The last day of the third Test was unfortunately an underwhelming end to a red-hot summer for Australia but this team is on the edge of a push for greatness.
There was nothing the Aussies could have done to change the result on day five in Sydney, it was just the weather stuffing them around that meant the match finished in a draw.
If we didn’t lose a full day on Friday and pretty much another day from all the other stoppages, I reckon Australia would have wrapped up a series clean sweep at the SCG with a day to spare.
This could have been quite an exciting Test and we just needed the sun to bake the pitch for another day or so and I think it would have turned a lot.
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Reverse swing would have played a big part too but there was 170-odd overs lost.
Still there were some great performances – Usman Khawaja hit his highest Test score to continue on an amazing 12 months, Steve Smith added another hundred to his pile, Travis Head reinforced what a dangerous middle-order player he is, Josh Hazlewoo showed why he’s a world-class bowler.
I think it was a tremendous summer by Australia against average opposition but you’ve still got to dominate and they did so I think of a very good team that should do well in India and England and hopefully win the World Test Championship.
The questions going forward are we didn’t really get to see Matt Renshaw or Ashton Agar with the bat and Agar was minimal with the ball but it’s not like Nathan Lyon ran through them either. The footmarks were really wide and full and probably better for Lyon to the right-handers at the Randwick end.
When Agar got a chance from that end he bowled too straight and full so he certainly hasn’t answered the question as to who our second best spinner is.
The pitches there, you assume, are going to turn massively so he will still be in the picture to the degree but it would have been nice for him just to pick up a couple of wickets and score a few runs, thinking ahead to India.
We’re going to possibly miss Cameron Green and Mitchell Starc for the first Test next month if their finger injuries don’t heal in time. If Starc’s out, which looks like it will happen, we’re well covered for fast bowlers but if Green’s out that will be absolutely massive.
Fingers crossed his finger is OK because it just gives the Aussies that added flexibility to be able to play two spinners and still have a third seam option.
I wrote before the start of this Test that they should have gone with three quicks, two spinners with Agar batting at No.7 and Alex Carey at No.6 and you can never predict exactly how the weather’s going to affect proceedings but it would have been nice to have Scott Boland or Lance Morris in the attack.
Hazlewood was reverse-swinging it and Morris, at about 20km/h quicker, would have been a real handful if he was able to do the same. Bowlo’s an expert with reverse too so either of those guys could have been a real factor, particularly once we lost that playing time.
We still could have had a nail-biting finish if a few of the 50-50 umpiring decisions went in Australia’s favour.
Richard Kettleborough is maybe the best umpire in the world and he won’t want to be third umpire ever again because there were just so many tough decisions.
I think all three low catches that he gave not out this Test were out. Marnus Labuschagne when he was batting and then the two catches that Smithy took off Hazlewood and Lyon.
You’ve got to remember when your hand touches the grass and you’re looking at it side-on in 2D, it looks like it’s gone into the grass but your fingers can actually be under it.
The technology needs to get better and it will.
The soft signal doesn’t seem to matter any more so let the third umpire make a decision based on what they see and the batter should retain the benefit of the doubt, which is in the rules, I can live with that.
I think the LBWs were out – if they had been given out on the field, they would have stayed out.
Whether we just decide that if it’s hitting, it’s hitting and that’s out and we don’t worry about the variables.
And Australia vs South Africa needs a name for the trophy. It’s nameless still.
I’m going with the Fast Bowling Cartel and I reckon it should be called the Donald-McGrath Trophy after those two quicks who did so much for their respective countries. There are too many trophies named after batters.
I could live with it being Pollock instead of Donald but let’s get it done before the next series.