The Australian selectors unorthodox decision to field six batsmen and five bowlers for the Sydney Test has paid unexpected dividends for the Australian XI.
The Sri Lankan middle order saw to it that the much maligned Australian selectors wouldn’t have to defend their selected XI as they played with brazen carelessness and ineptitude.
Yet, the benefit of selecting Nathan Lyon and the four quicks has a more longterm impact upon the makeup of the Australian test team.
All four quicks at some stage of the summer earned their keep and Peter Siddle emerged as the clear leader of the attack.
Then there is Lyon who the South Africans carefully assured that he was nearly invisible to the eye and the Sri Lankans who attacked him for what he is, the weak link in Australia’s bowling attack.
While Sri Lanka’s aggressive approach to Lyon was the downfall to a few, it exposed Lyon’s predictability and inability to bowl enough deliveries with drift or gripping turn.
Sri Lanka’s spinner Rangana Herath might look like a rotund and wobbly sort but he sure made the Sydney pitch talk during stages in Australia’s first innings. With better support from the pace attack, Herath might have had a greater part to play this summer.
In Sri Lanka’s first and second innings, Lyon was unable to ask enough questions to an average batting lineup. All that Australia does from now on is about preparing for The Ashes later this year and Lyon, while he should be in the squad, should not be in Australia’s best XI. His form simply does not merit the seemingly blind faith displayed by Cricket Australia.
On the other end, selecting five batsmen and a keeper put the onus on Australia’s top order to take responsibility and begin to dominate their position.
Dave Warner, while maintaining his domineering approach to the crease, has tempered his game enough that now makes him look like a longterm test opener.
His partner, Ed Cowan, failed to grab, yet again, another opportunity to silence the critics. Cowan, like Lyon, has had an underwhelming summer and has failed to cash in against a mediocre Sri Lankan attack.
Hopefully the Sydney Test has confirmed Cricket Australia’s opinions on the fledgeling under-performers and will enforce immediate change to the makeup of Australia’s XI.