David Warner’s dismissal in the last Sri Lanka-Australia test was one of the weirdest dismissals one can ever imagine to see in the game.
It happened when Dilruwan Perera, the right arm finger spinner, was bowling to the Southpaw.
Perera was bowling over the wicket and Warner was pretty sure that his delivery had fallen outside the leg stick and even if it was going to hit him on the pads after turning, there was no danger of an LBW. So, he anticipated the turn and tried to pad it away.
But, it was actually a skidder from Perera which had landed on the leather part of the ball and so, rather than turning and going towards the middle and off which it would have done if it had landed on the seam, it held the angle it was bowled from and hit the leg stick.
Warner was batting in his sixties at that time and it was the first occasion on the tour that he had gone past the half century mark. In fact, it was the first 50-plus score he had put in front of his name in the last 9 test innings he had played.
After absolutely dominating the World Cup, the Australian players have set their eyes on Ashes now and they are almost certain that they would end up retaining the urn in UK this summer.
Steve Smith, One of Australia’s many World Cup heroes, sounded pretty ruthless the other day during his interview to an Indian daily about Ashes.
According to Smith, if the current compositions of the two teams i.e. Australia and England are compared, the former looks much better.
Australia has not been able to win an Ashes series in England for a long, long time and thus, the desperateness of their players to break the ice this time around can be understood.
But, despite having a very strong squad, it would not be that straightforward a task for the Kangaroos to beat England in England and the simple reason for that is the playing conditions.
The overhead conditions in England would always be tricky and to add to that, the surfaces would not be as quick as the Aussies are used to play on.
To get the wickets, the bowlers will have to rely more on swing than pace and that’s where, one might think, the Three Lions are slightly ahead.
For the first time in the last 3 months, the Australian test team is in a spot of bother. It seems they will have to chase down a huge target to win the second test match against South Africa.
When the play ended on the third day, the Kangaroos were down by more than 360 runs.
South Africa still has plenty of wickets in hand. So, they would surely go after the bowling in the first session tomorrow and would try to post the visitors a target of about 500.
With the pitch crumbling, it would not be easy for the Aussies to get to that target or even survive for 5 sessions to save the test match.
Australia would have come to Port Elizabeth hoping for their 7th consecutive test win this season, but, a dedicated South African side has outplayed them in every department at least in the first 3 days.
Now, if the Kangaroos have to come back into the match from this situation, at least a couple of their players need to put in extraordinary effort.
The kind of player and individual Michael Clarke is; he would not have given up even after getting behind this much. He is a very positive captain and he would still have the belief that his team can pull it off.
But, the matches at this level aren’t won just with sheer belief. Determination and concentration are also needed. The Australian players will have to grind their way through in the last two days if they have to win or even save this match.
The performance of the top order would be the key for Australia because if they lose early wickets again, South Africa’s chances of winning would increase significantly.
The former opening batsman of the Australian cricket team, Matthew Hayden, has said that the Aussies are fully capable of winning the upcoming Ashes series in England.
After Australia’s defeat in the test series against India, many cricket experts and former cricketers are saying that the current Australian team hasn’t got the ability to defeat England under its home conditions. But, Hayden who played more than 100 test matches for Australia has a different opinion.
When he was asked about the chances of Australia in the upcoming Ashes series, he said, “If we live up to our potential, there is no reason why we can’t win in England. There is enough quality in our squad.”
“I don’t think England will take us lightly at all. We have got a bunch of very talented cricketers and we can surprise them in their home conditions.”
“If you go on current form, then, yes, England has a better chance of winning the Ashes. They have won in different conditions in the last 1 year or so and they are currently the more confident team. But, Ashes is a huge tournament for us and we will go hard at them.”
“A few years back in 2005, we were the favourites to win the Ashes, but, England surprised us with their pace attack. We can do the same this time around. We have a brilliant pace attack at the moment and in English conditions, our pacers can surely do a lot of damage.”
When asked about the appointment of Brad Haddin as the vice-captain of the test team, Hayden said, “It’s a good move. He is an experienced player and a fine leader. He has captained New South Wales in a few matches and he hasn’t done a bad job at all. So, I think he was the right man to be appointed as Michael Clarke’s deputy.”