The South African won the greatest One Day played till date. What does the test series has in store for us, cricket buff remains to be seen? There was a marked period after last World Cup, during with the South African cricket seemed to be sloping downward. They did not seem to be the number two team, the status that they had earned since their re-admission into cricket in 1991-92 seasons. The period 2003-2004 was awful. The Aussie last time went on to beat them 6 matches home and away included. I remember Adam Gilchrist hitting run a ball double century in a series held in Australia. The Aussies won that 3-Nil beating South Africa in South Africa.
This time it is it different. The Aussie does not have the services of a Glen McGrath. He was not there for two matches in the Ashes and they were forced to give up the Ashes for first time in two decades. The Aussies rely on McGrath and Warne too much and the second string bowling is not that penetrative on long-term basis. The Indian showed that during their last tour down under. There was no McGrath and no Warne and the Aussie attack looked ordinary at best.
The batting arena is also a bit shaky with Matthew Hayden on a bit of plateau. There is a certain Justin Langer who turn around things was soon. It will be interesting to see what Ponting does with his bat. He had a graphite-lined bat. Don’t ask what this is about. However, he was using a bat, which was conflicting with the rules of the game. In the last two seasons he had score nearly 3700 runs with that. The Aussies have an Adam Gilchrist in their ranks. The records show that Aussies have never lost a match in which Gilchrist has score a century. I will be looking forward to watch Gilchrist. The Aussie middle order will rally around Damien Martyn, who is a very touch player.
The Aussie bowling line up never looked potent enough with out McGrath. I am hopeful that Graeme Smith scores well. It is very important for South African point that he scores. Jacques Kallis is looking a bit ordinary and need to make some runs. Their middle order looks a little concerned of spin bowling. Shane Warne bowled great spells in a series against West Indies. He had a very good last year. I am not sure if Pollock looks hundred percent fit. He is a very good opening bowler and just might be the difference between the two teams.
The weather often plays a big part in the series in South Africa. It often provides the back door escape route to home team. The pitches are very lively and the first session is very important to the team batting first.
The battle lines have been redrawn and the first Day of the test series may decide which way the series is head.