Xa iNgilane yaphanga yaya eAustralia kumanqaku okugqibela omlotha, ngathi ezininzi, ndicinge ukuba iindwendwe ziya kugcina urn ngexesha lomdlalo wesihlanu. It was always going to a tougher battle than the summer showdown but victory was expected.
Isidlali somdlali eNgilani besomelele kakhulu, aba na? Ngelo xesha, ngaphandle kokuma ngaphandle kwe-maestro kaMichael Clarke, XI yokudityaniswa yamacala omabini yayiya kulawulwa ziingonyama ezintathu. Ngaphandle kwe-Skipper Clarke ebenokwenza icala elidibeneyo? Mhlawumbi uDavid Warner kaMichael Carberry? URyan Harris ofanelekileyo nokuba uChris Tremlett okanye uTim Bresnan? Ngokuqinisekileyo eyangaphambili, mhlawumbi le yokugqibela. Indawo kaShane Watson? Mhlawumbi - kodwa wayeza kuthatha? Phezu kobuso, kunjalo, England certainly appeared the stronger outfit.
Fast forward a few weeks and the view from the boundary is somewhat different. Australia annihilated and humiliated England in every discipline, outplaying them in every area and keeping their foot on the accelerator throughout the series and into the one day capers. Now forever confined to the history books from that initial starting XI thanks to Australia’s dominance are Kevin Pietersen (ngqwabalala), probably Jonathan Trott (due to other factors for which Australia merely provided the coup de grâce) kwaye Graeme Swann. England are not going to replace their 13,000 combined runs and Swann’s 250 odd wickets overnight and Australia will no longer have to face any of them when they next lock horns. They didn’t just win an important series they won the psychological battle as well – England were left emotionally scarred and will take time to rebuild and recapture past glories.
Even after the thrashing of England, kunjalo, I still thought the performance of the green baggied outfit was a mere flash in the pan. Surely the thrashing was simply down to a tired England side who had only just finished one Ashes series and couldn’t quite motivate themselves for another scrap? Combine that with a few key players out of form or sorts and you have a mere aberration, musa ukuba?
Well the recent events at the SuperSport Park in Centurion in the first test of South Africa v Australia would make it seem I have to eat yet another rather large slice of humble pie. Kwakhona, phambi kwalo umdlalo, few of the Aussie starting XI would have made it into a combined South Africa / Australia side. The Proteas have been at the top of the world rankings for a while now – and with good reason – they have class running through the entire spine of the side. Graeme Smith sets the standards for others at the top of the order – and Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers follow in style. Jacques Kallis may have departed but talent still remains. They are backed up by a ferocious pace battery. So as good a series as the Aussie top order (Brad Haddin included) had against England and as well as the bowlers bowled they all lack the consistency of the greats mentioned above, musa ukuba? Well Australia have simply picked up from where they left off in devastating England. One test in and the great South African side, top of the world rankings, lay in tatters. Of course they could yet turn it around – and if they do then massive credit to them. But the Aussies are in that cocksure position of old. Their tails are up and their confidence there for all to see. They have humiliated their prey and ground it to dust.
oku kuvela phi? On paper Australia lack many world class players – gone are the Warnes, McGraths kwaye Waughs kweli hlabathi. But that appears not to matter. After a largely quiet few years Australia, kuya kubonakala, are roaring back to the top.
They have managed to find a team spirit, unity and bond that appeared somewhat lacking during the nonsense that was ‘homework gate’ and still in short supply during their Ashes battle in the English summer. They play way above the sum of their combined parts. If the combined averages of England (ekuqaleni eluthuthwini), Australia and South Africa (ekuqaleni kolu ngcelele) are compared then there is little to choose between them. England average 358, Australia 374.06 (although this is skewed by debutant Alex Noonan averaging 58 kolu vavanyo enye. If Shane Watson had been playing in his place then the combined average is 352.39). South Africa’s recent dominance is shown by a slightly higher average of 376.39. But in reality there is little to separate the three.
This upturn in form seems to have coincided with coach Darren Lehmann taking control. He has clearly worked wonders on the team – his long stint as an adopted Yorkshireman has clearly done him the power of good. Team ethic is the most important part of the setup. The players are performing to the absolute maximum of their ability and when it matters. Good phezu kwabo. Questions remain about the age of the side and the youngsters waiting in the wings. But you can only beat what is put in front of you and Australia are most certainly doing that.
Whoever replaces Andy Flower as England supremo should look no further than Lehmann’s example.
Cinga siye sasikhumbula into? Masazi ngokuphendula ngezantsi. Ukuba ungathanda ukuba uzibophelele nceda sebenzisa i rhuma ikhonkco kwi menu entla kwasekunene. Unga kwakhona ukwabelana oku nabahlobo bakho ngokusebenzisa amakhonkco zentlalo ngezantsi. Masinwabe.