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Dream Team

The ultimate Test XI to beat Steve Waugh's side in Australia

Our experts pick a team from the 1999-2004 period that could have challenged the unstoppable Aussies

Sreshth Shah
Sreshth Shah
In this episode of Dream Team, we go back to the years when Steve Waugh's Australia dominated world cricket, specifically between 1999 and 2004, when he was captain. The task at hand: to pick a team from that era that could beat Australia in Australia in a Test series. Taking up the challenge are Sambit Bal, ESPNcricinfo's editor in chief, and senior editors Osman Samiuddin and Andrew Miller.
Vaughan, Sehwag, Anwar or AN Other?
Which two openers of that period succeeded against Glenn McGrath, Michael Kasprowicz and Jason Gillespie? Virender Sehwag's 195 at the MCG came against an Australia side that did not feature McGrath or Shane Warne, and Graeme Smith didn't play in Australia before 2005. Marcus Trescothick, Gary Kirsten and Saeed Anwar make strong cases, but eventually the selectors went for the two men who always lifted their game against the Aussies.
A million-dollar middle order
The early 2000s were a great time for batting. Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman were superb for India. So were Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Brian Lara, Ramnaresh Sarwan for West Indies, and Inzamam-ul-Haq, Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf for Pakistan. There are also Jacques Kallis, Mahela Jayawardene, Andy Flower and Nathan Astle to consider. Small problem: you can only pick four.
Picking the lone spinner from a golden generation
Six supreme spinners - Muttiah Muralitharan, Danish Kaneria, Saqlain Mushtaq, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh and Daniel Vettori - all operated in the same period, but the idea of fielding two spinners in Australia has never really worked. And the selectors also had to decide between fingerspin and wristspin.

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo