It’s amazing just how resilient Australian supporters are. Not that long ago at Trent Bridge, our elite Test XI was bowled out in 90 minutes in the Ashes decider. There had not been a blacker opening to any Test involving the baggy green.
Now with a new summer in full swing, under a new in-form captain, the wintertime embarrassments have been shunted aside as Australian fans and the team look forward to fresh challenges and regaining some lost ground and ranking.
Having succeeded a dispirited and horribly out-of-touch Michael Clarke, Steve Smith continues to play with alacrity and adventure. It seems he thrives on the responsibly and is only getting better.
The improved showing at The Oval and 2-3 overall Ashes scoreline hid some of the festering problems.
During the bowler-dominated summer, the BBC’s Geoff Boycott took delight in sledging Australia’s plight. He couldn’t remember any Australian top-order in the last 50 years looking as frail or vulnerable. With the departure of Clarke, average 49, those cracks, he believes, could yet widen.
But will they? The Australians may be lambs away but they are lions at home not having lost a series on home soil in more than 25 years. All the rhetoric and promotion in the world can’t mask the fact that this summer’s ‘feature’ tourists the West Indies have never ever been weaker. It could easily be a 3-0 walkover approaching what shapes as the most competitive Tests of the extended summer, from mid-February in Wellington and Christchurch.