Will Hawkes: Reborn Aussies take the biscuit – and they're feeling pretty bonzer about it
View From The Sofa: Australia v India Test series, Sky
Something is stirring Down Under. Something that will chill the blood of every right-thinking Englishman, something that we thought we had seen the last of long ago, something – to be brutally frank – quite annoying. A phenomenon that has brought more pain into English homes than Simon Cowell has raised its becapped head once more. That's right: the Aussie cricket team is half-decent again.
Actually, if you believe the Channel 9 commentary team – whose words we can hear on this side of the world thanks to Sky – they're a bit better than that. Tony Greig, about as Australian as a South African former captain of England can be, put into words the new mood of confidence afoot in the Lucky Country: "This Australian team is back," he insisted at the end of India's latest Test capitulation in Perth. "They've got fast bowlers coming out of their ears!"
Sounds painful, although it was M S Dhoni who had the anguished look on his face as he was probed by Channel 9's Mark Nicholas after the slaughter was over. The hapless Dhoni's reputation has suffered of late – in contrast to Nicholas, who deserves credit for having eradicated some of his more floral turns of phrase. He still has his moments, though: "It has been a close-run thing but as yet no biscuit for the Australians," he said as the hosts strove for a breakthrough in the morning session. Even if you don't find Nicholas to your liking, though, Channel 9 is still bearable as, with about 15 commentators on staff, he's only on air for about 20 minutes each day. During his brief stint on Sunday morning UK time, he had an interesting verbal tussle with the former Aussie captain Mark Taylor, who, in contrast to the current Aussie XI, looks like he has had one or two biscuits in his time. Taylor, discussing a Test when he dropped three catches, said: "My dad always told me drops are like flat tyres – you get one, you'll get three." "Unlucky driver, your dad," replied Nicholas.
Both men were off air when one of the frequent exhortations to spend cash was made, in the shape of a question to which (no doubt expensive) text responses were elicited: "Will Australia bat again?" Bill Lawry, who seems to have been part of the Aussie commentary landscape since Ned Kelly was a nipper, thought it a decent question. "That's a good one," he mused. "I reckon it's an even-money bet at the moment."
As it turned out, of course, Bill should have had his money on an Indian collapse. The tourists subsided yet again, and the commentary team were able to talk up this emerging Aussie side.
Apparently TV figures for this series have been very healthy in Australia and the crowds – as they always do – have turned out to watch a winning team. It could almost be the late Nineties, except that the TV coverage doesn't have the same air of gung-ho cheerleading about it. Even Ian Healy was restrained.
Some things, though, never change. With the exception of Nicholas, the Channel 9 boys seem incapable of asking a sensible question. They have a tendency to make statements instead: "This is a bloody great Australian Test team," or "You bowled really well. You must feel bonzer," to which they generally got the answer they wanted from the cock-a-hoop Aussie side.
No one seemed willing to point out that India have been hopeless, that Australia lost a home Test to New Zealand mere months ago and that the Ashes were lost in abject fashion 12 months back. Maybe England don't have too much to worry about, after all.
Cristiano Ronaldo: Unhappy forward is ready to quit Real Madrid, according to Angel Di Maria
Commonwealth Games 2014: Australia launch Glasgow swimwear - but are criticised for drawing attention to the 'crotch' area
Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal: Jurgen Klopp concerned with Dortmund injuries and praises signings of Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez: The many (animated) faces of Arsenal's Chilean forward
Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United: Ramon Calderon claims Real Madrid star is 'fed up'
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 4 Vogue under fire for 'Big Booty' article
- 5 Julian Assange and Edward Snowden join piracy mogul Kim Dotcom’s political campaign in New Zealand
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke