Australia look mortal as Ashes approach
|Marcus North returns to form with a ton|
After Australia had lost the first Test against India in Mohali, many English cricket fans are wondering whether to clap their hands in glee or to take the cautious “they’re Australia, they can do anything” approach. For me, it is certainly the latter. India is a particularly tricky place to tour, with pitches that tend to be low and slow; the complete opposite of the hard and fast tracks in Australia. However, the Aussies are notoriously good at adapting to conditions quickly and this has been shown in the second Test in Bangalore, where they amassed 478 all out in their first innings. Marcus North, who proved to be a thorn in England’s side in the previous Ashes series, scored 128, with Shane Watson, Tim Paine and skipper Ricky Ponting notching up 50s apiece.
This is why England fans should temper their Ashes enthusiasm. If England have a good day, Australia are more than capable of adapting and beating England down in the other four days. Never underestimate the power of a wounded animal, and when Australia are down, this is when they play their most dangerous and fighting cricket.
In previous Ashes tours in Australia of recent times, England have looked clueless to the sheer might of the Australians. It was like throwing a child into the lions’ den with no weapon with which to defend himself. This tour, I believe, is England’s best chance of winning away since I’ve been alive. This time, the child has matured into a man who has a weapon with which to defend himself against the lions. This weapon, in my opinion, is Graeme Swann, where the turning wicket of Sidney will suit him best.
Many pundits agree that Australia’s weak point is their bowling attack. I have to agree, but I also believe that England’s bowling attack isn’t the best possible. What England lack, is that talismanic figure, a paceman, who can be called upon in times of need to lift spirits. Without a Flintoff-esque man in the team, this is where others can be called to become that hero. Indeed, history has shown that the quickest way to win Down Under is to unearth a menacing fast bowler in the mould of Harold Larwood or Frank Tyson.
Both teams batting line ups seem pretty solid. On Australian wickets, I predict there to be a run fest this winter, with both sides filling their boots. Where the Tests will be won, will be down to the bowlers and whether or not they have the ability to take twenty wickets each game. At this moment in time, it’s anybody's game.