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Sunday, January 02, 2011

New Test captain, new start for Australia?

That's certainly what many cricket followers will be wondering, and Australian supporters hoping, on the eve of the Fifth Test.

It's already been confirmed that Michael Beer, after being in the squad since Perth, will make his Test debut. I wish him well but can't see him having a great influence on the match. He's simply too inexperienced at first class level and nobody apart from his old St Kilda grade clubmate Shane Warne has had a good (or, in many instances, any) word to say about him.

With Ryan Harris out, Mitchell Johnson blowing hot and cold and Ben Hilfenhaus (who's been preferred to Doug Bollinger) lacking penetration in the series so far the Australia attack looks threadbare despite Peter Siddle's lionheartedness.

Usman Khawaja will have a tough time replacing Ricky Ponting at number 3, but at least he has some form under his belt and has been pencilled in for some time (eg Australia A selection) as a future Test player.

England are unlikely to make changes, despite Paul Collingwood's modest batting returns so far. While each of the last three Tests has been decided by a huge margin it's very hard to see Australia pulling the pendulum back sufficiently to square the series..

A word about Ponting. Many commentators eg Ian Chappell and Mike Brearley have written him off as a captain "often a good captain, sometimes one who tried too hard. He can still play on as a batsman, though" says Chappell patronisingly. I'm by no means convinced that he's captained his last Test match. But that discussion can be deferred to another day.
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