South Africa’s Test tour of Australia, 2016
This is hard to ignore.
Faf du Plessis was worried about how his young South African team would cope with their first day-night Test match at Adelaide – the third and final Test of their series against Australia – which signified that he expected the series to go deep and hard.
As it turns out, he can still worry a bit, but the result at Adelaide will make no difference in the broader picture. For South Africa, without AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn, have humiliated and destroyed the Australians in the first two Tests at Perth and Hobart, thus clinching the series, rendering the Adelaide Test as a dead rubber.
This may sound regular, given that this is South Africa’s third consecutive Test series victory Down Under. They became only the third team ever to do so – after England more than a century ago, and the great West Indians in the 1980s. No other team has won here in the last two decades, except England in the Ashes season of 2011. But this wasn’t a “hard-fought” and “nail-biting” series, like the last two, where South Africa squeezed out a 2-1 and 1-0 victory in the deciders.
This was annihilation – the kind Australia has been enduring overseas this year. But never in the wildest of imaginations did they expect to be battered at home so badly.
The curse of being World Champions seem to have hit the Australians soon after it hit India in the post-2011 era. India lost 8 Tests in a row abroad, including a 2-1 home loss to England on the return leg in 2012. They couldn’t win a thing in Test cricket for two years.
Now here are some interesting stats about Australia, since they defeated New Zealand in the 2015 ODI World Cup final at Melbourne. They haven’t yet hit the depths India did, but for Australian cricket, this is as low as things can go in 2016, especially since they haven’t won a match in 9 long months:
19 –Test matches played by Australia since February 2015
10 –Tests won in this period – 8 in 2015 (6 at home) and 2 in 2016.
2 –Tests won in 2016 (out of 8), in New Zealand, back in February 2016.
0 –Tests won at home out of 3 this year
6 –Test series played since February 2015
3 –Test series lost, to England (Ashes 2015), and Sri Lanka away (2016), and South Africa (2016) at home
5 –Tests lost in a row since February 2016. The last time this happened was in 2013, including a 4-0 whipping in India.
32 – Number of runs for which Australia lost its last 8 wickets in the second innings in Hobart, equaling its worst batting collapse in history.
23 – Number of years it has been since an opposition team scored below 330 runs in Australia, still managing to win by an innings.
14 – Average of Adam Voges in the last five Tests
123 – Average of Adam Voges in the five Tests before that against New Zealand and West Indies.
6 – Number of Tests Australia won under Steve Smith in his first 8 Tests as captain till February 2016, with just 2 draws.