Australia v England – 3rd Test: Day 1
The 2021/2022 Ashes series rolls on to Sydney next week for the traditional New Year’s Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) as captain Cummins eyes continued domination.
Australia secured the urn in just three Tests after a thumping victory at the MCG. But with the series sitting at 3-0, it leaves two ‘dead-rubber’ matches in Sydney and Hobart. It’s a familiar occurrence in the sense that the Sydney Test is seldom live in the series, and that Australia will be searching for another home series domination.
After being named Australian Test captain on November 26, it took little more than a month for Cummins’ ‘new Australian era‘ to regain the Ashes on Tuesday this week. His eyes are now set on a series whitewash and bigger prizes overseas in the new year.
Cummins has taken 10 wickets so far this series across two matches and was an integral part of Australia’s victories at the Gabba and the MCG. He took 5/38 on Day 1 in Brisbane, causing England to crumble for 147. He then took three early wickets on Day 1 in Melbourne, helping England stumble to a first innings total of just 185. He missed out on the second Test in Adelaide after being identified as a close contact of a Covid-19 case.
Cummins’ men will be savoring the satisfaction of winning another home Ashes series, with England’s record of just six wins from 38 matches in Australia since 1993 becoming more dismal with time. Australia will steamroll into Sydney as favorites to win before being favorites again to round out another 5-0 shellacking in Hobart.
But Cummins, fast bowling aside, has been resolute in his leadership and in his ambition to complete the series in fine form. Cummins is assured that the side will be held in good stead heading into next year, with Australia set to return to the international touring scene in 2022.
Three sub-continental tours in 2022 will be a defining test for Australia, who are due to play against Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India away in separate Test series. That is before the second iteration of the World Test Championship culminates in Australia’s now Ashes-defence in 2023 in England.
Speaking to cricket.com.au, Cummins said he was optimistic about what’s next to come for Australian cricket:
“It’s what dreams are made of, the way we’ve played. Our bowlers have been fantastic in that I haven’t really felt like there’s been one session where it’s got away from us. And I think outside of the results, there’s so many other positives as well. We’ve been able to have a couple of debutants (Alex Carey and Michael Neser as well as Boland), and really build a strong squad of 15-odd players. It doesn’t just feel like a three-nil victory, it really feels like we’re setting ourselves up for the next few years as well.”
New Year’s Test in Sydney a dead match yet again
A dead series heading into the Sydney New Year’s Test is an all too familiar story for Australian cricket fans. Apart from India’s stunning victories in Australia in 2018/19 and 2020/21, the Sydney Test has not been part of a live series since South Africa toured Australia in 2008/09.
Australia v India: 3rd Test: Day 5
In 2021, India played out a thrilling draw in what was the third Test of a four game series. The series was poised at 1-1 before Sydney, with Australia needing just eight wickets to win on the morning of Day 5. But a near-century from Rishabh Pant and a mammoth seventh-wicket partnership between Ravichandran Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari (facing 289 balls between them) saved the game for India.
In 2020, Australia and New Zealand headed to the New Year’s Test in Sydney with a scoreline of 2-0 in a three-match series. In 2019, a four-match series between Australia and India sat at 2-1 in India’s favor ahead of the last Test in Sydney.
The last Ashes series on Australian soil, during the summer of 2017/18, again produced a similar story. Australia were leading England 3-0 after four matches before thumping England at the SCG by an innings and 123 runs.
Sydney’s ‘dead-rubber’ record
2016/17: Australia lead Pakistan 2-0 in a three-match series heading into Sydney.
2015/16: Australia lead The West Indies 2-0 in a three-match series heading into Sydney.
2014/15: Australia lead India 2-0 (and one draw) in a four-match series heading into Sydney.
2013/14: Australia lead England 4-0 in a five-match series heading into Sydney
2012/13: Australia lead Sri Lanka 2-0 in a three-match series heading into Sydney.
2011/12: Australia lead India 3-0 in a four-match series heading into Sydney.
2010/11: England lead Australia 2-1 (and one draw) in a five-match series heading into Sydney.
2009/10: Australia lead Pakistan 2-0 in a three-match series heading into Sydney.