Usman Khawaja could be in doubt to play the first Ashes Test after being left out of the 24-man group for the Australia vs Australia A match starting Tuesday, the final game before the Ashes.
There’s been a lot to consider after ten days of Test action between Australia and India.
Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli have produced innings that deserve to be remembered. The Australian team have batted with the sort of grit and determination that has been sadly lacking in recent series.
The Australian bowlers have worked brilliantly as a unit, with all applying serious pressure to the world’s top-ranked Test team. Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah have shown India has at least two world-class quicks, with the rest providing able support.
Tim Paine has done an outstanding job as keeper and Test captain, leading his team with far more certainty and purpose than Kohli did for India.
Above all, I have watched real old-fashioned Test cricket that has gone the distance and has been genuinely exciting. Why? I put it down to the pitches, and this is where I think administrators need to take note.
The Perth pitch has been described as a minefield, horrendous and so on but, there have been five scores of 50 or more, including Kohli’s brilliant ton. The match featured more than 350 overs, which suggests batsmen can make runs but bowlers can also be influential if they really put in.
In other words, the Perth match was a genuine contest between bat and ball.
The Adelaide game was similar in that both sides struggled at times against some quality bowling. The difference was Pujara’s two innings, even though Australia was still a chance to win late on Day 5.
Again, the theme was a genuine contest between bat and ball. It produced exciting cricket which in large part was thanks to the pitch.
Cricket Australia needs to get bums into seats this summer, a crucial task following the events in South Africa. The best way to do that is to put on enthralling spectacles in which Australia is competitive and the games are close.
The Tests in Adelaide and Perth have clearly shown that if pitches allow games to go five days, the bean counters at Cricket Australia can be happy and supporters of both teams will be treated to plenty of action.
It’s down to Cricket Australia and the curators now. I hope they get it right in Melbourne and Sydney.