When Australia won the Adelaide Test, it was a big relief for them. They had avoided being whitewashed in their home turf. The style of cricket that Australia played in the last match was very old and familiar to them.
There were a few debutantes and inclusions, but the most telling contributions were still made by senior players stepping up as they needed to, doubtless inspired by the change they saw around them.
The key reason for Australia’s victory was that they had more members of their side pitch in at key times than South Africa did. Each and every player of the team selected by the reconfigured selection panel performed except for a nervous Nic Maddinson.
It seemed like two other players, Jackson Bird and David Warner hadn’t performed like their teammates either before the 4th day began. But they paid their dues on the 4th day. Bird’s stump-to-stump delivery which is part of his main arsenal, got the inform Quinton de Kock out.
David Warner was afflicted by a shoulder pain throughout the match. That is why he couldn’t open the first innings and got out to Kyle Abbott when he came on to bat.
But in the second innings, while Renshaw covered up judiciously in defence at one end, Warner took the initiative in the kind of manner essential to any chase of a small total. Warner played his natural game and helped his team to reach the target quickly.
Renshaw struggled at times but he hung on there. He gave stability to the batting. Renshaw’s defence allowed Usman Khawaja to play his finest Test innings to date, who was deservingly Man of the Match.
The captain Steven Smith and the debutante Handscomb also played valiantly. Smith finally scored a half century before showing a lot of promise in the series. His captaincy was also recommendable. His attitude was fantastic.
Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc moved the pink ball efficiently on a well-grassed Adelaide pitch, while not getting obsessed for wickets.
Hazlewood has been Australia’s leading wicket-taker for the series, and Starc admirably durable despite what was an abominable physical preparation for Test matches. They will be Australia’s weapons against Pakistan.
Lyon bowled a brilliant spell that turned the match to Australia’s favour. JP Duminy’s dismissal, as important as any in the Test, was brought about partly by tempting the batsman with a gap at midwicket and a second slip, then sliding a quicker ball into off stump.
Matthew Wade’s keeping was also top notch. He took six catches and did a stumping, seven dismissals in total.
Australia has many areas to improve, for example running between the wickets. There also remains the possibility of further evolution for the team between now and the Gabba Test against Pakistan, notably the question of how to re-accommodate Shaun Marsh, perhaps for Maddinson.
But the latest win has given Australia confidence and brought back the memories of how Aussie teams used to win Test matches and how they will win more in the future, with attitude.