Zimbabwe may well rue that with better catching, cooler heads and a little more luck, they could have won all three tests since their comeback. They won plenty of admirers here for their spirited chase of a target that proved just out of reach, led by their captain, Taylor (117) but well supported throughtout the match by a top-6 that looks dependable, if nothing else. Their bowling was also reasonable even without Vitori; Jarvis keeping them in it with 5 second innings wickets. But beign better than expected is still not great, and they are still a step behind a weak New Zealand side, who failed to dominant the game, even if it was one they were generally on top of. Ross Taylor and Williamson provided the runs, and Vettori the bulk of the wickets before Bracewell chimed in with five on debut. An excellent game, and a good demonstration of the type of hard-fought and exciting cricket the weaker nations can produce, if only they had a reason to play more games against each other.
A test series that ought to demonstrate that India remains a class above the teams in the middle of the test rankings. The West Indies played relatively well at home, but will be lucky to compete here, especially on the back of a disappointing tour of Bangladesh. The Indian media remains pre-occupied with pointless statistics, a further sign that cricket has lost its way, if it ever had it. After a difficult tour of England, several players need to prove that they still have something to offer, otherwise the process of rebuilding an aging lineup will have to start sooner than expected.
Like the series above, one of cricket's oldest and strongest rivalries, now sadly devalued. Unlike the above, this devauling is caused not by a lack of on-field prowess, but by obstinate administration. In the past two decades, hardly a series between these two sides hasn't been close, and this will be no different. One-all is the likely result, though South Africa ought to win, and Australia will feel they continue to have the upper-hand. Conditions in both nations are sufficiently similar, and both play the same type of game, based around a strong pace attack, aggressive running, and athletic fielding. In all three areas, South Africa have the edge, in addition to the better spinner and the greater experience. Where Australia have the edge is the potential for one-off performances, from Hughes, Johnson, Marsh, even Ponting (whose recent form remains catastrophically bad) or their new bowlers: Cummins (if playing) and Lyons. On their last tour, Johnson and Hughes played in a manner not since seen; they'll need those performances again if they are to repeat.
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 6th November, 2011 15:30:43 [#]
Ratings - 6th November 2011
Ratings - 6th November 2011