Jrod: Australia shuffle the pack and come up trumps

In the Boxing Day Test, Australia had a line up of Hayden, Katich, Ponting, Hussey, Clarke, Symonds, Haddin, Lee, Johnson, Hauritz and Siddle. South Africa took their lunch money.

For the series-clinching win in Durban it was: Hughes, Katich, Ponting, Hussey, Clarke, North, Haddin, McDonald, Johnson, Siddle and Hilfenhaus. South Africa were left bruised and asking for their mummy.

Four new players, South Africa had the same 11 players for the first five Tests (which is a feat in Test cricket).

Look at the players who are gone: Matthew Hayden, Brett Lee, Nathan Hauritz and Andrew Symonds.

Hayden was past his use by date and Phillip Hughes was smashing down the door without grace, but with lots of force.

Lee was unfit, underweight, and heartbroken; Ben Hilfenhaus was averaging under 20 with the ball for Tasmania.

Hauritz was a club spinner, Andrew McDonald may not be a world-class Test bowler but he has brought more control to the side.

Symonds went from Australia’s go-to batsman, to a hobbled, drunken distraction. Marcus North came in and gave Australia a sea of calm.

With the exception of Hauritz, the three others are former marquee men. They were capable of changing results of Tests, possessors of superhuman skills and players who were important parts of the old regime.

Australia was backing them as class acts, as proven performers, as good ol’ boys. The selectors barked the oft-heard phrase, “form is temporary, class is permanent”.

Apparently class is temporary; sometimes age, injury and life get in the way.

Once the team was changed, and along with it a new defensive attitude, this team has been transformed, a lot quicker than any level-headed expert would have thought.

This is now Ricky Ponting’s team, it’s fresh and bereft of champions but it is winning against the team that everyone thought was going to become the No.1 side in the world.

Michael Hussey might have done a Jimmy Adams with his average, (31 over the last 12 months) but can be replaced with someone in form or find his mojo. Lee is finally fit and sounds mentally right, Stuart Clark will be back soon and Andrew McDonald is still in the side.

No team should be able to win three straight Tests with Andrew McDonald in it.

When a team is performing like this and has a lot of improvement in them, it is bound to give the chills to a few teams the world over.

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10 Responses to Jrod: Australia shuffle the pack and come up trumps

  1. D Charlton says:

    I am scared about the Ashes. The Aussies have recovered from their dip already. England are still trying to recover from their post 1970s dip.

  2. Gumbo says:

    Lee, Johnson, Siddle, Clark. Suddenly Australia’s bowling is looking mean again. I’m beginning to wonder if England will win a Test in 2009.

  3. Hofstadter says:

    Lee’s a broken-down carthorse who averages 40.61 against England; Johnson’s wrist position on delivery is an accident waiting to happen; Siddle was one of Ponting’s “passengers” at Perth when South Africa chased 414; Stuart Clarke, at almost 34, is still a poor man’s McGrath. And what the eff is Andrew McDonald?!

    Let’s talk about Australia for what they are, rather than psych ourselves out before the summer, eh…

  4. Gumbo says:

    Or: Lee’s back refreshed and ready to return to being the best fast bowler in the world, as he was in the 12 months prior to his injury; Johnson is learning very quickly in the Test arena (much faster than Stuart Broad), swings it and has a lethal bouncer; Siddle was straight and fast in Joburg and Durban after only a handful of Tests; Clark is a poor-man’s McGrath but that doesn’t stop him being pretty tricky in English conditions.

  5. jrod says:

    Hof, Since being a passenger Siddle has taken 23 wickets in 4 matches at 18, against South Africa.

  6. ken says:

    At your peril write off the aussies. They have now won 3 in a row against a side that is far superior to anything the poms can put together. Three months ago the aussies were being written off. But the worlds best breeding ground for test players has once again produced.
    In the mean time the poms have lost two test series,a captain, a coach and the ECB are in turmoil. Oh and you cant work out what to do with Panesar and someone else wants to know where he stands! Can someone tell him – Grow a heart and find out where off stump is. Roll on the Ashes!! With a bit of of luck Bell will be reinstated (why!?!) and Prior will have a very, very straight fine leg in place. In kids cricket they call it a long stop! LOL
    “Lets talk about Australia for what they are, rather than psych ourselves out before the summer,eh”…er…um…oh no…they are going to smash us again!!!!

  7. Hofstadter says:

    @Jrod: Let’s call it a score draw on Siddle then (he bowled like a drain in India too). He certainly looks like a mongrel – we’ll see if he bowls like one in English conditions.

    @Gimbo: You say tomayto… I refer you back to my previous diagnosis. Lee was the best fast bowler in the world for about as long as Steve Harmison was, in the grand scheme of things. And Siddle and Johnson have merely feasted on South Africa’s pusillanimity.

    @ken: An Englishman (“they are going to smash us”) who refers to himself as a pom – clearly some self-esteem issues at work there.

  8. Gumbo says:

    Hostadter. What the Rikki Clarke does pusillanimity mean? Where’s my dictionary? Ah. Lack of courage. So if Siddle and Johnson can feast on it against South Africa, why can’t they against England?

  9. Hofstadter says:

    South Africa fear greatness, Gimbo. England are not cowards, they are simply overly deferential. And the sooner they begin to treat Aussie bowlers like the grade cricketers they outwardly appear to be, the better.

  10. Gumbo says:

    Hof, tell that to Ian Bell and Owais Shah. Which is why Bopara needs to play – he appears fearless. Even Hilfenhous is looking a little bit good.