Race for the top Test team still wide open
Posted on: 06:23 PM IST Jan 08, 2009
New Delhi: Put the celebrations on hold. Australia are still world number one after winning the Sydney test. But the shield of invincibility surrounding Ricky Ponting's men has been shattered beyond repair and it has opened up a close race for the top sport in test cricket with South Africa and India in hot pursuit.
A candidate for profiles in courage, Graeme Smith led from the front as South Africa almost upset the world order. With his team staring at defeat the captain came out despite a broken finger.
Australia though hung on to its number one ranking by the fingernails as Smith was last man out - a response from the Aussies that they weren't done just yet
"It is very pleasing for me to see somebody younger as the captain and leading the team," said Ponting for Smith.
The Sydney result opens up a mouth watering three horse race for the top spot in Test cricket over the course of the year. South Africa can still do it if they beat Australia at home next month in a return series.
Thumping Australia 2-1 at home is the defining moment in their cricketing history and Smith knows his team are on the cusp of ending an era.
Greame Smith says, "When it is the Australians you know you work hard and I have been working fo a decade."
Not too far behind is a team which has given Australia far more nightmares than the Proteas. India are worthy challengers after beating Australia thrice this year.
Indian crickter Yuvraj Singh says, "The gap has been narrowed and we have to play consistently good cricket throughout the year to be number one."
Ricky Ponting himself has admitted the aura is over and the challengers are ready, but who is better suited to take over.
Former English cricketer, Angus Fraser says, "South Africa is on the very good side but I guess India's spin bowling keeps them on the edge,"
So after 15 years of one-way traffic, Test cricket has suddenly come dramatically back to life, the race to the top is suddenly wide open.