Windies Test a false dawn?
18 Nov 2005
By: Edward Jackson
Whisper it quietly but many Australian cricket fans weren't afraid to use the word crisis after their team's Ashes loss.
Some suggested the English had been lucky to win and the results seemed to back this up with the host's wins coming in narrow margins while Australia dominated the first Test.
But others noticed the way the English outplayed the Australians for large portions of the series and how only moments of individual brilliance and the guile of Shane Warne had kept the world champions in the hunt for so long.
Fast forward three months and it appears all is now rosy again the world of Australian cricket, dominant results over the World XI and the West Indies and starring performances from recent Test additions Mike Hussey and Nathan Bracken suggesting there is enough depth and talent to keep the Aussies at number one.
Is it a true indicator though? Sure enough players like Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting seem to have overcome their Ashes blues and returned to the mantle of world beaters, but is it their talents or the opposition which has helped them back to form?
Frankly this West Indian team is a poor legacy from their legendary teams of the 80s, an apparent lack of urgency and application undermining what talent these players do possess.
It's batting line up hasn't provided the challenge of Michael Vaughan and his cohorts, while its bowling lacks accuracy, penetration and the ability to put the wind up batsmen that previous Caribbean incarnations have been able to do.
All this means we can't be sure the rise of players like yesterday's maiden Test century maker Mike Hussey, or a wicket taking Brett Lee are the real deal - will the house fall down in the face of strong opposition again or is Australia still at the top of the international tree?
After the West Indies, a New Zealand team struggling for form and confidence awaits and you can't help but get the feeling that the Kiwis won't provide the challenge to give us the answer.
No, don't read too much into this Test at Hobart, we may well have to wait until the arrival of a resurgent South African team to come to these shores to see whether the rebuilding is truly enough to put the English back in their box in the summer of 2007.