Australia are the most successful nation in cricket history, dominating the world since 1999, having won three back to back World Cups.
Unfortunately though, the winners of 2015 cricket World Cup are currently having a nightmare. From getting whitewashed against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka to a 5-0 defeat against South Africa in South Africa following by the ongoing series where they are trailing 2-0 in their home soil against the Proteas – does this miserable form of Australia indicate end of their era?
1999-2007 were arguably Australia’s most successful period. From being no. 1 side in both test and one day cricket to a record five time world champion, they have achieved almost everything except for the T-20 world cup trophy.
That time they had a bunch of key players like Mark Waugh, Rickey Ponting, Glenn Mcgrath, Shane Warne, Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Justin Langer, Darren Lehmann, Michael Bevan, Brett Lee etc. Australia also made a 16-0 test record before losing to India at Eden Gardens in 2001. After Steve Waugh’s retirement, Pointing was selected as their skipper and he followed Steve Waugh’s path.
In 1999-2007, Australia won all three World Cups and in 2003 and 2007 they were undefeated champions. In 2006 they achieved Champions Trophy too. At that time Australia were almost unbeaten in the prestigious Ashes series played between England and them. Though in this time period they tasted some defeats like 2001 test series in India, 2005 Ashes series etc, they never looked uncomfortable. After the retirement of those key players Australia started loosing their glory but in the meantime they managed to win 2006-07 Ashes series and 2013-14 Ashes series and 2015 World Cup which was hosted by them.
In 2015 they won the most prestigious trophy cricket World Cup for the fifth time but after that their condition is pathetic. They were defeated 3-0 by Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka where they were totally outplayed by Rangana Herath. Then in South Africa they tasted a 5-0 defeat by the host country and now in home soil they are already losing it by 2-0 with 1 test match left.
In the second test Australia managed only 85 runs in first innings and in second innings their batting collapsed from 129-3 to 161 all down. Australian skipper Steve Smith told that what they are doing is not enough and he himself is tired of telling this to his players. He also agreed that this back to back 5 test match defeats is a shame for any team.
In sub-continental condition, this new side may face problems and that is not a big issue but currently they don’t have any answer for the pace attack of South Africa. It is true that South Africa’s pace attack is one of the best in the world but Australia has historically managed pace attacks pretty well, be it of Waqar-Washim or of Donald-pollock. But this time they are looking spineless. Batting collapse is the main reason behind this kind of defeat. Australia’s coach Darren Lehmann already said that in Adelaide test, only confirmed players are Smith, Warner, Starc and Hazlewood.
In the current situation, the meaning of “Baggy Green” is almost getting reversed for them. Once this word was the symbol of their ruthless aggression and now it is only defeat.
Photo by NAPARAZZI