Contrasting fortunes for the Roos and the Poms
How often in life, when things take a downturn does everything around seem to go haywire and in the wrong direction. It reminds me a little of the saying 'When it rains, it pours'. This is exactly what is happening with the Australian men's cricket team.
After the fallout of the ball-tampering saga a few months ago, the aftermath has not been good. The kangaroos seem to be in a tumultuous state. The captain and vice-captain have been banished, the coach has resigned, Cricket Australia chief, James Sutherland, has stood down and only yesterday, their revamped one day side has been hammered for the most number of runs in the history of a 50 over game.
On a day where the Indian 'A' team scored 458 (Mayank Agarwal -151, Shaw - 132) in a 50 over game against a county side - Leicestershire, the English made a mockery of the Aussie bowling attack and went on to score 481.
Andrew Tye (Purple cap winner in the IPL) went for a century in 9 overs without getting a wicket, while the two opening bowlers conceded in excess of 9 an over. No doubt it was a belter of a track with good overhead batting conditions, but the ease with which runs were being leaked would have been a great sign of worry for the newly appointed coach, Justin Langer.
England got off to a flyer with Roy and Bairstow, as they have done all series and once they crossed the 15 over mark without losing a wicket, the stage was set for the likes of Hales, Morgan and Butler to fire.
And boy, did they not?
No bowler and no part of the the ground was let go off, every over there was carnage. So much so that, at one point with 5 overs to go, they could have gone for the magical 500 figure also. The Aussies pulled it back a tiny bit as they dint concede a boundary in the last 5 overs, but the massacre had already taken place by then.
The second half of the match was predictable. Either it was going to be a spectacularly mind-boggling chase (like the one in J'burg 12 years ago) or they would get bowled out way short of the required total. And considering how things have been off late for the Aussies, the latter seemed certain.
And so it was, they were bowled out within 37 overs. In the process, this defeat also became the heaviest in terms of runs for the kangaroos (242 runs). This series has been an ideal showcase of the mess the Australian's seem to be in and the enormity of the job at the hands of Langer, considering the world cup is only a year away and that too in these very conditions. Also, it shows how badly they were dependent on Smith and Warner, not just for scoring runs but in terms of leading this team.
On the other hand, the English seem to have got over the debacle of the 2015 world cup and seem to have created a group of fearless young cricketers with some real quality. Within 2 years of being knocked out of the world cup by Bangladesh, they have reached the pinnacle of ODI rankings and look a solid side at home with variety in all departments. It won't be unfair to say that this is the best an English side has ever looked in the ODI format and considering the trend of the last two world cups, it might just be the team playing at home with all the advantage and the cup at the end of it all.