Australia win at home. That’s the way it is. They play to their strengths and they beat everyone. Well not today.
India outplayed Australia and they did it via their seam bowlers and at the WACA no less. RP Singh bowled beautifully and Irfan Pathan took wickets with the new ball in both innings as well as hitting a valuable 46 as nightwatchman.
India can improve. They could have imposed themselves more when on top. They kept the field spread and allowed Australia’s tail-enders to settle in the second innings and with a smaller lead, that might have cost them. But it didn’t cost them. They had a big enough lead that they could make mistakes and still win by 72 runs.
Teams often talk of playing absolutely at the top of their games and making no mistakes when they play Australia. This paints the Aussies as some sort of relentless, invincible force. This is palpably bollocks. You need to play really well to beat Australia, but it’s not like you have to be flawless.
Thinking like that’s counter-productive. If Australia get ahead, you think that you can’t recover because you’ve already made that one mistake. You can see players composing their post-match quotes on days one and two as they stand around in the field, sulking.
This is a good result anyway. Most non-Australians will be delighted that the mighty Australians have ‘fallen’ but we’re just pleased that there’s an element of doubt about the results of Test matches where they’re involved.
We don’t watch cricket to see a display. We watch it for the intrigue of competition.
The relentless Aussie victory’s a hackneyed plot. Hopefully we’ll get some more sophisticated scripts now, with twists and turns.