among the highest for captains in the game's history, leaves the series under a cloud, accused of compromising the interests of the team in favour of upholding his own. Ponting is not blameless, but if anything, the series underlined one of the fundamental truths of cricket: a captain is only good as his team.

A quick look at the series stats tells the story. Seven Indian batsmen, and that includes Harbhajan Singh, who made two match-altering contributions, averaged more than their career figures, while among the Australians all barring Simon Katich averaged way below theirs. Only one Australian, Michael Hussey, featured in the top five run-getters in the series (he was at number three), and while India had three bowlers who averaged under 30, the most successful Australian bowler, Mitchell Johnson with 14 wickets, averaged 40. Cricket is not about numbers alone, but it is always about the sum of the numbers; and for Australia, they just didn't add up. India fell behind on only one count: they dropped more catches, without which the margin of victory would possibly have been larger.

Not since Kim Hughes brought a Packer-depleted Australian team to India in 1979 has an Australian bowling attack looked so feeble. It was certainly not meant to be. Brett Lee came as the foremost fast bowler in the world, Stuart Clark as a decent impersonation of Glenn McGrath, and Johnson as a bowler of consistent pace and unflagging stamina. This was the attack that had helped Australia beat India 2-1 in Australia earlier this year. Lee's malfunctioning was a mystery; not only did he fail to take wickets, he also failed to provide control. Only he can tell if he was affected by personal problems or defeated by the pitches. India is a challenge for fast bowlers, but the exceptional ones have always found a way.

It is the second time in recent history that Ponting's men have come off second-best in the matter of reverse swing. And this time they were more prepared than had been during the 2005 Ashes. In Troy Cooley they had the bowling coach who had masterminded England's campaign then. But both Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma turned out to be cannier, more skilful, and far more consistent than their Australian counterparts. Quietly and undemonstratively Venkatesh Prasad, who in his day had the swing but never the pace, has emerged as an invaluable asset for India. Most of India's recent Test success overseas has been due to their fast bowlers, and there was nothing freakish about their success in this series.

 
 
Australia have the soundest cricket system in the world, designed to produce international quality cricketers, but like India's now-departing batting quartet, they were blessed with a few once-in-a-generation cricketers in the same era
 

It was Zaheer and Ishant, who made Mahendra Singh Dhoni's off-side choke­, ugly as it looked, ­ work so efficiently on the third morning in Nagpur. The Australians could hardly complain because it is a strategy they had employed, though not to such an extent ­ all series and failed. It also exposed some of the limitations of the Australian batting: would Steve Waugh's team or Ponting's a couple of years ago, have allowed themselves to be becalmed so?

Therein lies a big problem for Australia. On paper their batting still looks mighty, but without Adam Gilchrist and Andrew Symonds in this series they lacked the edge that made them so dangerous. Currently they are too reliant on Matthew Hayden to provide both force and thrust, and when teams neutralise Hayden, as India did for a large part of the series, Australia look vulnerable, despite Hussey¹s clinical accumulation at No. 4. Hayden is 37 and his loss will punch a hole in the side that could lead to the fabric coming apart.

Australia have the soundest cricket system in the world, designed to produce international quality cricketers, but like India¹s now-departing batting quartet, they were blessed with a few once-in-a-generation cricketers in the same era. And though a West Indies-style freefall is unlikely, Australian cricket is now officially in recession.

For years the rest of the world tried and failed to catch up with Australia. That era has now ended and now it is a more level playing field in Test cricket. That is not necessarily good news, for the bar has been lowered.

Sambit Bal is the editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • winbald on November 14, 2008, 1:44 GMT

    To juliandsouza, I believe you have gone away from the core issue as said. Are India the world champions? No. Have Australia declined? Yes If Brazil are defeated by New Zealand in the Soccer World Cup are they suddenly the world champs? No .ICC rankings work a similar way. Well done India again, you are the form side at the moment. And as for Australian sore loser comments, you have to be kidding. Ponting can lack diplomacy and humility at times and that has been a big issue over here and there are a lot of mixed feelings amongst our own. But dont brand the lot of us. We certainly didnt threaten to pack up and come home when one of our players was racially taunted in India yet India threatened that out here last summer over a match result. As for CA, I agree, they are totally spineless. The unfortunate consequence of them bowing to the BCCI is Symonds. He is no saint but my guess is that time will show that he didnt want to go to India as opposed to being dropped.

  • AravindZ on November 13, 2008, 5:28 GMT

    One other major factor: Missing out on Roy....Oz selectors share a part of the defeat as well. Cricket has been a one sided game so far...80's belonged to the Windies, 90's to Aussies...and the good thing going forward is, the start of the millennium removes this history and no single team can own a decade anymore with all other teams stepping up...cricket at its best! wow....I cant wait to see the competition going ahead....Zim, WI, Pak, NZ....bring on more guys..no worries..administrative and political issues don't last for long...come WC, lets see a level playing field..go cricket!!!!!!!!!!

  • popcorn on November 13, 2008, 1:09 GMT

    "One swallow doth not a summer make".All you scribes predicted the decline of Australia after the Steve Waugh's India'a series 2000 -01,after the Ashes 2005,after the retirements of Damien Martyn,Justin Langer,Shane Warne,Glenn McGrath in early 2007. We are now nearing the end of 2008, and Australia are still at the top.Typical of you scribes to sentsationalise and come to wrong judgements - forgetting that winning in India is no yardstick for supremacy. After Bill Lawry's Team won in 1958 -59,it took 35 years for Adam Gilchrist's Team)to win a series in India.Yet during those 35 years, Australia won Series, both home and away,for 16 consecutive times,not once, but twice.Once under Steve Waugh, the second under Ricky Ponting.The REAL World Championship of Test cricket and ODI is coming soon-Australia vs.South Africa, both home and away. Wait till you make silly judgements. And wait to see how India fares AWAY in 2009 - you'll be eating your words and drop Dhoni like a hot potato.

  • redneck on November 12, 2008, 23:11 GMT

    metal_militia what are you on about india came to australia and conquered????? no mate they lost! if they conquered that would mean they won the test series in aus? which is something they have never done! yes they won the ODI series but then aus beat india in india in their last ODI series over there but you dont hear stupid comments like yours coming from aussies "we came to india and conquered!!" because no ones stupid enough to go mouthing off over something which isnt the truth!!! the last team to come to aus and "conquered" was the west indies in 92! if india can go 16 odd years with out series defeat at home then we'll see! and aus are still ranked number 1 both in test and ODI and hold the last 3 world cups!!! last time i checked india werent even ranked 2nd in either format! and as flat as aus looked in india, india looked far worse in sri lanka when they toured their earlier in the year!

  • Cricdish on November 12, 2008, 21:48 GMT

    "The series lacked the drama, the tension, the twists, and the contests these two teams have provided in the last eight years."

    The pitches were a significant contributor. They were all nice batting tracks, on the slower side and didn't really have too much of bounce. In a sense, India got lucky that Australia pressed the self-destruct button often, since the pitches didn't really crumble until very late in the Mohali and Nagpur tests.

  • CiMP on November 12, 2008, 19:00 GMT

    Australia was weak as it is in a state of transition. India had an emerging set of capable and hungry pacemen, competent spinners; strong openers and a middle order that clicked together (one last time?); a captain who was imaginative and aggressive. Neither side needs to over react. Australia needs to rebuild. India has to recognize they did not beat the Aussies at their best. And also plan for a middle order batting transition - sooner or later. The road ahead for both teams is one of nurture and consolidation.

  • poetryinmotion on November 12, 2008, 16:03 GMT

    Oh almost forgot to respond to Andrew_s, the mightly srilankan team which you would like to praise so much have never won a test match in India or australia. Have you checked how many series victory Australia have notched up against Sri Lanka in SL, you might be surprised. Sri Lankans are at best hoemground bullies and the series is being blown too much out of context. To be honest we lost that series due to our bowling on the third morning of the third test. It could have gone either way at that point. And don't even get me started on murali - seven hundred odd run outs and counting.

  • poetryinmotion on November 12, 2008, 15:58 GMT

    Contd prev post, Ind and Aus have played 26 test matches since 1996, India have won 10, Australia have won 10 and ther have been 6 draws. There is no other country which has a similar win-loss record in the same period. Just go to statsguru and do a search to know. I don't understand the reaction to this test series when this is exactly what we expect from an India Vs Australia contest. A seesaw of victory and defeat stretching back to 1996. The fact is the two teams play at their best against eachother and neither team wants to lose. This is the fact to be enjoyed and celebrated about this rivalry between Ind and Aus. The next 3 yrs before the next series in australia (Ind VS AUS) will be the building phase for the top 6 teams and decide who will be the topdog. If both teams lose to the others before then we know the answer otherwise that in my opinion will be the world test championship. So let us not get ahead of ourselves based on this series which is only a reflection of the past.

  • poetryinmotion on November 12, 2008, 15:51 GMT

    I continue to be surprised by the tone of articles written after this series by the Australian, Indian media and also Cricinfo. Firstly there is no reshuffling of the world order nor is it the end of an era for australia. They have been very good since 1877 and that is a fact. Secondly, India has not won this series by any unfair means whether in the form of pitches or umpiring or any other measure. Australia were beaten and well beaten. To describe the series as a "Lowering of the bar" etc is annoying and stretching the truth further it is insulting to the Indian team. The greatest of victories is when you muddle your opponent enough to throw him off from his natural game any one who has knowledge or has take part in sports such as boxing, chess etc would know. This is exactly what happened in India. Finally, Australia has won only one test series in India in 40 years as many aussies have correctly pointed out and that too because the chennai test was washed out on the last day. (Ctd)

  • bluebillion on November 12, 2008, 13:16 GMT

    For lippy04 - you say it is impossible for sides batting second to win matches on batting piches? I dont think so - think Eden Gardens 2001 and Adelaide 2003 - both India v Australia. There are many such instances. However, I do feel that while India played fantastic cricket in this series, the win was also because Australia were mediocre to say the least. They came proclaiming that they were the underdogs but they were still overconfident. They have been brought down to earth. India on the other hand are still a long way from being world champions. In the last 4 years, we have drawn a series each in South Africa and Australia and lost once in Australia. If we start winning consistently in SA and Aus - we know we are on to something.

  • winbald on November 14, 2008, 1:44 GMT

    To juliandsouza, I believe you have gone away from the core issue as said. Are India the world champions? No. Have Australia declined? Yes If Brazil are defeated by New Zealand in the Soccer World Cup are they suddenly the world champs? No .ICC rankings work a similar way. Well done India again, you are the form side at the moment. And as for Australian sore loser comments, you have to be kidding. Ponting can lack diplomacy and humility at times and that has been a big issue over here and there are a lot of mixed feelings amongst our own. But dont brand the lot of us. We certainly didnt threaten to pack up and come home when one of our players was racially taunted in India yet India threatened that out here last summer over a match result. As for CA, I agree, they are totally spineless. The unfortunate consequence of them bowing to the BCCI is Symonds. He is no saint but my guess is that time will show that he didnt want to go to India as opposed to being dropped.

  • AravindZ on November 13, 2008, 5:28 GMT

    One other major factor: Missing out on Roy....Oz selectors share a part of the defeat as well. Cricket has been a one sided game so far...80's belonged to the Windies, 90's to Aussies...and the good thing going forward is, the start of the millennium removes this history and no single team can own a decade anymore with all other teams stepping up...cricket at its best! wow....I cant wait to see the competition going ahead....Zim, WI, Pak, NZ....bring on more guys..no worries..administrative and political issues don't last for long...come WC, lets see a level playing field..go cricket!!!!!!!!!!

  • popcorn on November 13, 2008, 1:09 GMT

    "One swallow doth not a summer make".All you scribes predicted the decline of Australia after the Steve Waugh's India'a series 2000 -01,after the Ashes 2005,after the retirements of Damien Martyn,Justin Langer,Shane Warne,Glenn McGrath in early 2007. We are now nearing the end of 2008, and Australia are still at the top.Typical of you scribes to sentsationalise and come to wrong judgements - forgetting that winning in India is no yardstick for supremacy. After Bill Lawry's Team won in 1958 -59,it took 35 years for Adam Gilchrist's Team)to win a series in India.Yet during those 35 years, Australia won Series, both home and away,for 16 consecutive times,not once, but twice.Once under Steve Waugh, the second under Ricky Ponting.The REAL World Championship of Test cricket and ODI is coming soon-Australia vs.South Africa, both home and away. Wait till you make silly judgements. And wait to see how India fares AWAY in 2009 - you'll be eating your words and drop Dhoni like a hot potato.

  • redneck on November 12, 2008, 23:11 GMT

    metal_militia what are you on about india came to australia and conquered????? no mate they lost! if they conquered that would mean they won the test series in aus? which is something they have never done! yes they won the ODI series but then aus beat india in india in their last ODI series over there but you dont hear stupid comments like yours coming from aussies "we came to india and conquered!!" because no ones stupid enough to go mouthing off over something which isnt the truth!!! the last team to come to aus and "conquered" was the west indies in 92! if india can go 16 odd years with out series defeat at home then we'll see! and aus are still ranked number 1 both in test and ODI and hold the last 3 world cups!!! last time i checked india werent even ranked 2nd in either format! and as flat as aus looked in india, india looked far worse in sri lanka when they toured their earlier in the year!

  • Cricdish on November 12, 2008, 21:48 GMT

    "The series lacked the drama, the tension, the twists, and the contests these two teams have provided in the last eight years."

    The pitches were a significant contributor. They were all nice batting tracks, on the slower side and didn't really have too much of bounce. In a sense, India got lucky that Australia pressed the self-destruct button often, since the pitches didn't really crumble until very late in the Mohali and Nagpur tests.

  • CiMP on November 12, 2008, 19:00 GMT

    Australia was weak as it is in a state of transition. India had an emerging set of capable and hungry pacemen, competent spinners; strong openers and a middle order that clicked together (one last time?); a captain who was imaginative and aggressive. Neither side needs to over react. Australia needs to rebuild. India has to recognize they did not beat the Aussies at their best. And also plan for a middle order batting transition - sooner or later. The road ahead for both teams is one of nurture and consolidation.

  • poetryinmotion on November 12, 2008, 16:03 GMT

    Oh almost forgot to respond to Andrew_s, the mightly srilankan team which you would like to praise so much have never won a test match in India or australia. Have you checked how many series victory Australia have notched up against Sri Lanka in SL, you might be surprised. Sri Lankans are at best hoemground bullies and the series is being blown too much out of context. To be honest we lost that series due to our bowling on the third morning of the third test. It could have gone either way at that point. And don't even get me started on murali - seven hundred odd run outs and counting.

  • poetryinmotion on November 12, 2008, 15:58 GMT

    Contd prev post, Ind and Aus have played 26 test matches since 1996, India have won 10, Australia have won 10 and ther have been 6 draws. There is no other country which has a similar win-loss record in the same period. Just go to statsguru and do a search to know. I don't understand the reaction to this test series when this is exactly what we expect from an India Vs Australia contest. A seesaw of victory and defeat stretching back to 1996. The fact is the two teams play at their best against eachother and neither team wants to lose. This is the fact to be enjoyed and celebrated about this rivalry between Ind and Aus. The next 3 yrs before the next series in australia (Ind VS AUS) will be the building phase for the top 6 teams and decide who will be the topdog. If both teams lose to the others before then we know the answer otherwise that in my opinion will be the world test championship. So let us not get ahead of ourselves based on this series which is only a reflection of the past.

  • poetryinmotion on November 12, 2008, 15:51 GMT

    I continue to be surprised by the tone of articles written after this series by the Australian, Indian media and also Cricinfo. Firstly there is no reshuffling of the world order nor is it the end of an era for australia. They have been very good since 1877 and that is a fact. Secondly, India has not won this series by any unfair means whether in the form of pitches or umpiring or any other measure. Australia were beaten and well beaten. To describe the series as a "Lowering of the bar" etc is annoying and stretching the truth further it is insulting to the Indian team. The greatest of victories is when you muddle your opponent enough to throw him off from his natural game any one who has knowledge or has take part in sports such as boxing, chess etc would know. This is exactly what happened in India. Finally, Australia has won only one test series in India in 40 years as many aussies have correctly pointed out and that too because the chennai test was washed out on the last day. (Ctd)

  • bluebillion on November 12, 2008, 13:16 GMT

    For lippy04 - you say it is impossible for sides batting second to win matches on batting piches? I dont think so - think Eden Gardens 2001 and Adelaide 2003 - both India v Australia. There are many such instances. However, I do feel that while India played fantastic cricket in this series, the win was also because Australia were mediocre to say the least. They came proclaiming that they were the underdogs but they were still overconfident. They have been brought down to earth. India on the other hand are still a long way from being world champions. In the last 4 years, we have drawn a series each in South Africa and Australia and lost once in Australia. If we start winning consistently in SA and Aus - we know we are on to something.

  • PeterChadwick on November 12, 2008, 13:11 GMT

    Well I guess that we will soon see if the great Oz cricket is actually in decline. Our SA boys are due to tour their next month, and it is with great trepidation that I look forward to this testing affair...one only has to cast a mind back to the last time we toured Oz, all big talk from Biff and the coach, but very little action, and truly pathetic results. I hope that we will at least win a test this time, and that the lads have learned to do the talking on the field, but I fear we will once again let the pressure get to us , and that Oz wil prove that they are still No 1, be it a closing gap as they are looking a bit vulnerable, not so sure whether that will be the case back at home though.

  • Wiffy on November 12, 2008, 12:39 GMT

    Well done India. The only reason Australia looked so terrible and performed even worse is because India were so GOOD! It was the superb play of India that caused AUS to look out of sorts. The bar was not lowered, India has just finally managed to scale the bar - achieving even higher heights - hence the win.

    Cricket standards are not set by white teams but by the winners! The only focus now should be on how high has India raised the bar! Punto e basta!

  • slugger1969 on November 12, 2008, 12:05 GMT

    Tapas265, you clown. Perhaps you didn't read what I said properly. You are carrying on because India beat Aus in India. Like I said, that happens regularly. We've won once there in nearly 40 years. And funnily enough, that is one more time than you lot have beaten us in Australia. Beat us in Australia, then come and talk to me. The poms beat us over there and all of a sudden there was a new world order and the ageing aussies were on the decline. Look what happened 18 months later when they came to Australia. 5-0. Seems that the new world order tripe gets shuffled out a bit too quickly. When you lose Dravid, Laxman and Tendulkar in the next couple of years, you will get a touch of what has happened to Aus. Langer, Martyn, McGrath, Warne and Gilchrist are some pretty handy players to go missing.

  • Andrew_S on November 12, 2008, 9:29 GMT

    The Indian supporters proclaiming their side to be World Champions on the back of this series victory have short memories. It is not that long ago that India were smashed by Sri Lanka and had to come from one test down to levelt the home series against South Africa. Also, whilst Australia were outplayed and India were deserving winners I doubt (hope???) Australia could play so badly (or make the same selection mistakes) as a team again. Certainly Australia have come back to the pack and I think that there are now five (Aus, Eng, Ind, SA and SL) or possibly six (if Pak can ever get their act together) teams that are fairly evenly matched and capable of beating each other on their day, depending on conditions.

  • Suchchin on November 12, 2008, 9:08 GMT

    India have won 4 Aussies 3 and Drawn 2 in last 2 series. India is way ahead with more recent data in the last series. A 300 plus run thrashing (yes, thrashing) and a 170 run whipping (yup, whipping) of the once-m ighty now-low-lying Aussies with 2 draws. Punter is selfish and lost the lst match on his own self-interest before team-interest. He should be fired and Pup made captain. Punter should be out of team as he will never be on same team as Pup as a batsman. His constant discussions during overs and field settings during overs are not in the spirit of the game and has brought down over-rate to below minimum levels. Punter could NOT motivate his team to win. He keeps over 30 years team members (7 out of playing 11) on team. Aussies need to bring in young players like India does or will slump badly. keep Hussey and hayden and drop others including Punter. Watch the team India that beat you..and follow their lead. As Guru Greg said to BCCI, Cric Australia should follow and drop Punter

  • Zorro69 on November 12, 2008, 8:50 GMT

    What i find most amazing and sometimes amusing is how a huge section of the world, especially the Australian media (understandably) and the Indian media and authors (regretably) have all pretty much summed it up as a disaster in Australian cricket, lowering of the bar by the Australians, the Aussies playing poorly etc etc instead of this being a watershed moment in Indian cricket, the Indian team finally beginning to play to its potential or coming of age. I wonder how others called the Australian genius and did not refer to their dominance as an outcome of the mediocrity of other teams when it came to Australia dominating a series. What was it okay for Australia to be called brilliant then? By the same token why can we not call this India's moment and accept that it is they who played the better cricket than deem this as and opportunity Australia gave India by lowering standards. Any country is as good as the 11 it can put on the field. The rest is all talk! Well Done India!

  • tapas265 on November 12, 2008, 7:59 GMT

    _slugger1969, maybe you have got a little sore after your team lost badly. the truth is that over the past few years india have won a number of series outside. we won convincingly in west indies, we beat england in england(a couple of summers after the australians lost the ashes there). We lost against srilanka because of one bowler who no one could read-ajantha mendis. we'll see how the australians face up to him considering they couldn't even play sehwag properly on flat pitches. and i have never seen australia being out played as they were in this series. took a lead in only one match in the entire series, never looked like winning or even challenging india except for a couple of sessions in Bangalore. don't see them challenging india in the near future.

  • lippy04 on November 12, 2008, 7:42 GMT

    Mate the only reason the aussies never looked like winning in the last 3 tests is because its almost impossible for sides batting second, on absolute batting paradises, to win test matches. I think when we won the last series in india in 03 was the first time aussies had won in india in 25 years. Its a tough place to play test cricket. The fact that we managed to draw the last 2 tests was a fair effort. What cost us the Border Gavaskar Trophy was the 1st test where we batted first, were in a winning position and couldnt finish the game off. With a quality spinner in the side we probly wouldv won. India had these quality spinners and fast bowlers as well, that's why they won the 2nd test. India is a boring place to watch test cricket look at our last series with India in Aus. We won 2-1 with only 1 draw for the series, but this series in India there was 3 draws. Don't blame the Aussies for lack of match excitement I bet you this summer played in AUSTRALIA will be real entertainment.

  • rohanbala on November 12, 2008, 7:00 GMT

    The word "recession" seems to be the catch word of the season globally and Mr Sambit seems to think that "Australian cricket is now officially in recession". It is sad that many writers have been too harsh in denouncing the Australian captain though his success/loss rate as captain remains at 33-6. People seem to forget that the Australians have been on a winning spree for many years now and one series loss does not make them lose the top position in World cricket. It will not be long before the Australian team starts to win, much to the chagrin of their detractors.

  • juliandsouza on November 12, 2008, 6:59 GMT

    Winbald, it is really amusing how when it comes to cricket, Aussies are extremely unsporting and never gracious in defeat.Even from the commentators, esp Mark Waugh, you rarely get an objective commentary but are rather constantly met with whining and moaning.You guys invented sledging and after many decades, as we are now better at it than the Aussies, you lot are finding it difficult to swallow.When Zaheer Khan taunts Hayden it is unacceptable but when Johnson repeatedly uses the 'F' word (which is acceptable here but not in a culture like India)the Indians are expected to get on with it...Who is being childlike and not being men about losing is anyone's guess.And mate, you can point a finger at the BCCI about bullying, but CA had no spine to stand up and defend it's players, which makes it seem like there was much ado about nothing.If they were convinced there was a wrongdoing why back down???In my opinion that is very un-Australian!!!

  • sanjumadhav on November 12, 2008, 6:58 GMT

    Let's not all start jumping the gun here. As an Indian fan, I'm thrilled with the result, but One series doesn't make us world champions. We need to build on this and continue the winning trend we have started here. India needs to learn to put in similar performances abroad as well. With the current crop of cricketers I'm sure we can. Australia is sure to bounce back, and we have to be ready for that the next time we meet. One thing for sure is that India - Australia clashes have become the most interesting games in world cricket today. With Dhoni at the helm and talented youngsters like Yuvraj, Sharma and Raina waiting in the wings we don't seem to have much to worry about as far as the furure is concerned.

  • Fan_of_sachin on November 12, 2008, 6:49 GMT

    The gap between Australia and other teams has reduced considerably. A major part of winning is belief. Now Australia knows that it can lose and every other team know that they can win against Aus. How could you explain the madness of the fourth innings both in Mohali and Nagpur. Hayden's style of batting was attractive, brave but you cant continue like that for any considerable period of time. Australians now want to tell the world thay they are confident of winning not by actually winning but playing overly aggressive in extremely desperate situations when they have hardly scored above 3.5 in the rest of the series.

  • klempie on November 12, 2008, 6:20 GMT

    Australia had better make a comeback like they did after the 05 Ashes as while the SA ODI team is not looking too hot, our Test team is. What's worrying for the Aussies now is their bowling. They have no stars in that attack. It looks seriously toothless. They need Symonds desperately. When it comes down to it, SA's batsmen have been getting big runs in the last 14 months or so and Kallis is finding form again. But most important of all, is the fact that for the first time since readmission, we are going to Aus with a better bowling squad than theirs. It doesn't matter that Harris is no Warne. They haven't got a Warne in their ranks either now. Steyn's swing and pace is going to eat them up. Just like the Poms' did in '05.

  • koolguyvsp on November 12, 2008, 6:06 GMT

    All said and done the truth is we need to win series abroad against Aus,SA and Srilanka not forgetting NZ. After winning here can we proclaim to be the numbero uno. Mr Dhoni and the young indians should realize that playing there with ball moving is not a joke. with Ganguly and Kumble walking into sunset, the inevitable to happen soon on the other three of the FAB 5, it would be an herculian task to do it. With real talented players hanging their shoes across the world and the new gen playing test cricket as a 20-20 encounter, it needs to be seen if the indians would reach the summit.

  • HCronje on November 12, 2008, 5:38 GMT

    To cut short the story, let's look at the numbers which will reveal how India have measured up agianst Australia in the recent past. Since 1977, Aus have won 18 and India have won 15. Now, if you disregard the Sydney test (which the ICC should declare it as a no result), if there was no rain on the fifth day of the Chennai test in 2004 and if Billy Bowden didn't have an off day in the first test in Bangalore in 2004 - there is nothing to choose between Aus & India.

  • winbald on November 12, 2008, 5:22 GMT

    To Metal Militia, I am assuming you are trying to be funny as you couldnt be serious with some of those comments. Results speak for themselves, well done India. You certainly outplayed us and there is more than one reason as to why like most losses. As for the series out here last summer, after the BCCI bullied everybody, cricket was the loser and it certainly made for a very unhappy summer for all. To discount the Sydney test result is bordering on childlike. Sure there were some bad decisions but dont most tests have these? It is cricket, take the good with the bad and be men about it. As for Australia suddenly being dethroned by India I am pretty sure that doesnt happen because of one or even two series results. Sure we are going through a transition stage and have weakened but the ICC rankings, being the most accurate yardstick, is over time. Good luck to India but it takes more than beating us to be number 1.

  • slugger1969 on November 12, 2008, 4:34 GMT

    I'm a little bemused by the fanatical Indian supporters. Perhaps you are a touch like the English and aren't sure how to take winning. You are proclaiming a new world order after one series win. Over an Australian side that was far below it's best and rebuilding after several retirements. Australia have won one series in India since 1969/70. How on earth were we favourites to win this series? So India are number one now eh? So the fact you failed to beat South Africa and were slaughtered by Sri Lanka prior to this doesn't count then? Answer me this: When did India last beat Australia in Australia? Stop looking. It hasn't happened. Oh, that's right, it's because Australia cheat. Well, by all accounts of many former players the umpiring in India years ago was always squeaky clean. If you are so powerful, let's see you beat sides home and away. Not just Bangladesh either. You win one series at home and are world beaters? Dear me. This article is right, the bar has been lowered.

  • beachrunner on November 12, 2008, 3:56 GMT

    well done India,many of our bowlers have struggled over the years in India,this team is in transition in all positions, so i'm guessing in 12 months time it is quite likely we will produce one or two new champs like Gilchrist,McGrath,Warne although these players raised the bar so high maybe those coming through will not be as outstanding? Steve Waugh was persevered with for many years until he stepped up, someone saw something that many others did not especially considering the many failures he made, he survived and the rest is history.Gilchrist stands out for his ability to finnish test matches off from number seven in the order,if Dohni keeps it up for another 6 years India will fantastic to watch, This series makes u realise how good those other players really were.

  • juliandsouza on November 12, 2008, 3:18 GMT

    Time will tell if we are experiencing a change in the cricketing world order.However it would be extremely foolhardy to ignore the decline of the Australian test side, with relation to India, over the last year or so, both at home and in India. After a skin of their teeth series win at home, Australia were expected to come out and prove they were still the best, but the 2-0 loss only confirmed that Dhoni's India had arrived and were going to take some beating. Australia generally play attacking cricket but all through this series we saw no evidence of this. And despite a 'win at all costs' attitude during their reign, they were quick to criticise India's negative tactics...and then tried copying these very tactics with absolutely no success, demonstrated best by the fact that with similar defensive fields set Australia only managed 166 runs in an entire days play and India scored 295. If copying is the sincerest form of flattery, then India's rise is beyond doubt!!!

  • raghu2 on November 12, 2008, 2:48 GMT

    The batting & bowling were of the high standards, but the fielding was poor on both sides. In terms of being the Champion side in the world India has to consistently beat all sides. We just lost a series to Sri Lanka and drew with South africa at home. They would have to unravel Mendis of SL, although,they appeared to do so towards the end of the tour in the One Dayers. Even by ICC ranking, No. 1 would not amount to much, as it is only a statistical rating. Champion side would be like the Australia and past WI teams, who trounced one and all.

  • Metal_Militia on November 12, 2008, 2:22 GMT

    Hahaha. I find it really funny reading a few comments below especially from People who find this article biased and irrelevant. Firstly, they must be one of those Aussie Sore losers, for I have many mates (Aussie) who have simply accepted that India is now a better team. Sydney test was farcical to say the least. It was a shame on test cricket and hence Australia would be a bit ashamed of calling themselves victorious in that test. Since then we have had 6 tests. One in PERTH. Aussies love that ground dont they?? If they love that and love winning in that, then how come India is wrong by loving their feather beds. Afterall that is the whole bloody point of having troubles when touring outside your own country. If you want conditions similar to home everywhere u go, then stay at home. India went to Australia and CONQUERED. Simple as that. Accept it, and move on. It would do a world of good to your blood pressure. Nobody is taking anything away from Aus. They were champions,not anymore.

  • M.Ganesh on November 12, 2008, 1:41 GMT

    India had definite strategy for dealing with the ' mental disintegration' tactics of Australia. I think in this home series even the likes of Gilcrist or Symonds would have had problems.

  • Geldo on November 12, 2008, 1:35 GMT

    There is a lot of talk about the future of test cricket. I would suggest this series has done very little for the preservation of the game. India was always going to be difficult at home, just as we are. The problem is there is a majaor disparity between bat & ball due to the nature of the pitches. Even though the Indians used the conditions better than we did, it was always going to be difficult to dismiss sides twice on these pitches.. Even with Warne & McGrath I think it would have been hard. There is no doubt our attack was deficient & was exposed. This was our biggest mistake. We lacked penetration & line & length, and no quality spinners. Both sides need to realise that brighter,more adventurous cricket is needed if test cricket is to survive - the absence of Indian supporters confirms this. perhaps the ICC needs to do some work on who should prepare pitches for test cricket to make it more exciting & adventurous.

  • thesoccergod on November 12, 2008, 1:27 GMT

    Cricket however is a dynamic game (though one wishes it weren't quite as dynamic as its been nowadays with the advent of cricketing pornography AKA 20-20) and what the cricket boards sow, they will reap in later years. It is only hoped that they sow wisely and well. Equally important for maintaining the "bar" high up, is keeping alive the tradition of test cricket. As heady as an ODI (or nowadays 20-20 can be), the sight of white flannels wrapped round the silhouttes of players like Lara, Dravid and McGrath is a non-replicable sight. To compromise in that department would mean the quick devolution of one of mankind's most purely aesthetic games. However, to keep alive the flame of Test cricket is to invite 'Saraswati' into the household; and consequently, one may always harbour hopes of a Gower or a Lara or a Laxman or an Ambrose 20 years down the line. I just hope that happens...

  • Manoj1234 on November 12, 2008, 1:18 GMT

    I want to say something serious and sober, without gloating, but sorry I can't. I'm just feeling greatttt that Greg Chappell did a mindjob on Punter. And what a mindjob it was. :)) Manoj

  • thesoccergod on November 12, 2008, 1:16 GMT

    I did not get to watch the series on TV (except for the final moments of Test 4); and followed it only on Cricinfo. I am therefore not in a position to scrutinize and analyze the two sides' performances. That said, I agree that this series victory brings with it (to me) a strange mixture of pride and discontent. Pride at our victory, but discontent with the the anticlimatic nature of the whole series; and especially at the enervated performance of the Australian side. And truthfully, the discontent largely outweighs the pride. Bal is right here when he says that the bar has been lowered. The 03-04 Oz team that played the high-class series in Oz was perhaps the best of the last decade. And so was the Indian batting line-up. With sizeable enthusiastic crowds (something that is VERY rare in India) and lush grounds, I don't recall a better series of test cricket. In retrospect, a decline was inevitable, seeing how BOTH teams had once-in-a-lifetime players. (Contd.)

  • gunnarrekhi on November 12, 2008, 1:13 GMT

    I agree Australia is in recession, but why do we give credit to Australia when India has won anyways. I don't see teh bar is lowered, if someone doubts that lest ask the CA and Ricky Ponting himself.I say that india has reached that bar and are well on way to higher it in coming years. Aussies had all teh help on their hand with 2 coaches, Steve Waugh, Local resources like BS BEDi, Manoj Prabhakar and still could not put up a show. Shame to people who do not recognise the effort which Indians have put up and give credit to OZs for LOWERING the bar. Also, FYI India able to host IPL and present with close to 50 new players every years talks about the system which is in place to harness the new blood. India had 4 international standard speedsters and 2 International standard spinners on bench and lets see what Australia could muster up or will come up in their home series.

  • dcrowle on November 12, 2008, 0:13 GMT

    Even through all of Australia's dominant periods, people seem to forget that Oz've only won one series in India in almost 30 years...yet it's like people expected them to come to India and dominate. This is not an easy place to get victories, pitches are produced flat and reasonable lifeless and Oz've never had the spin depth to exploit them. Good on India for making it worth watching cricket again.

  • dane-o on November 11, 2008, 23:34 GMT

    Touring India is always a challenge, even for the mighty Australian teams of the past decade. After India won the test to put them in a winning position, the curator at Nagpur was told to prepare a lifeless pitch that would suit the batsmen. The bowlers had the odds stacked against them, and it didn't help that Lee (who has had well documented private issues) had the infamous "delhi-belly", and Stuart Clark a dodgy elbow, leaving the attack to be led by Mitchell Johnson, who is still a relatively new member of the team, though who did fantastically well to take 14 wickets. Add to this no established spinner, and the interesting decision to play Cameron White, who doesn't consider himself a bowler, and it added up to a stern challenge for the Australian team. I say bravo to Ponting and Australia, for playing within the spirit of the game, and for their sportmanship and being magnamanious in defeat. We lost a series, and it's not the end of the world....

  • GSCL on November 11, 2008, 23:19 GMT

    There seems to be a lot of hysteria (in the Australian press anyway), about the whole series. The facts are that we have only won 1 series in more than 30 years in India. in 1998 we were absolutely poleaxed, fielding a side probably better than the one we sent this year.

    However, it certainly does not mean by any stretch of the imagination that India are now the kings of test cricket. They need to win away from home, and against all comers - not too long ago they lost to Sri Lanka. And while there was some dare I say un-Australian captaincy from Ponting this series, the Indian tactics will have to sharpen up considerably before they will be able to take the mantle.

    Australia has declined, as it would after losing 3 great players, but we should win comfortably against New Zealand. Then it is South Africa's chance to make a play for the top place - interesting times ahead!

  • powerash5000 on November 11, 2008, 23:14 GMT

    i would rather be watching a one sided contest of exceptional skill in warne, mcGrath and symonds than an even contest of grinding mediocrity

  • redneck on November 11, 2008, 22:38 GMT

    india definatly outplayed australia in their home conditions! but so... aus went 30 something years between series wins in india and that includes a large chunk of their dominant period! if aus drop a series at home i would agree but they said the same thing after the ashes in 05 and look how aus responded then

  • ShaanAgha1 on November 11, 2008, 22:12 GMT

    Well Said Sir..!!!...The bar has surely been lowered. Well played India, for they have raised their own bar.

  • AJathoul on November 11, 2008, 22:02 GMT

    What an abismal article. What an abismal and obnoxious/ over deprecation. You sir, are an extremist and your comments are irrelevant.

  • Rusty_1 on November 11, 2008, 21:55 GMT

    I think people are jumping on the band wagon a bit to fast re: decline of Aussie cricket. India is never a easy place to visit and win. Likewise, Australia is not an easy place to visit and win. Look at the stats from when India visited earlier this year. Of the 5 top bowlers, 3 were Aussies. Kumble & RP Singh the 2 Indians in the top 5 (neither averaged below 30). Symonds took more wickets than Sharma. Sharma averaged 59.66, Khan (who only played 1 match) averaged 37.40. The only 2 Indians to average below 30 where Sehwag & Pathan.

    India need to play better elsewhere than just in India. Australia need to sort out there line up. Too many all rounders. I predict a thrashing of a weak NZ, followed by a beating of SA in Australia and a tight struggle against SA in SA. 2 years from now, this will series will be seen as a blip ala the 2005 Ashes...

  • Yorker_ToeCrusher on November 11, 2008, 21:53 GMT

    Its not the bar lowered by australia,but its the bar being raised by india -srekanth nair

  • ljcameron on November 11, 2008, 21:38 GMT

    This is the most biased article I have ever read. Has anyone stopped to think about the fact that india won the toss and batted 3/4 times in the series. Australia clearly played with a handicap. Had Australia batted 3 times out of 4 I have no doubt we would have won the series. Some of the statements, such as, "England are likely to be far tougher opponents for India". Is just laughable. India beats Australia once and now they are the world champs, the team 2 beat??

    Other comments, such as, "It also exposed some of the limitations of the Australian batting" Further demonstrate the stupidity of this article. It really does show that a side's batting is limited when the fielding side have 8 fielders on the off side and bowl a foot and a half outside off stump?? the stupidity is laughable. Anyways, congratulations to the most negative test cricket side in the world. Enjoy it! but next time the coin want fall ur way 3/4 times.

  • satfeb4 on November 11, 2008, 21:32 GMT

    India is cleary the future of dominanace in cricket.Ishant Sharma is the next generation McGrath. Just wait and see...he is only 20 and has shown a lot of heart, variation, discipline. India will have the best pace attack in the world with Ishant,Zak, Munaf,RP,Sree e.t.c. India also have the best openers who alre explosive and consistent in Gambhir and Viru. India also have the prmising middle order with bunch of players with compact technique and right attitude in rohit, Chowta, yuvraj and Vijay (looked very good in his debut), bdrinath to name a few. India has a very good tactic, lucky and respected captain In MS dhoni who is also a relaible batsman and when the situtation is need he can perform. So watch out for India to dominate the world in cricket.

  • sabrestallion_250878 on November 11, 2008, 21:07 GMT

    Fantastic article and one that hits the nail bang on its head. While we won this series 2-0, this visiting team was not in the same class as those of the past. We had more weapons that were conducive to the playing conditions which obviously helped us. However, rest assured that the Aussies will bounce back, so our team should be careful not to rest on their laurels but instead push forward and do everyting possible to widen the gap. Let's not fool ourselves into believing that we are now the strongest cricketing nation in the world. An earlier post mentioned that we have depth in batting which I do not agree with. The middle order will be exposed once the seniors leave, the young guns are definitely not in the same mould. Yuvray is overrated, Sharma/Raina are not proven, Sehwag-Gambhir is not the best opening pair in the world, we do not have bowling depth after Zaheer-Ishant-Bajji and we still field like we are stuck in the 70's. There is still alot of work to do b4 that day comes.

  • Dyutibanerjee on November 11, 2008, 19:59 GMT

    If we look at the 2005 ashes series, 2007-2008 India-Australia seris in Australia, and the recently concluded series it shows that most Australian batsmen including Ponting and Hayden are vulnerable to good quality swing bowling which Ishant Sharma, Zaheer Khan, RP Singh are capable of bowling. Look at the number of times Ponting has been out to such bowling in the last two series with India. In fact his form has been quite bad at least since the 2007-2008 India-Australia seris in Australia.

  • kr_kinshuk on November 11, 2008, 19:27 GMT

    it's interesting to notice hw one series win makes the indian fan go blind........ a team tht was looking utterly helpless in lanka is being hailed as a gr8 team...... i thought the best team was one tht won against every opposition................

    i wont b surprized if we lose a copl of games nd all these fans'll swing to the other xtreme nd start clamouring for ganguly nd kumble to b brought back.....

    we seem to analyze the game to death yet do such a poor job of it....

  • MasterClass on November 11, 2008, 18:57 GMT

    One has the feeling that if Dhoni was captain for all 4 matches the result would have read 4-0 in favor of India. Oz should be thanking their lucky stars! It could have been abject humiliation for them.

  • Tendya_fan on November 11, 2008, 18:14 GMT

    I think our Media is not doing a good job. They should have slammed Australia for fake aggression when they are winning. Where did the aggression go now. Without Mcgrath to take wickets, without Gilchrist to make a ordinary total great in no time, Australia has no aggression. That is why Dhoni is so important. He is a good thinker/captain. But most importantly he does what Gilchrist did for Australia for a decade. You give him a platform and he runs away with his aggressive batting. With Tendulkar back in runs I think India should do good for a year. I say a year because Indian youngsters start playing BAD as soon as they feel they are in the team for good.

  • swayambu on November 11, 2008, 18:03 GMT

    A win is a win. Record books are not going to show the strength of the teams. Critics should stop this nitpicking and savour the sweet win of the Indian team. Critics love to show their oerceived knowledge over all matters

  • Rajesh. on November 11, 2008, 17:50 GMT

    With regard to a reader's comment about there being a desperate attempt to make Dhoni's successes look like a fluke, I don't think there is any desperate attempt to make any of Dhoni's successes look like a fluke. It's only sometimes when some go overboard in their praise people write in about getting some perspective. And perspective is needed when we analyse or pass judgement on anything, be it Dhoni's captaincy, India's success & even India's failures too.... But sometimes even the experts lose their head. For example Ian Chapell's comments about Sehwag smiling & looking happier when Kumble was off the field & with Dhoni in charge is perhaps one of the most silly things I ever read ! And regarding the comment about the Fab Four not succeeding in SL & Dhoni and Raina showing the world how to handle Srilanka's spinners I hope people realise the difference between Tests & One-Dayers. It's here I sense a desperate attempt to make the Fab Four seem not as good as they actually are !

  • nirasir on November 11, 2008, 17:48 GMT

    Agree,Australia has lost the series in which they were not the favorites.In the pre-series build-up there was this talk of this team being the first Australian team coming to India with a definite chance of losing the series.Even though India played extremely well,they were allowed to do so by the Aussies.Ponting had realised that they were not the same team any more.His hope was pinned on Lee.But he was the least effective of the lot.The batting was not a problem.Earlier an Australian score of 300 was good enough for there were superior bowlers.

    The change was bound to happen.It could have happened against any team.It was only Australian attitude that was trying to reverse the inevitable.I am confident they will recover from their slump.They will face challenges and overcome them in a way that only they can.

    Can India have the consistency ? Their last series was a loss.Let's see what their next is.

  • S.N.Singh on November 11, 2008, 17:37 GMT

    It is very interesting to learn how win Austrailia has. The wins came as Austrialians was and is in control over the game and officials. Recsently it became known how they played their cricket and win test matches. The harbajan incident has paved the way for people to see that Austrailians were harrasing and provoking cricketers all the years,which noone was paying attention. They winning decreased as this was highlighted. Austrailia has a goog team, but their problem is that they bring out their players too late ( in the 30's). The have to find players in the teens and 20's tob groom them from there. India also have to look for fast bowlers from the country parts. india will be hard to beat, there only and everyone problem is Mendis(S/L). Dhoni is the man for the job. I had mentioned this a long time ago. S.N.

  • chooha1 on November 11, 2008, 17:11 GMT

    Dhoni deserves the credit? Why do I get the impression that everything he achieves there is a desperate attempt to make it look like a fluke. Dhoni is a good player but YOUSUf is AWESOME

  • Mina_Anand on November 11, 2008, 17:02 GMT

    You're quite right Sambit.. I certainly felt that the 'bite was lacking'. That this was not the ruthless Aussies of yore, that pounced on the opposition and called the shots. No doubt, we played good cricket, and didn't allow the opposition to get at us. But, as you said, the 2003-4 series was much much more intense,riveting, and satisfying. Though, I don't agree with Peter Roebuck, when he says India 'stooped to conquer'. That's a typically 'poor loser's' reaction. Forgetting that the Aussies use the low levels of sledging (read abuse) to play their cricket. But then, that's called playing 'hard cricket' ! Full credit to Dhoni, for taking a leaf out of Sourav Ganguly's book - and playing truly tough cricket. It is a pity though, that Ponting's men 'softened their stand'.

  • masterblaster666 on November 11, 2008, 16:27 GMT

    @Marcio: "They haven't won a series outside India for 20 series! It takes more than 1 home series where everything goes your way like clockwork on doctored pitches to be champs."

    Surely you don't imply England 07 was a home series, because that wasn't 20 series before this, you know!!! And stop bitching about doctored pitches because both matches that produced results were played on good batting pitches and the man of the series was a fast bowler. We didn't see any pitch crack up completely the way they used to in the past and that Australia still found the going tough, especially in Mohali, was rather shocking, considering how competitive they were in their previous two visits to India. Anyway, considering that Australia lost in Perth too earlier this year, to hope that a fast pitch would have somehow reversed fortunes is delusional.

  • king1985 on November 11, 2008, 16:12 GMT

    I do not agree with the claim in this article that because India beat the OZs the bar or the standard has been lowered. The claim is baseless, because i can equally argue that India just has set a new standard and higher bar! The way India has devastated a decent Australian side is a remarkable performance. Nevertheless, we must realize now that a number of teams are coming on a higher level of game play. KP's England, Mahila's Srilanka, and ofcourse Dhoni's India. These teams have played hard and worked hard to match the OZ's standards and when they beat the OZ's that does not mean that the OZ's have lowered the bar in being competitive it just means that these teams have set even higher standards of competition. Imagine an Australia / Srilanka contest in such conditions ....what a great contest that would be...with Mendis and Murali spinning Srilanka to victory! The look on Ponting's face would be a treat to watch!

  • KishoreSharma on November 11, 2008, 15:33 GMT

    I do not necesarily agree that this is the feeblest Australian attack to come to India since Kim Hughes' side in 1979. I feel that the 1986 attack was also very weak (McDermott and Reid were nowhere near the bowlers they become and the spin bowling was mediocre). The difference then though was that India did not have the bowlers to capitalize on this and bowl Australia out - they also created very dead wickets throughout the series. The Australian attack in 1998 was also very weak - the spearheads McGrath and Gillespie were missing and Warne was reeling from a shoulder injury. They were hammered by India in the first 2 tests though they did win the third 'dead' test.

    Kishore Sharma

  • DesiPathan on November 11, 2008, 15:04 GMT

    Dhoni deserves the credit?

    Why do I get the impression that everything he achieves there is a desperate attempt to make it look like a fluke.

    either the opposition is said to be on the decline ,or lady luck is credited, or there is a talk of some magic wand which only he posseses.

    The only difference between this australian team and the one in perth was gilchrist.

    India would have lost the match on the fourth day but dhoni rescued it for India.

    A person can get lucky once. In Srilanka "the so called fab four" had no clue about the rookie spinner mendis but dhoni,raina showed the world how to handle him. Maybe that was luck too.

  • RaghuramanR on November 11, 2008, 15:01 GMT

    One of the symbols for the 'global' decline in the standard of cricket has been the standard of 'wicket-keeping'. There has been a deliberate ploy or subversion of the role of 'wicket-keeping' into 'good-enough' wicket-keeping. It started in the one-dayers with people giving importance to wicket-keepers who bat much better than they keep wickets. Gilchrist is a standing example and India also played its part when Dravid could be retained in the team only if he 'doubled' up as a wicket-keeper, though India never went for a 'part-time' wicket-keeper for tests. Gilchrist retirement was definitely hastened by his very blatant errors behind the stumps during his last year in cricket. Infact Ian Chappell in one of the 'round-table's mentioned about 'wicket-keeper' as an all-rounder which obviously baffled people like Gary Sobers (best all-rounder ever, according to many). Yes, the bar is being lowered and there is not much that can be done in this 'age of endorsements and sponsorships'

  • Rajesh. on November 11, 2008, 14:35 GMT

    The bar may have been lowered yes but one series loss doesn't mean its the end of an era of domination.... Australia might win both the Tests against the Kiwis & what can we then make out of that ? So, we don't know, at least as yet, if the bar has been lowered temporarily or if an era has passed ...................Perhaps the most striking thing was the way Australia played in this series and not the end result of 0-2 thats more worrying for them. India has always been a tough place to tour even for the all conquering Aussies and poor team selection, off-color pacemen and a weak spin attack didn't help matters either. Thye might get back to their winning ways once again in the near future, we never know. And India might stumble, we don't know tha too. So, to say it has been the end of an era is too early as other teams first of all have to show the consistency in winning that the Aussies have showed in the past decade or so. Interesting times though.... so let's wait & watch

  • zafargs on November 11, 2008, 14:33 GMT

    Spot On ..The Bar is indeed lowered. The incincibility of Australia had lost even before they landed in India ..Man to Man, the current replacement players for Australian Team can never match the orginal invincibles like Warne, Mcgrath, Gilchrist, Langer, Gillespie ..And looks like Haydos & Punter are missing them & not enjoying the current crop of teammates. I believe Ponting in heart knows that this team is not the same & it reflects in players attitude on the field..The behaviour, the body langauage, the sprint in steps, the chirpiness is all missing from current Aussie team .Though I am DieHard Indian supporter, this win didn't give same satisfaction as Adelaide 4 yrs ago ..Dhoni & Company need not be overconfident after beating world champions ..'coz current Aussie team is World Champion on points ratings based on past performance ..not on field based on current performance..

  • Nampally on November 11, 2008, 14:24 GMT

    A good factual summary of the current world leaders in Cricket. India definitely appear to have taken over this role from the Aussies. There are several contributing factors which may be summarised as: 1. India has the best opening batting pair in the world in Sehwag and Gambhir 2. India has the best captain/WK in the world in Dhoni, a dynamic tactician who unites the team like Barack Obama 3. India has a depth in middle order batting in "Fab 4" who will be replaced by very talented youngsters like Raina, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj, Vijay to name four 4. India has a well balanced bowling in Ishant, Zaheer, Harbhajan, Chawla, Mishra, Ojha, Munaf, & others. 5. The Cricket following in India is the best in the world. With these favourable factors, India is & will be a dominant power. Australian team is rebuilding. With the absence of Symmonds and out of form Haydon and Lee the team was just a shadow of itself. Ponting was a divisive Captain. They were lucky to escape with a 2-0 instead of 4-0

  • Raki99 on November 11, 2008, 14:14 GMT

    Alright Guys I think this australian side lacked that potent bowling attack which is so much needed in the subcontinent, the likes of mcgrath,gillespe and the gretest spinner of alltime warne (some would say that he was not that succesful against india) was not there. Even the batting was not that strong,the retirement of giily has hurt them. But this days will come for india too in the near future,when all their fab five are gone and we have to replace Our Team. That would be the true test for the India and How india have its bench strength ready for the Test. Two already gone,Can't see dravid playing more than year and then laxman and sachin would be needed to be replaced. Will see how india Fares than Very happy with the way India won this series.

  • SanjivSanjiv on November 11, 2008, 14:09 GMT

    I don't agree much with Sambit's write up about Australian cricket going towards recession. Although, they couldn't perform in India (which is difficult for every country playing in India) they will be very hard to beat in Australia. You will judge from the results of Australia - New Zealand series and Australia - South Africa series. Although, the team has declined due to the retirement of the great players but it is still a force and better than most of the teams if not all and would remain so in the future. India has definately improved and South Africa is quite good as well. England is dicey. Let's see what happens when Australia tours South Africa and England. Next eight to 10 months will determine where Australia actually stands in the world cricket. Sanjiv Gupta Perth Australia.

  • nithin_venus on November 11, 2008, 14:03 GMT

    As you said, i too felt Perth win is more special than this series success, I don't want to follow the numbers, I see that Fab Four didn't contribute when India was on back foot -- The situations in Bangalore's first innings and that of Nagpur's second inning's. But for those partnerships b/w Zaheer & Bhajji and Dhoni & Bhajji Australia would have been in strong position.Now since Fab four are going to retire at least now BCCI should stop pampering and pressure players on non-performing.

    I felt that we won the series not because that We outplayed them, but because the Australia couldn't read the conditions. What could have been if "KRAZY" was included right from Mohali Test. I thought the fab four would have falter then itself.

    Also, i want the younger generation to hold their nerve when getting bullied by the opponents especially "Symond's Australia". Yes Symond's Australia, in his book he describes, only after he spelled out something, Bhajji called him Monkey in the Sydney test.

  • aristrocrat on November 11, 2008, 13:59 GMT

    brilliant conclusion.yes indian team outplayed the australians but they have not achieved it by raising the standard of their game but it is because the high standards australia keeps has gone down.dis was the weakest australian team to ever tour india.the indian team at this point in time looks formidable but still no where closer to the team which australia had when they dominated the game.the standard certainly has gone down and the only team which can raise it is australia, i say that because of the cricketing system they hav.india has the talent but australians know how to enhance it and develop a raw talent into a really polished criketer.i bliv australians will comeback and will have a gud team in 2yrs.

  • mani_8005 on November 11, 2008, 13:57 GMT

    Its very ironic that after the very controversial Sydney test,where the Aussies displayed Nil Sportsman Spirit...Australia has either lost or drawn all the matches against India. They have not won a Single match.Moreover, the player at centre of the controversy (Mr Symonds) has been uncermoniusly dropped from Side... Maybe, This is God's way of punishing the guilty & doing poetic justice...

  • gentlemans-game on November 11, 2008, 13:33 GMT

    Not entirely sure if the bar has been lowered. India bludgeoned Austrailia only in Mohali, were incapable of forcing a result in Bangalore or Delhi, and if over-rates truly deserve the importance they've now been given; that (and the resultant Dhoni - Bajji partnership) played an important part at Nagpur too. Let's just be guarded before we praise the Indian team too much, shall we?

    And let's not hurry to conclusions about Australia either. Remember Jason played only at Nagpur, and got a dozen wickets, Lee had a very ordinary series, and they will overcome their batsmen's failures. So while India would like to believe that Mishra, Dhoni, Vijay etc are the best news since sliced bread; consistent performance has eluded the team so far. Let's see what they achieve against England - themselves on a rise under KP.

    So let's wait for a bit before pronouncing judgement. Premature conclusions on where the bar has moved to will only lead to hiccups.

  • Percy_Fender on November 11, 2008, 13:32 GMT

    It is too early to talk of Austraia no longer being the force they were. I am sure that this very team will excel in England in the next Ashes series and before that, against South Africa at home.I feel that Brett Lee not being the force he normally is, is because of his personal problems.Besides, I feel that the taller fast bowlers like Magrath, Gillespie and Kasprovich are more suited for the conditions here. Lee and Johnson do not have it and Cark was not at his fittest.Krejza is a great bowler in the making I think if he can get the ball to drift. He could be a match winner because he seems to have the quality of picking up wickets in clusters. I for one woud be watching his progress quite closely. He can be very successful if encouraged by his captain.In short, even if we get to the top spot I still have faith in Australia. The Bollingers and the Noffkes and the Norths have to be brought in soon though.

  • Marcio on November 11, 2008, 13:24 GMT

    It would have been a very different series if Ausralia had won three of the four tosses. On these wickets the winner of the toss can sit back and dictate the game - dead wickets where no team scored less than 400 in the whole series in the first innings. I think India is getting carried away. After the 1st test it was always Australia who had to take risks to win, who had to try something different because they were always chasing deficits. It might pay to recall that the last test and the first were almost identical, except that in the first India was in danger of losing going into the fourth innings, so shut up shop. In the last test Australia had to take risks in the fourth inings, and try to chase an impossible target. The loss was inevitable under those conditions, going into the last day.

    India is number one? They haven't won a series outside India for 20 series! It takes more than 1 home series where everything goes your way like clockwork on doctored pitches to be champs.

  • donthaveaclue on November 11, 2008, 13:23 GMT

    Sure, the series exposed some vulnerabilities in the Aussies, but that was only expected in the post-Mcgrath and Warne era. What was more noticable was how both teams resorted to some ordinary tactics in trying to gain the upper hand. Test cricket needs some safeguards against negative play to ensure that viewers don't feel cheated by teams looking to protect leads. I've blooged about some suggested rule-changes on outsideedge.wordpress.com

  • futurecaptainofindia on November 11, 2008, 13:19 GMT

    I would like to go back to a comment by an ex-Australian, not sure if it was Bob Simpson or Ian Chappel, when in 2003-04, OZ was probably at the peak of its powers.

    The Aussie great had spared no praise in hailing the work of the "Aussie system", which according to him was perfect in every sense. He went a step further to claim that an Australian Second 11 would be the 2nd best team in the world. Going by the toothless performance of the Aussie bowlers (particularly Brett Lee, no wonder he didn't get a game in India prior to this series) and the sporadic shows by Hayden, Clarke and the legendary Ricky Ponting, I think even the Frank Worell trophy will be up for grabs in the very near future.

    Where is this rather outspoken Kangaroo hiding?

  • Dogevpr2 on November 11, 2008, 13:06 GMT

    Forget "bar being lowered". It's time to focus on the IOC's President Rogge's anti-British,anti-Indian position of excluding cricket from the Olympics.We must insist that there is adequate representation by everyone in the Olympics.Cricket2012Games.com seems to be the only ones who see this clearly.

  • SOLI on November 11, 2008, 12:46 GMT

    Azs nemesis at Nagpur! Though the genesis of Aussies debacle has started from the drubbing at Kotla, Nagpur has provided the proverbial last nail in the coffin to square up the hallmark of the grandest of victories over the potential rival. Khallas! The era of moving with the label of being the unrivalled world champion has come to a screeching halt for Aussies, with the new cricketing equations, the India ways! Certainly, with this defeat and the kind of overall dismal performance that Aussies have put up in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy Series, Aussies & Co would sit up and seriously poring over the reconstitution of the Team wholly and solely. Many head can be rolled, even Ponting, Hayden and Hussey who were almost off-color with the speedsters like Lee and Johnson proved toothless. In comparison, Zaheer, Ishant and Bhajji and of course the new guy Mishra proved with both balls and bats in their individual capacity as and when India was in dire need of. And in this particular conte

  • masterblaster666 on November 11, 2008, 12:31 GMT

    Well, the bar being lowered or not depends on what standards the other teams set too. India and South Africa have nicely balanced outfits - er, SA should address their spin blind spot though- and I would forward England's case too if debacles like the Stanford one didn't make me err on the side of caution! It was West Indies and Pakistan who set standards in the 80s and up to the mid 90s, while Australia picked up the pieces and rebuilt. So, it may not be upto Australia to set standards for the rest. On the other hand, it may well be: Shaun Marsh waits in the wings and maybe wonderkid Shaun Tait will start living up to his potential. In a nutshell, I don't think teams will be lulled into complacency purely because of any lapses on Aus's part; they are busy competing with each other anyway.

  • dravidgood on November 11, 2008, 12:20 GMT

    Huh...thank god..first article/supposition that is ready to spare Dhoni of an otherwise unwarrented burden of now leading a side which has supposedly defeated the "CHAMPION" (pardon the sleazy stunt), comprehensivey 2-0. He should know better than anyone what has gone into the makings of the 2-0 result..Good tosses won, stop-start Hayden and yes, invariably a pretty ordinary bowling attack. The fact is that the OZ are no more the team to beat - not by a mile in the Indian conditions. Afterall, with Mendis and Murali around, who would dare to predict a Sri Lanka loss in India at the moment(not to remind that we lost just 2 month ago to them). The sad part however, is that the inevitable has occured - The Aussie juggernaut has now stopped, much to the dismay and loath of yours truly. The only good thing out would be that the Ashes would be level fought now, or wait a minute - in light of the resurgance under KP, would that deny us from a series that would have been worth its hype/name..?

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  • dravidgood on November 11, 2008, 12:20 GMT

    Huh...thank god..first article/supposition that is ready to spare Dhoni of an otherwise unwarrented burden of now leading a side which has supposedly defeated the "CHAMPION" (pardon the sleazy stunt), comprehensivey 2-0. He should know better than anyone what has gone into the makings of the 2-0 result..Good tosses won, stop-start Hayden and yes, invariably a pretty ordinary bowling attack. The fact is that the OZ are no more the team to beat - not by a mile in the Indian conditions. Afterall, with Mendis and Murali around, who would dare to predict a Sri Lanka loss in India at the moment(not to remind that we lost just 2 month ago to them). The sad part however, is that the inevitable has occured - The Aussie juggernaut has now stopped, much to the dismay and loath of yours truly. The only good thing out would be that the Ashes would be level fought now, or wait a minute - in light of the resurgance under KP, would that deny us from a series that would have been worth its hype/name..?

  • masterblaster666 on November 11, 2008, 12:31 GMT

    Well, the bar being lowered or not depends on what standards the other teams set too. India and South Africa have nicely balanced outfits - er, SA should address their spin blind spot though- and I would forward England's case too if debacles like the Stanford one didn't make me err on the side of caution! It was West Indies and Pakistan who set standards in the 80s and up to the mid 90s, while Australia picked up the pieces and rebuilt. So, it may not be upto Australia to set standards for the rest. On the other hand, it may well be: Shaun Marsh waits in the wings and maybe wonderkid Shaun Tait will start living up to his potential. In a nutshell, I don't think teams will be lulled into complacency purely because of any lapses on Aus's part; they are busy competing with each other anyway.

  • SOLI on November 11, 2008, 12:46 GMT

    Azs nemesis at Nagpur! Though the genesis of Aussies debacle has started from the drubbing at Kotla, Nagpur has provided the proverbial last nail in the coffin to square up the hallmark of the grandest of victories over the potential rival. Khallas! The era of moving with the label of being the unrivalled world champion has come to a screeching halt for Aussies, with the new cricketing equations, the India ways! Certainly, with this defeat and the kind of overall dismal performance that Aussies have put up in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy Series, Aussies & Co would sit up and seriously poring over the reconstitution of the Team wholly and solely. Many head can be rolled, even Ponting, Hayden and Hussey who were almost off-color with the speedsters like Lee and Johnson proved toothless. In comparison, Zaheer, Ishant and Bhajji and of course the new guy Mishra proved with both balls and bats in their individual capacity as and when India was in dire need of. And in this particular conte

  • Dogevpr2 on November 11, 2008, 13:06 GMT

    Forget "bar being lowered". It's time to focus on the IOC's President Rogge's anti-British,anti-Indian position of excluding cricket from the Olympics.We must insist that there is adequate representation by everyone in the Olympics.Cricket2012Games.com seems to be the only ones who see this clearly.

  • futurecaptainofindia on November 11, 2008, 13:19 GMT

    I would like to go back to a comment by an ex-Australian, not sure if it was Bob Simpson or Ian Chappel, when in 2003-04, OZ was probably at the peak of its powers.

    The Aussie great had spared no praise in hailing the work of the "Aussie system", which according to him was perfect in every sense. He went a step further to claim that an Australian Second 11 would be the 2nd best team in the world. Going by the toothless performance of the Aussie bowlers (particularly Brett Lee, no wonder he didn't get a game in India prior to this series) and the sporadic shows by Hayden, Clarke and the legendary Ricky Ponting, I think even the Frank Worell trophy will be up for grabs in the very near future.

    Where is this rather outspoken Kangaroo hiding?

  • donthaveaclue on November 11, 2008, 13:23 GMT

    Sure, the series exposed some vulnerabilities in the Aussies, but that was only expected in the post-Mcgrath and Warne era. What was more noticable was how both teams resorted to some ordinary tactics in trying to gain the upper hand. Test cricket needs some safeguards against negative play to ensure that viewers don't feel cheated by teams looking to protect leads. I've blooged about some suggested rule-changes on outsideedge.wordpress.com

  • Marcio on November 11, 2008, 13:24 GMT

    It would have been a very different series if Ausralia had won three of the four tosses. On these wickets the winner of the toss can sit back and dictate the game - dead wickets where no team scored less than 400 in the whole series in the first innings. I think India is getting carried away. After the 1st test it was always Australia who had to take risks to win, who had to try something different because they were always chasing deficits. It might pay to recall that the last test and the first were almost identical, except that in the first India was in danger of losing going into the fourth innings, so shut up shop. In the last test Australia had to take risks in the fourth inings, and try to chase an impossible target. The loss was inevitable under those conditions, going into the last day.

    India is number one? They haven't won a series outside India for 20 series! It takes more than 1 home series where everything goes your way like clockwork on doctored pitches to be champs.

  • Percy_Fender on November 11, 2008, 13:32 GMT

    It is too early to talk of Austraia no longer being the force they were. I am sure that this very team will excel in England in the next Ashes series and before that, against South Africa at home.I feel that Brett Lee not being the force he normally is, is because of his personal problems.Besides, I feel that the taller fast bowlers like Magrath, Gillespie and Kasprovich are more suited for the conditions here. Lee and Johnson do not have it and Cark was not at his fittest.Krejza is a great bowler in the making I think if he can get the ball to drift. He could be a match winner because he seems to have the quality of picking up wickets in clusters. I for one woud be watching his progress quite closely. He can be very successful if encouraged by his captain.In short, even if we get to the top spot I still have faith in Australia. The Bollingers and the Noffkes and the Norths have to be brought in soon though.

  • gentlemans-game on November 11, 2008, 13:33 GMT

    Not entirely sure if the bar has been lowered. India bludgeoned Austrailia only in Mohali, were incapable of forcing a result in Bangalore or Delhi, and if over-rates truly deserve the importance they've now been given; that (and the resultant Dhoni - Bajji partnership) played an important part at Nagpur too. Let's just be guarded before we praise the Indian team too much, shall we?

    And let's not hurry to conclusions about Australia either. Remember Jason played only at Nagpur, and got a dozen wickets, Lee had a very ordinary series, and they will overcome their batsmen's failures. So while India would like to believe that Mishra, Dhoni, Vijay etc are the best news since sliced bread; consistent performance has eluded the team so far. Let's see what they achieve against England - themselves on a rise under KP.

    So let's wait for a bit before pronouncing judgement. Premature conclusions on where the bar has moved to will only lead to hiccups.

  • mani_8005 on November 11, 2008, 13:57 GMT

    Its very ironic that after the very controversial Sydney test,where the Aussies displayed Nil Sportsman Spirit...Australia has either lost or drawn all the matches against India. They have not won a Single match.Moreover, the player at centre of the controversy (Mr Symonds) has been uncermoniusly dropped from Side... Maybe, This is God's way of punishing the guilty & doing poetic justice...