Monday, January 12, 2009

India, South Africa & England!

Well the post title might not give you a clear idea as to what does one mean by the title. But, people, please have some patience, for more thrill is yet to come. Hmm..keeping all those guess works apart, the three teams that have been named in the post title are the ones that have defeated the Australian team when it was topping ICC test ratings. This has been from the day India beat Australia in the Border Gavaskar trophy 2008 and it went deeper in my minds when even South Africa beat them (Aussies) in their own backyard. And one more team that beat Australia off late is England way back in 2005, in the Ashes that yer by a margin 2-1. It is only these three teams who have enjoyed the distinction of having beaten Australia between 2003 till date.

My doubt is which one holds a better place in the minds of the cricket fans? For, none of these victories are mean achievements. First, let us take the Ashes victory of England need to mention. Positives being that England beat the Australian team that was in full swing in 2005. At that time England had even whitewashed other teams like New Zealand(3-0), West Indies (4-0 & 3-0), Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. So, that is enough to show that even England was in full swing as was Australia. And another aspect being that, the then Australian team had Shane Warne in his glorious form. However, Glenn McGrath was fortunately absent for both the matches that England won. And England won both the matches by a whisker. The second match by 2 runs, and the fourth one by 3 wickets (with the target being just 130). And as a matter of fact, Australia won the first match by 239 runs. However, the third and the fifth tests were dominated by England, when they had a first innings lead in both the games.

Next on the list comes team India, who have defeated Australia more than anyone else (between 2003-till date). India have beaten Australia five times as compared to two each by England and South Africa. In 2003, India displayed a team effort, with all the batsmen in Sehwag,Laxman, Sachin,Ganguly and Dravid were equally excellent, and with the spin combo of Anil & Harbhajan to support them. India, in that series, had also almost pulled off a win at Sydney too. However, things were cool for India, for Glenn McGrath never featured in that series. Shane Warne however was of little worry for the Indian batsmen. Then, when India won the fourth test at Nagpur, India had already lost the series in 2004 (when Oz visited India in Oct 2004), and the margin of victory was very small (13 runs). Though India had an upper hand in the second test at Chennai, which was drawn owing to rains on the fifth day, when India needed 239 runs to win with 10 wickets in hand. One thing that is to be thought about is "Would have Australia lost the fourth test, had it lost the second one at Chennai?"The factor is still not clear.

The third one, ie the Perth test victory was somewhat better, for it was in Australia and India were under pressure after the Sydney test episode. Still, that was the beginning of the end of Aussie dominance. Then, in the recent B-G trophy, in addition to Australia's decline and the absence of Glenn McGrath & Shane Warne, India were playing Oz at home, which is an added advantage. With these factors, India should have won the series 4-0. Anyway, good that India never lost a test match. Then comes the third team South Africa, who have beaten the Aussies at their own backyard. But still, this was also against a declining Australian team, with the aforementioned match winners absent, and the remaining batsmen out of form. It is confusing to say. Is it Australia who lost or, was it South Africa who won? For, when Australia were in their winning days, all that South Africa could afford to was to grab a draw in the first test in Nov 2005. Then, SA lost 5 out of 6 tests to Oz. And, now, when things have cooled down, SA are making every opportunity count, to make history.

At the end, keeping the advantages and drawbacks that the teams had,according to me, it is not able to differentiate which team's victory against Australia was the best. Can U???

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