The greatest ODI ever? Naah!Predictably, everyone's calling it the greatest limited overs match ever. Not for me. The greatest run chase? Without doubt. But just like people tend to pick Sir Garfield Sobers as the Best Cricketer ever (if they don't, they should :-) ) over Sir Bradman, I wouldn't call it the best match, simply because it was just a batting extravaganza and the art of bowling had no say for more than 10 balls in the whole match.
I tend to cock a snook at these "batting jamborees". Yesterday's match was reminiscent of many thrilling chases in the past, of which I have loathed many. What's the point in having a cricket match if the ball has no role but to ricochet from bat to boundary and back? Personally, the best ODI I've seen still remains the 1999 World Cup semi-final between the same teams. Because you had roles for the spinner, the seamer, even the fielders apart from the batsmen. It turned out to be Warne's imposition of his will to win over Klusener's shotgun shots. In contrast, yesterday's effort was one of those little skill testing tourneys they play for tp on television.
Take nothing away from Smith and co., for having the gumption to believe that they could sustain the effort throughout (something India didn't manage almost exactly 3 years ago). For surmounting the chokers tag that Cullinan referred to on air (which was promptly followed by Hall holing out). But do you want to see a game where it was a question of a swing-batters exhibition? Hopefully it was a freak occurence and stays that way. Or else, pack your team with batters, some of whom can bowl a bit for they're anyway going to end up with an economy rate of 8+. Agreed that both sides lacked class in the bowling and wilted under pressure like hot butter. Still, there's only so many sixes one can take hit by a batsman teeing off. Plus the frontiers get pushed back oh so much, spills over to Test matches and makes bowlers even more defensive.
And Australia have serious trouble brewing. Even before yesterday's match, it was quite clear from the 1st two matches in this series that the bowling cupboard is bare at the moment and the young 'uns aren't there yet. The batting needed Ponting to make a massive difference. Going back to Martyn and Kasprowicz for the Test series was a retrograde step (plus by dropping Hodge, they'd have upped the insecurity ante even more in the team).
The wolf is clearly at the door for the champs.