Aussie cricket’s remarkable 10-year first

After the men’s national cricket team disappeared in mid-January, Australia’s home summer of cricket finished with a whimper on Friday.

The three-match ODI series against New Zealand was to clash with opening rounds of the NRL, the questionable scheduling placing international cricket in a head-to-head battle with the winter sporting codes.

Friday’s one-day match at the SCG was played behind closed doors, no spectators permitted to cheer on the national cricket team. Milestones were achieved to polite applause from the pavilion — wickets were barely acknowledged in the ghost town.

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The abnormal match resembled a day of park cricket rather than a contest between the No. 3 and 5 teams in the world.

As philosopher George Berkeley once queried, if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it even make a sound?

Australian one-day captain Aaron FinchSource:AAP

With the final two ODIs postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, the 2019/20 summer officially ended with Aaron Finch and his teammates awkwardly avoiding handshakes and applauding their opponents as both sides made their way off the ground. A couple of elbow bumps thrown in for good measure, but it seemed rebellious to do so.

Regardless, this cricket season has been historic — for the first time in ten years, the national men’s cricket side remained undefeated in all three formats.

Australian Men's cricket team going undefeated during a home summer (across all formats):

2000/01 – 15 matches (15 wins)
2009/10 – 19 matches (17 wins, 1 draw and 1 no result)
2019/20 – 12 matches (11 wins and 1 no result)#AUSvNZ ??

The last time Australia achieved the feat was when Pakistan and the West Indies toured in the 2009/10 summer, undefeated after 19 fixtures. Ricky Ponting was the captain, Michael Hussey occupied the middle order, and Steve Smith was yet to make his international debut.

Captained by Finch, Australia T20 squad started the 2019/20 home summer by emphatically trumping Sri Lanka and Pakistan in separate three-match series. Neither touring side was even close to attaining a victory in the BBL curtain-raiser.

Five Tests followed — two against Pakistan and three New Zealand — each fixture arguably more one-sided than the last. Prodigy Marnus Labuschagne rewrote record books, plundering 896 runs in eight innings, while Australia’s bowling attack proved once again why they’re the world’s best.

So dominant were the Australians, a fifth day was never required in nearly seven weeks of Test cricket.

David Warner even surpassed the Don, Adelaide Oval rising to its feet when he reached triple figures in late November.

The Australian men’s team celebrating their whitewash over Pakistan in early December last yearSource:Getty Images

After a quick holiday to India and South Africa, the one-day side regrouped to topple the Black Caps by 71 runs on Friday, ultimately completing a bizarre season.

In the aftermath of the Cape Town ball-tampering saga, the Australian cricket team looked to be in dire straits. They had lost an away Test series to Pakistan in October 2018, a historic defeat to Virat Kohli’s India last summer, and a disappointing semi-final exit from the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

However, coach Justin Langer and captain Tim Paine have revitalised the national side, bringing home an Ashes urn and dominating a home summer.

Combined with the Women’s T20 World Cup victory last week, Australian cricket is well-placed — dare I say it — for another golden era.

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