A county side have beaten a team vying to match the great “Invincibles” of 1948. Captained by someone by the name of Don Bradman, they returned to Australia unbeaten. There were frequent calls by Australian (and English) media, before flying out to England, that Ponting’s side had the quality and desire to match The Invincibles. This I assume is now a lost hope – firstly with the loss of their 20/20 encounter, and today another defeat…this time at the hands of the mighty Somerset. (did The Invicibles’ record include tour-games?)
“Mighty” may not be too far off, for they (Somerset) possess some seriously good players – and the best pitch in the country, by some distance. It must have been like batting on a road today, as 687 runs were scored in just under 100 overs for the loss of just 11 wickets. And this great, heralded batting lineup of Australia were matched by Somerset, Sri Lanka’s (Jayasuria) and South African’s (Smith) finest.
After the shock of losing to England – something they will be hoping won’t be repeated again this summer! – the prospect of a one-day county game would have had them licking their lips, as opposed to their recently-opened wounds. They were so dominant that both Ponting and Hayden felt like giving their team-mates a bat – and retired early.
How Ponting must wish he or Hayden went on to an even bigger score, for they fell to Somerset with over 3 overs to spare. The significance of this defeat should not be underestimated: Australian Test sides do not lose (m)any matches, and they very rarely lose two games on the trot. (If anyone has stats on this particular aspect, I’d love to know…) Have they arrived too scratchy? Are they still jet-lagged? Has Vaughan spiked their drinks?
When I commented on the 20/20 defeat, I was at pains to ensure I (and others) didn’t get too carried away. Whilst the same feeling applies to this match (the “not to read to much into it” bit), alarm bells will be ringing in Ponting and Buchanan’s heads. First, their batsmen let them down; and now their bowlers. The words “rocket” and “arse” might be heard quite a lot in an Australian changing room over the next few days – and, for cricket’s sake, I think everyone will be very grateful. Vaughan, though no doubt grateful to Somerset for this defeat, will be hoping the monster isn’t awoken just yet.