Melbourne Stars v Melbourne Renegades at Melbourne, Big Bash League

There is a hole in my heart, where a test match used to be.

Really, though, I am feeling a little empty this morning.  Last night India finally completed its collapse, losing to a capable Australia by an innings and 68 runs.   And that’s it for that match, and for the series, and for the Australian Summer.  Meanwhile, in Capetown, South Africa completed a 10 wicket victory over Sri Lanka to wrap up that series.

I was thinking about writing a quick recap of the Sydney test, but what else is there to say, really?  Clarke was huge, as were Hilfenhaus and Ponting and Hussey.  India was poor, generally, with very few exceptions.

When you compare the fielding of the two sides, you can really start to see why the hosts demolished their guests.  Australia in the field were chatty and lively, chasing down boundaries even when the game was no longer in doubt.  Meanwhile India were deathly silent, and flat, and shoot: even a little lazy at times it seems.

Sure, when Clarke was batting, they were in the field for nearly 12 hours, and you have to forgive tired legs after all that time, but I don’t think that is necessarily a valid excuse.

I am not sure what the answer is for India.  A commentator yesterday suggested three days off: and I think that is a fine idea. Time away from cricket might be helpful, but it is not going to change anything.  They were poor, very poor, and putting Sharma in for Kohli in the 6th spot is not going to change that.  Tendulkar has an anvil hanging over his head in the shape of a Meaningless Milestone; Laxman looks tired; Sehwag looks old; Gambhir looks out of his depth; Kahn, their best bowler by a million miles, looks bored; and Dravid, the hero of the England series, is a shadow of his former self.

I think one thing they need is for Sachin to get his 100 and get that out of the way.  That might take a little of the weight off of the batsmen, which would help, but this team needs a complete overhaul.  Winning in the sub-continent is just not enough.

Get the boys home, and start anew.

Australia on the other hand are playing just good enough to beat a poor India.  I will be very curious to see how their young quicks do in the West Indies this spring, and whether or not the batsmen can continue to bat this well against bowling that is not, errr, India’s.

Anyway, a test match shaped hole in my heart, for sure.  I am already counting the days until the start of the next Australian Summer.

I feel like Legsidelizzy felt after the end of the England-India test at the Oval.

Sure, there are two more tests between Australia and Inda – in Perth and in Adelaide.  But the visitors will have to play out of their skins to win on those pitches, especially with Australia more than likely playing for draws.

And, sure, there are ODIs to come.  15 of them in fact in the tri-series featuring Australia and India and Sri Lanka starting in February.

Plus South Africa and Sri Lanka play five one-dayers of their own starting on January 11th.

But it’s just not the same.

And yeah there is the Pakistan-England test series upcoming, but I won’t be able to watch those matches because I don’t have Dish Network.  (Though the series is listed on Willow.tv’s website, but I am guessing that is Canada only.)

And then this morning I read this article about the death of County match radio commentary on the BBC, and my heart just broke.  One of my favorite things in the whole wide world is to listen to radio coverage of County matches online.

Sigh.

I am not in a good way, cricket wise, this morning.

But, hey, some things to look forward to:

Everyone’s favorite minnows, Zimbabwe, visit New Zealand later this month – the matches will be live on Willow and are on during prime time hours here in the states.  South Africa then visit the Kiwis in March for three tests (!!!), three ODIs, and three t20s.

Then, of course, it is April, and with that comes the English Summer: The County Championship starts on the 5th and the West Indies come in May.  (Cynical cricket fans, of which there are many, will tell you the England v West Indies series is going to be damp and boring, but I am an eternal optimist, and I am hoping for a rager.)  And then in July South Africa comes to town for three tests – those should be fantastic battles.

And, shoot, there is the IPL coming up in April, too.  I am not a fan of t20, but I have very soft spot in my heart for the IPL.

And that’s it for today.  I do have a post brewing for tonight and I should have plenty of time to write, since there is no cricket to watch damn it.

Until next time.

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