All right, here we go. My month long, and entirely hackneyed, previews of Australia versus South Africa are finally over and we are less than 24 hours away from the first match of the former series.
Brisbane. Amla. Ponting.
I can’t wait.
I will of course continue with some previews of India versus England as their first test at Ahmedabad is still a week away, but I must say that the series down under, despite being only three matches, could very well be the more entertaining of the two.
To wit: Of Australia’s last 20 matches, only four have produced draws; and of South Africa’s last 20 matches, seven have produced draws. 11 draws out of 40 matches.
Meanwhile, of England’s last 20 matches, four have produced draws, which is the same number that India’s last 20 tests have produced. Eight out of 40.
Wait a minute. What was I saying?
Please ignore the previous three paragraphs, and let’s take a look at my prediction above from a different angle:
Of the last 20 test matches played in India, six have ended as draws.
Meanwhile, of the last 20 matches played in Australia, only two have ended as draws.
There, you see, that’s better. 30% versus 10%. A 20 point gap. Barack Obama would murder for that kind of mandate.
Also, honestly, my gut just tells me that Australia versus South Africa is going to be attacking and aggressive and fun; while India versus England will only provide one of two scenarios: England remorsefully accumulating runs, or England getting buried by Indian spin. The latter is preferable to the former, but neither really gets me all that excited.
Furthermore, last winter, we saw Australia destroy India, and last summer, South Africa gave England a rather decent hiding, the same England that had shattered India in 2011, so based on recent form alone, we can reasonably expect BOTH series to be close, but the recent South Africa v Australia series in South Africa was an absolute belter; it was Arsenal versus Manchester United in 2002; while England versus India in England was Arsenal versus Manchester United in 2012; that is to say: yawwwwwwnnnnnn.
Anyway, enough of that, I am looking forward to both, but there is just something to be said about the Australian summer….