The Aussie cricket team has created huge headaches for anyone trying to gauge their form over the past month in an attempt to pick results in their matches. The only consistency to their performances has been in their inconsistency.
They recently arrived in South Africa as fairly large underdogs to win the test series which was fair enough after losing at home to the Proteas just a month earlier. They had managed to claim the third test which was a dead rubber, but no one seriously thought that meant they had turned things around and were ready to bounce back.
Which they of course did as soon as they arrived in South Africa where their performances in the first two tests saw them cement their number one test ranking and claim a series win.
Heading into the third test you’d have been forgiven for thinking the Aussies were back and the Africans may have been a little down.
It soon became apparent this was not the case as the South Africans were the ones to come out firing and salvage some pride in a dead rubber on their own soil.
Which left things fairly evenly poised heading into the one day series. There were of course a couple of 20-20 games but I don’t think anyone really uses those as any sort of form guide to a full one day series. The only form you could really take into account was South Africa’s 4-1 win against the Aussies in the one day series in Australia…but as the tests had shown this wasn’t necessarily the best guide.
So when Australia smashed the Proteas in the first game, there were many who thought we were seeing the Aussies back to their best – their third test loss was just a come down and they had regrouped and were ready to take back their number one ranking in the shorter version of the game.
Which they weren’t.
Since that first loss the South African bowling attack have managed to tear shreds through the Aussie top order, and even the public urgings of captain Ponting have done nothing to drive the top five to the performances required to win matches consistently.
The second match saw Australia score it’s lowest total in thirty years – but even that embarrassment was not enough spark them into form and they have now lost three in a row and the series to boot.
So to recap the past few months in Australian cricket against South Africa…
We were favourites to take the test series at home…and lost.
We were fairly even to claim the one day series at home…and got punished
We were underdogs to win the away test series…and won.
We were favourites to claim the one day series away after our first win..and haven’t looked close to winning since.
If you’re a punter and you can work out a pattern for all of that good luck to you.
So what does this all mean for the Aussie cricket team going forward?
Obviously our one day form is poor at the moment and we are set to play a one day series against Pakistan in the UAE immediately after this tour so there needs to be some improvement if we are to win that.
The most worrying thing is the Ashes. If we can maintain our form from the first two tests in South Africa where our inexperienced bowling attack were magnificent, then we will have no problems. But that’s the problem with lack of experience…it generally brings with it a lack of consistency.
This in turn creates extra pressure on the top order to get the job done and at the moment this is just not happening. Luckily two of the form batsmen from the tests, Katich and Hughes will come back in at the top but there needs to be some support from the likes of Hussey, Clarke and Ponting. Hopefully they find their touch again in the next couple of months so we can avoid similar scenes to 2005.
As an Aussie who was over in the British Isles in 2005 when we lost the Ashes I can honestly say it was not the best time to be living with a Pom.