Dominance Over, New era begins

THE contrast could not be more stark. At the very venue they reclaimed the Ashes last summer, the Australians yesterday witnessed the end of their record-equalling 16-Test winning sequence, though not before an enthralling late-innings fightback. [Alex Brown for Sydney Morning Herald]

I found this interesting article on Fox Sports.

PerthWELCOME to the future, Australian cricket fans. Welcome to a world where your team will remain among the best sides in the world but will have to work like drover’s dogs to subdue their closest rivals.

We have seen the end of a golden era and will have to get used to the occasional silver and bronze medal against teams ready to answer our best sledges.

The fortress was attacked in Sydney and the barricades finally fell in Perth.

The post Warne-McGrath adjustment which had to happen has finally kicked. We have learned that Phil Jaques is not Justin Langer, that Shaun Tait is not yet Jason Gillespie, that Shane Warne is irreplaceable and that if you take Matthew Hayden out of the team it hurts everywhere.

The most challenging era of Ricky Ponting’s captaincy starts this morning.

How Allan Border managed to average 50 despite a decade’s worth of the type of pressure that has engulfed Ponting this series defies belief.

We have also learned that Australian batsmen who skated along like mini-Bradman when their side was crushing the world can be vulnerable when put under pressure.

Any Australian batsman who averages 50 over the next four or five years will have earned it.

As Steve Waugh says, there is no need for Australian fans to get too worried. They will continue to be among the world leaders and there will be no slide into the abyss which was home to Australian teams of the mid-1980s.

It’s just that they will find it harder to win.

Even as Australia despairs, world cricket is rejoicing at the discovery of a team who not only do not fear Australia but actually fancy their chances against them.

No praise is high enough for an India side whose entire pace attack is younger than Tait.

Australia is being threatened by a new breed of Indian, whose confidence was embodied by a gesture from young quick Irfan Pathan, when he held his hand up to his ear to the crowd after taking the ninth wicket. India’s win will send waves of delight and anticipation across the cricket world. If Australia can falter against India in Perth they can falter anywhere. This is an extraordinary result.

Australia will probably win this series but Shane Warne was right. This is no time to be arrogant.

India, without their top three fast bowlers, deserve to be rejoicing.

The potential of their young fast bowler Ishant Sharma is limitless.

Sharma’s harassment of Ricky Ponting at the WACA was the best spell of fast bowling Australians have faced since the 2005 Ashes tour when Andrew Flintoff was making the ball swing like a soap bubble.

It takes a great spell to contain Ponting; it takes a freakish one to make him look as if he is batting with a cricket stump.

His arrival is great news for a world cricket scene desperately seeking some new fast bowling heroes.

He has only been playing serious cricket for five years. A great career beckons for him if his drain-pipe physique can be kept in one piece.

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