A drama-ridden but eminently predictable plot. Australia collapsed for the umpteenth time in the past two and a half years, with only Katich willing to grind out the runs in difficult conditions. Failures at the top of the order haven't been unusual even when Australia was winning, but brittleness of the tail in swinging conditions is a marked change. In the second innings the tail performed better, particularly Paine, whose sound keeping showed Haddin's limitations at least as much as Haddin's repeated bungling. As expected though, Pakistan's batting line-up folded lamely, especially given the identities of the bowlers who etched their names on the new neutral honours board at Lord's. The inability of the Australian quicks to take wickets in favourable conditions should actually be a worry for the selectors, even if Pakistan's collective brain-fades allow Australia to continue their winning run.
For Pakistan, captain-less, seemingly always rudder-less, and playing more kids than a country town second XI, the three games in the next month promise to be difficult. Their best hope is that some of their team break out - as Aamer already seems to be - to give them something to look forward to. The alternative, an increasingly chaotic series of dispiriting losses and abject batting displays won't be much fun for anyone.
Rated as an exceptionally close series, albeit one where Sri Lanka are entering with appalling form. The slight overlap with the Australia-Pakistan games will continue to throw my start dates off, but so be it. India's injury worries, Sri Lanka's slowly weakening bowling attack, and most likely terribly flat pitches point to a lot of drawn games. However, I suspect Sehwag will buy India enough time to force a narrow win at least once. Unless Sri Lanka unearth another bowling freak-show to bemuse the Indian batting, it is hard to see Sri Lanka taking enough wickets to win themselves. While the cricket may be dull, a decent win for India should see them back on top of the rankings, so there is something to play for, even between these familiar foes.
Shaded teams have played fewer than 2 games per season. Non-test team ratings are not comparable to test ratings as they don't play each other.
Idle Summers 20th July, 2010 17:40:46 [#]