England proved not to be an immovable object as Australia, the irresistible force, blew them away as it had Pakistan. In the context of the Brisbane Test match , the drubbing that Pakistan had received at the hands of Australia seemed more palatable.
Nasser Hussain has taken full responsibility for the daft decision to put Australia in after winning the toss. I don't think it would have altered the result nor the margin of defeat. Instead of losing by a whopping 384 runs, England would have lost by an innings. A team has to be twice as good to beat Australia at home. And England is only half that good!
Australia has so much depth on the bench that it could field two teams, either of whom would beat all comers. Normally a winning team is left unchanged but the dilemma for the selectors is no ordinary one. They will have to decide on whether the captain is good enough to be in the team as a player.
Steve Waugh is still the same, ruthless captain but does he come into the team as a batsman?
He was saved by the bell, as it were, by a timely century against Pakistan at Sharjah but he looked far from convincing at Brisbane and scratched around. It would not surprise me if he is dropped.
The Australians do not believe in carrying passengers, even if he is the captain and I also feel that Hussain's days may be numbered if England get whitewashed.
England, of course, has been desperately unlucky. Graham Thorpe has had to pull out for personal reasons and this leaves the middle order unguarded. Darren Gough and Andrew Flintoff brought their injuries with them and Gough is out of the series and Flintoff did field as a substitute, so there may be some good news on that front. The injury to Simon Jones will keep him out of cricket for about six months, if not more.
But England's main worry is batting and it misses someone like Mike Atherton badly, someone who can get stuck in. But Australia has too much fire-power and even Brett Lee, Australia's Shoaib Akhtar, cannot find a place in the playing eleven.
Though I was surprised that less than a fully fit Gillespie was played and he bowled only three overs in England's first innings though to his credit and for the tough Australian policy, he did not leave the field. He was used sparingly in the second innings but delivered. But he was not needed for Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne were enough to rout England to wrap up the test match with a day to spare.
I write this after two days of Pakistan's Test match against Zimbabwe and as matters stand, Pakistan has a slight edge. But once again, the Pakistan batsmen showed that they had much to learn about batting as a team.
Pakistan was on course to get a big first innings score but squandered the opportunity by its, as usual, cavalier batting. Both Inzamam-ul-Haq and Yousuf Youhana who have been out of cricket for some time, looked to settling in nicely but both were out to needless, careless shots and Hasan Raza who batted with great determination ran out of partners.
The lower order made no attempt to hang in there to support Hasan. 285 was a poor score against an attack whose main virtue was reasonably good line and length.
The Pakistan batsmen need a crash course on how to build an innings as a team. All they need to do is to follow the example of Zimbabwe's batsmen.
Zimbabwe lost early wickets including a highly dubious decision against Andy Flower but such tenacity was shown the late-order batsmen that the Pakistan lead was whittled down to only 60. While Andy Blignaut got a breezy half century even Henry Olonga hung around while Tatenda Taibu reached his half century, an innings that brought immense joy to the school-children who had been brought to see the match.
Saleem Elahi has failed in both the innings, getting out in identical fashion which can only mean that there is a huge fault in his technique and one hopes that Hanif Mohammad the batting coach, will take him to the nets and get the fault rectified. But it's too early to write about this match which should, in theory, still be in progress when this column gets in print.
India will have to do something about crowd trouble. It can do so by winning for the crowd won't hurl bottles if the home team is doing well. But, both at Jamshedpur and Nagpur, there were some hooligan elements in the crowd who seem bent on disrupting the match when the home team looked to be losing.
I would have imagined that there would have been closed circuit television and the trouble-makers could have easily been identified. There is a secondary consideration. Cricket is hyped up so much and made an integral part of national pride that losing becomes unacceptable.
Already some television commercials have started to appear that are marketing or merchandising 'national pride' ahead of the World Cup. This puts undue pressure on the team.
More security on the grounds is not helpful. Why should the majority of the public be penalised? But something drastic has to be done. We don't want cricket to follow the football path. We accept that there are football hooligans. Will we have to accept that there are cricket goondas and miscreants?
The media, particularly, must come down hard on this kind of trouble-making. And the ground authorities should arrest the very first man who throws a bottle and cart him off to jail.
On a more pleasant not, it is good to see that the West Indies is beginning to get their act together.
There is still no Brian Lara but quite a few of the young batsmen are coming off, Chris Gayle, Wavell Hinds, Marlon Samuls and Ramnaresh Sarwan are getting in to the groove. Throw in Lara and the West Indies will become a contender in the World Cup.