Australia are facing a gigantic, almost insurmountable run chase to regain the number one Test spot after three and half years in the wilderness.
Do not despair, Australian fans, despite needing 632 runs to win, almost 200 runs more than what South Africa successfully chased to break the previous run chasing record.
Strap into your trusty lounge chair, don a helmet and bring out the stubbies, for if the Australian cricket team follow these four easy steps, the deciding Test is a foregone conclusion. Super simple stuff that.
All the Aussies need to do is: Step 1 – Invest in time travel; Step 2 – Doctor the WACA pitch; Step 3 – Force Spartan to revoke their contract for Michael Clarke; Step 4- Watch the bloody ball!
Yes, some of these steps do seem a bit outlandish and even a little insane. But in today’s climate, it is perfectly possible to get away with things like this as long as the BCCI approves. Umpires can turn a blind eye and DRS will be conveniently forgotten. All of these steps will be worth it if Australia regains the number one spot.
Step 1: Invest in time travel
It may be a bit farfetched to think Cricket Australia could invest in and procure the positives of time travel in a single night, but that could be overcome by using the time machine in the future to rearrange the events of the past.
With the benefits of time travel, Australia would ensure victory by bringing back a legendary player from the past.
No not the Don, not Tugga, just our own Punter.
Ricky Ponting has not been in vintage form for quite a while now. He deserves to bow out on a winning note however the cricketing gods have not been smiling on him, with Melbourne’s own cricketing god Peter Siddle being dearly missed throughout South Africa’s second inning runfest.
Despite all of this, if we were able to include Ricky Ponting circa 2006 (1333 runs at 88.86) as a late inclusion, Australia would be close to certainties. Ponting was in sublime form, leading Australia to an arrogant victory against the South Africans in Sydney with 143 not out.
This innings helped Australia break an 108-year-old run-chasing record at the SCG with eight wickets in hand, consigning South Africa to defeat despite the Proteas declaring twice throughout the Test.
All we’d have to do to ensure the switch is seamless is to give him a fresh mop for his head (Warnie anyone) as his hair was thinning faster than the Antarctic ice caps at the time. We’d also have to prise the graphite enhanced Kookaburra out of his hand, which were all the rage in 2006 but are outlawed now (not even the BCCI could turn a blind eye to that one.)
With a fully fit and run hungry Ponting in our side, Australia would be half of the way to victory. There are other steps that have to be followed to aid that process however.
Step 2: Doctor the WACA pitch
Doctoring a pitch when your country has to chase down an all time record total may seem extremely empty headed on face value. But it depends which part of the pitch you are doctoring.
Late on day two, the outstanding South African paceman Morne Morkel almost twisted his ankle in a bad fall after delivering the ball to Ed Cowan. Now the point of fixing up the pitch is not to injure the opposition, we don’t want to see anyone hurt (although it would assist Australia’s cause).
In saying that, we saw how much an injury affects a side after Pattinson hurt himself in the Adelaide Test, causing an unwanted strain to be passed on to the other bowlers. That would put Australia at a huge advantage over the visitors.
Digging a half-metre deep hole from the end of the pitch to the crease would force the South African paceman to bowl from behind the actual pitch, negating their pace and forcing them to reassess their lengths.
This could happen if ‘pitch invaders’ or ‘M.S.Dhoni’ dug up the pitch much like a few Poms did back in 1972, saving the English from an embarrassing defeat at the hand of Chappelli’s army.
I take that back, England were actually one down in the Ashes with one Test to play and in a good position; but we won’t give them that one…… Cheats!
Step 3: Force Spartan to revoke their contract for Michael Clarke
Michael Clarke, apart from being a champion player and an innovative captain is a man that clearly enjoys his cars and cash. He even famously splurged $250,000 in 2008 on an Aston-Martin for his then girlfriend Lara Bingle.
This car was later stolen. The point of the matter is that Pup loves his money and will bat for cash.
This was evident in last year’s test against the Indians in Sydney, just after he was released from Slazenger after a long and fruitful partnership. He made 329 and never looked like being dismissed, while batting with a ‘cleanskin’ bat.
Shortly after he received a multi-million dollar contract from Spartan, which fulfilled his ‘commercial demands’ that he felt Slazenger couldn’t supply any more.
Michael Clarke has Bradmanesque batting figures this summer, however he must be tired after several long stints at the crease. We need the champion boxer to rise for one last round.
If Cricket Australia threatened legal action towards Spartan for a totally unrelated ‘legal matter’, forcing them to revoke their lucrative contract with Michael Clarke, it would give him one more incentive to bat his socks off and lead Australia to victory once again.
Step 4: Watch the ball!
It’s amazing how much can be achieved if one just focuses on the cricket ball and the cricket ball only. Matthew Wade, who had batted so brilliantly in Australia’s first innings was bowled by a seemingly innocuous ball from Petersen due to a lack of concentration.
His sweep looked like a pre-conceived shot, as he had been hitting those sort of deliveries into the depths of the Prindiville Stand previously. Had he watched the ball and played it on its merits, he probably would have his second century to his name.
Alas, he didn’t get there, but there’s no reason why he can’t ton up in the second innings if he continues to bat so well and watch the ball closely. At the crease, batsmen have to contend with so many differing factors; the pitch, the wind, moisture in the air, etc. And that’s just the weather.
Batsmen have to consider each different bowlers idiosyncrasies, seam movement, swing, field positions, the scoreboard, wickets in hand…You get the idea. Cricket is a game mostly played in the head.
The clearer a batsmen’s mind is the better. We all know this from personal experience. Australian batsmen should go into the fourth day’s play and beyond with no preconceived plans but watching the ball closely and playing their natural game.
The runs will come. Warner and Cowan made a positive start late on day three doing exactly that. If they continue to bat the way they are going and consolidate their gains, a sizeable total by the Australians is not out of reach. If Australia are one, two down for three hundred at tea, the team’s confidence will continue to rise. Game on!
As you can see above, victory is certainly possible. Cricket Australia will just have to move quickly to ensure Australia has its best chance of victory. If they pull all the steps off, it will not only go down as Australia’s most famous win in the history of cricket, but our sporting history altogether. All limbs are crossed!