Cricket

.

Australia return to the top of Test rankings but lack of competition diminishes achievement

Published 1 Comments

Football News
24/7

With a two-nil sweep of the Trans-Tasman series with New Zealand, Australia have returned to the top of the ICC test rankings for the first time in nearly two years.

It has come on the back of an almost faultless summer where they have won six test matches from the eight they have played against New Zealand and West Indies.

Reaching the pinnacle of a sport is always something that should be applauded, and Australia have shown their clinical side in the past four months. They now have the opportunity to stay there for a sustained period of time.

SIGN UP NOW

Want to become a GMS writer? Sign up now and submit a 250 word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay4

The strength that Australia seems to have over their rival nations is a young core. Apart from Adam Voges, they don't have any players you would classify as being in the closing stages of their career.

They all have their peak ahead of them. While Steve Smith leads their batting with aplomb, the emergence of Usman Khawaja and Joe Burns is noteworthy.

Article continues below

Their bowling attack is quite impressive. Mitchell Starc missed the New Zealand tour through injury and Josh Hazlewood did a fine job taking the lead as the number one bowler. He was supported ably by Peter Siddle, Jackson Bird and James Pattinson.

Nathan Lyon might look unfashionable, but he holds the record for most wickets ever taken by an Australian off-spinner - not a bad achievement.

New Zealand v Australia - 2nd Test: Day 5

However despite the recent success, there are still many hurdles Australia have to clear to be regarded as truly great. This series in New Zealand notwithstanding, Australia in the main have been average away from home over the past five years. It was only seven months ago where they were extremely poor against England, losing the series 3-2.

They have suffered heavy defeats against India and Pakistan in their last series in the sub-continent and the Middle East respectively. The hurdle of winning in India has been a long-running issue for Australia, with their last win coming in 2004 and 1970 before that. Their next opportunity to correct that comes in 2017.

The art of winning away is something that has become a foreign occurrence for most teams in the modern era.

India have had major struggles away from home for a long period of time now. Their captain Virat Kohli is a player that have that thrives in all conditions and loves the sense of occasion. However, their bowling attack regularly fails to adapt to foreign conditions, therefore they consistently fail to bowl the opposition out.

South Africa have been the only side that has been strong home and away for a prolonged period of time, only recently losing their eight-year unbeaten record away from home to India late last year. However, they have a rapidly ageing core to their side and there have been significant rumblings from their senior players on how long they will continue to play Test Cricket.

South Africa v England - Fourth Test: Day Four

To their credit, England have rebounded well after the 5-0 whitewash in Australia in 2013/14 and all the upheaval in the aftermath of that series.
Despite an average performance in the West Indies, a series win in South Africa is always an extremely noteworthy achievement.

They still have uncertainty regarding the perfect opening partner for Alastair Cook but seem to have found a true all-rounder in Ben Stokes. The test will truly come when Jimmy Anderson retires, will they be able to find the bowler that can succeed on a regular basis? A genuine spinner would also be a useful addition to the side.

The rest of the nations can really be bunched as a group. New Zealand's effort level is higher than anyone in the cricket world, but they just don't have the firepower and natural talent to stick with the best over a five-day period.

New Zealand v Australia - 2nd Test: Day 5

Pakistan have shown their best is extremely good, but their worst is as bad as it gets while Sri Lanka and West Indies have undisputed raw talent, but they are regularly in turmoil with various issues off the field.

Taking all that into account, It is fair to assume that we are in the middle of an average era in the game.

It is quite sad that the plans for a world test championship have been scrapped, as that would have given us a clear answer. However, it remains to be seen whether a nation such as Australia can make this decade well and truly their own.

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms

Topics:
Cricket
South Africa cricket
David Warner
England cricket
Australia cricket
India cricket

Article Comments

Report author of article

Please let us know if you believe this article is in violation of our editorial policy, please only report articles for one of the following reasons.

Report author

DISCLAIMER

This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Want more content like this?

Like our GiveMeSport Facebook Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to Facebook, don't ask me again

Follow GiveMeSport on Twitter and you will get this directly to you.

Already Following, don't ask me again

Like our GiveMeSport Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to G+, don't ask me again