You can spell cricket without Australia
Let’s not faf about; Australian Cricket is in a dark place.
The fans are angry, the players deflated and the commentators resigned to the fact that no amount of cheery optimism can dilute the pain.
Once loyal supporters have gone rogue – sharpening their blades in preparation for a full-scale evisceration.
To a certain extent, their fury is appropriately directed and several members of the eleven that took the field in Hobart can expect their heads to be on the chopping block if their performances don’t see a hasty improvement.
David Warner won’t want to see a replay of his first innings dismissal anytime soon and rightfully so; it looked about as pretty as a subbies team breakfast the morning after mad Monday.
The old ‘ah but that’s the way he plays’ is frankly not good enough, there should be no blasé explanation as to why the Australian vice captain went chasing a wide delivery six balls into a test match.
To attribute poor shot selection to an innate style of play that a batsman of Warner’s calibre apparently can’t control is absurd.
While Warner’s shot may have been poor, it was, at the very least, a cricket shot, which is more than can be said for Adam Voges’ second innings offering.
Joe Burns and Callum Ferguson looked unsettled during their short time at the crease and Peter Nevill is clinging desperately to his reputation as a pure gloveman following another underwhelming display at number seven.
So we are forced to hang our heads and conclude glumly that our batsmen are sub-par, a reality that is much easier to swallow than the alternative; South Africa are a bloody good cricket team.
For years Australian pitches have been mocked for their benign qualities, ‘roads’ that create an uneven contest between bat and ball.
In Perth and Hobart, South Africa’s pace attack couldn’t have made those labels look less appropriate, with Rabada, Philander and (later) Kyle Abbott producing spells that reduced Australia’s finest batsmen to schoolboys.
The Proteas’ pacemen were consolidated by fieldsmen that, by and large, took their chances and a Quinton de Kock century that had shades of a young Gilchrist.
When our countrymen (and women) are beaten by superior outfits, we have two choices: we can crucify the losers for not meeting our expectations or we can appreciate an impressive performance regardless of the performer.
There was some fabulous cricket in Hobart this past week, but it was rained out by the tears of a nation.