Now that's what I'm talking about! It seems that Aus has a knack of being involved in series where the scoreline is a poor reflection of the test cricket played. With so many centurions and wicket takers in England, if someone looked at the statistics alone they would likely declare a different result had they not known better. Similarly here a huge first innings in Perth made a West Indies win unlikely but they got within 30 runs of chasing a 350 total down. Unfortunately I hardly saw a ball from days 2,3 or 4. Thank god for radios, phones and general chatter.
What have we learned about Australia? Well, Johnson has not recovered from a slump but is more consistent than in England. A good sign, yes, but Aus needs a spearhead and Bollinger has shown more courage and capacity for this role than Jonno. Well done Bolly, it would be a shame if he were dropped for Siddle as he has done everything necessary to retain his place. If anyone suggests that two left-armers is a bad idea I think they need serious help.
Hauritz was not as effective as hoped but I can't say how well he bowled - help required here. From what I saw he was throwing it up but put alongside Suli he was definitely the worse of the two main spinners for the two sides. Watson keeps getting some runs at the top but I maintain that he is a number 6. He best serves the team in this position, period. Marsh, Klinger and Hughes are getting in the runs so there are top order options. Show some courage, selectors, and give a bloke a chance. A three test series is a hedging of bets as if one touring team isn't competitive then there's another on the way. As it happens 5 tests against WI would have been superb but who would have thought that before or immediately after Brisbane? Pakistan are belting Tassie as we speak and there are great signs for their batting and bowling. Fingers crossed for another wonderful series this summer.
While it can't be said that Aus' batting revolves around Ponting we've seen that Clarke and North are perhaps not as reliable as we would have hoped. Hussey has answered critics to some extent but still looks dodgy outside his off stump. A couple of Clarke's dismissals are reminicent of yesteryear's poor decision making - the hit to Gayle at short mid on perfect case in point. Of course Katich and Watson did very well which is pleasing but allows selectors to delay the inevitable; Aus needs a specialist opener. I didn't see one delivery from McKay but reports are that he had little impact.
To the West Indies. Well, what can you say? Amazing effort which deserved a test win in my opinion. Barath, Gayle, Dowlin, Nash, Bravo, Roach - the list goes on. Missing their two main strike bowlers for most of the series and carrying arguably two of their best bats or missing them altogether as well.....
Not only can WI hold their heads high they can enter their next series (6 bloody months away!) expecting to win. Hopefully Aus develops some humility from this series but Watson should be fined his whole series' fee for his send-off of Gayle. You idiot, Watson. Haddin should have kept his mouth shut with Suli but to be fair Suli is a bit of a douche. The one-dayers look like they'll be a great contest for a format in trouble.
Looking forward and if the series against Pakistan is as enthralling as their 'home' series against New Zealand test, this summer will be a great advertisement of test cricket. One weakness of Pakistan's batting has been Salman Butt for mine but he's made a good ton against the Isle which helps support brilliant players like the Akmals and Farhat. Gul, Asif and Aamer are genuine bowlers too so I'm expecting a series not unlike the Adelaide and Perth tests. Pakistan are notoriously inconsistent; but didn't we say that about another team recently?