Games & Sports Opinion

Battle of the Top Four

It doesn’t get better than this. Cricket at its riveting best. The top four nations of world cricket are fighting it out there to prove their mettle. England are touring Australia to retain the coveted ‘Ashes’ while Aussies are trying desperately to have it back. At the moment, England are 1-0 up in the five-match series with the third Test match underway at WACA, Perth. The home side had its back against the wall but are faring well so far thanks to a superb all-round performance by Mitchell Johnson.

England only need to win this Test to retain the Ashes, but Australia are not going to go down without putting up a decent fight. And indeed they are fighting well. As I write this, they look completely in control of the match. They need to win in any condition to have any chances of getting back that urn. Seeing Australia play the Ashes in past, this is definitely one of their most strenuous challenges but as is the case with Aussies, they will never say die. Let’s hope Australia win this match and make this year’s Ashes even more interesting to watch.

Meanwhile in South Africa, India are facing the challenge which will prove their right to be termed as ‘the’ best Test playing nation. Since 2008, they have played majority of Test cricket in the sub-continent which has helped them immensely to climb to the top of world rankings. This is their real challenge. To play on the bouncy, seaming wickets of South Africa to prove their mettle. It’s the battle between Indian batsmen and South African fast bowlers.

So far, the home side have proved it to the Indians that they will not have an easy walkover in the three-match series. South African pacers bowled out the much-hyped team India for a meagre 130-odd in the first innings of the first Test. And that too when majority of top Indian batsmen skipped series against New Zealand to prepare themselves and get acclimatised to the conditions in South Africa. A bit too much of preparation, huh? But nevertheless, its only start of the series and I hope they make a match out of it. South Africa are far too professional in their approach and will make breathing for the Indian batsmen hard in the middle. Let’s hope India puts up a fight and their ‘batting’ helps them to capture the final frontier, because if they don’t, then it will be the same old story for them- heroes at home and lambs outside!

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Qasim Javed Butt

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