Fresh from the loss to Pakistan in UAE last year, Australia arrived to face India in the first assignment in Test cricket of their home summer.
It wasn’t surprising to see the baggy greens struggle even in conditions they are most familiar with. At the helm lay plenty of tried and tested combinations of batsmen, none of whom seemed settled in their positions.
There was confusion as to who was Australia’s best batsman. As the summer progressed, the greatest resistance from them was coming from their bowlers.
Australia were left with no batsmen to back their bowlers, who endured the scorching heat steaming in and bowled their heart out. But not even the bowlers could prevent one of the soul-crushing defeats that Virat Kohli’s men handed out to them. India smoked them to oblivion.
Their bowlers showed the capability to take 20 wickets every single inning. Their batsmen cunningly and mercilessly brought the mighty pace blizzard into submission.
Never before had the cries of a complete overhaul of their batting line-up been so glaring. Their first-ever Test series defeat to an Asian side at home finally prompted the selectors to swing the axe.
Tough calls followed, and Australia tasted freakish success against Sri Lanka and a satisfactory outing against their old foes England in the Ashes.
Again, Australia’s path to the retention of the urn was spearheaded mainly by just one batsman as the selectors lost track yet again. Australia escaped from England by retaining the urn; however, the issues were plenty, starting from the top-order.
It was essential to prevent yet another setback at home. While selection issues already remain abundant, the headaches worsened since the primary contenders failed the selection trial.
On Friday, when Joe Burns and David Warner walked out to open the innings, they reunited after more than three years. Joe burns fared well in three Sheffield Shield games but was done in the practice game prior to the Test series.
David Warner, averaging nearly 60 in home conditions, remained under suspicion whether he can leave his woeful Ashes campaign behind. Amid this, the pair still exuded more confidence than that of Marcus Harris and Aaron Finch last summer.
Both batsmen did endure close shaves. But seldom any that threatened actively to draw a wicket. Warner’s gameplay didn’t surround around blazing the balls away proactively for boundaries at any point. It encircled around quick singles, booming calls, and working the ball into the gaps to hustle the twos and threes.
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Joe Burns, on the other hand, was overloaded with adrenaline and nerves. He nicked his very first ball, having survived it marginally, close to getting run-out in the third delivery and collected two boundaries from outside edges. And just like that, Warner and Burns added hundred for the opening wicket, Australia’s first in 19 innings.
Subsequently, the two put on a monstrous stand of 222.
Yes, Australia scored these runs on a highly favourable deck, assisted by some inexperienced and reckless bowling and lacklustre fielding. But Australia have made a sizzling start to their summer this time around.
It was only in the previous summer that the baggy greens remained directionless and could do only little other than getting out. Presently, they have turned the tables around. It goes without saying that they need to stick with this opening combination and prepare for the more enormous challenges in the near future.
The decision by the ECB to abandon their tour of Pakistan this week, on top of India’s decision to abandon the fifth Test of their series against India two weeks ago, along with New Zealand’s decision to abandon their tour of Pakistan last week has left the cricket world in a state of flux.
Teenage tearaway Darcie Brown’s record-breaking haul has lifted Australia to a nine-wicket victory over India in Mackay, where the hosts comfortably hauled in a target of 226 to secure their 25th consecutive ODI win.