Matthew Wade (left) did brilliantly batting at no.6, but Mitchell Johnson (right, tripping over crease, stumps, and ‘keeper) wasn’t so flash at no.7…
Yes, Australia won the Third Test in Sydney, and yes, they took the Warne-Muralitharan Trophy 3-0 against Sri Lanka. On the surface, everything’s rosy. But is it, really? What of all the experimentation in Sydney?
The last over before Tea on Day 5 in Hobart, with Australia still needing another six Sri Lankan wickets to win the First Test at Bellerive, Michael Clarke made the day of wicket-keepers the world over: he let his ‘keeper have an over.
Apparently, this was Matthew Wade’s first bowling in First Class cricket, never mind Tests. It truly was desperate times. But then, if he took a wicket, Clarke becomes a genius…
Matthew Wade celebrates his maiden Test ton, in the Caribbean in April. Image: WICB
Victorian ‘keeper, Matthew Wade, has held onto the Test berth he inherited from Brad Haddin in the West Indies in April, named today in an otherwise expected XII for the First Test v South Africa starting in Brisbane next Friday 9 November.
While it wasn’t overly surprising that Wade won out, particularly given he scored Australia’s only century in the Caribbean series, there was a train of thought that Haddin would return to the Test side, on account of him not actually being dropped (he withdrew from the WI tour for family reasons).
In my humble opinion, the selectors have got it right retaining Wade. Australia will play 20 Tests in the next 15 months, including back-to-back five-Test Ashes series in England, and back at home. Haddin’s average over his last 12 months or so in Test Cricket was more than 12 runs lower than his career figure. Wade’s maiden Test ton has already pushed his average above Haddin’s. ‘Keeping these days is more than just catching balls.
Simply put, this had to be a decision for the future. With the Pontings and Husseys still in the team, Haddin wouldn’t have been near the oldest in the side, but this was the chance to make a statement about building for the future. Haddin was never going to have a ten year Test career, but only 24 now, Wade could do that easily.
Brad Haddin has been a loyal servant to the Baggy Green, but his time has now come and gone. This is the right decision for the long term shape of the Australian team.